Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween 2008

See next post for the October 2008 Round Up.

Currently feeling: carved

October 2008 Round Up

Blinkie by: Jo's Blinkie Obsession (no longer active)

Monthly Round Up idea borrowed from Katie the Scrapbook Lady.

What books and/or magazines did I read this month?
Well, I started a book: The Book of Air and Shadows, by Michael Gruber. I'm a fair way into it. Quite enjoyable. I like how the point of view shifts around (I know, I'm weird like that.) Read Parenting magazine for the first time in a while. It is becoming less and less useful as he gets older.

What movies and/or tv shows did I watch this month?
What didn't we watch?! Good grief, we watch *way* too much television. We average 2-3 one-hour shows (or longer, in the case of DWTS) each night during the week, there are a couple that I watch by myself during the day at some point during the week (CSI Miami and NCIS), and we can still barely keep up. In October, two of our "regular shows" finally started back: CSI and NUMB3RS. Tried a couple of new things as well. Star Wars Clone Wars is now showing on Cartoon Network. It's interesting. We like it (don't love it, but like it). Luke *loves* it. Now, some of the episodes can be a little dark and/or violent for him, so we do pre-screen them. I think he's seen 3 of them so far, but he sits there completely mesmerized the whole time. We also tried Crusoe. It's okay. Pretty to look at, that's for sure! Don't love it, though, and it conflicts with Clone Wars (which isn't replayed nearly as much as you'd think it would be). I think Crusoe will be one of those that we watch if we "need" something to watch, but we don't really watch it consistently. (Bones is like that for us as well.)

What special days did I celebrate and how?
Luke's birthday! We had a great time, we had a house full of family from both my side and DH's, and we got to meet our niece for the first time. It was fabulous! And Halloween, of course, with his first "masked" costume.

What gifts did I give and/or receive?
Well, birthday gifts, obviously, and a small something for our niece N. Purchased a few other things, but they're still here instead of in the mail where they belong.

What illnesses or health concerns did I have?
We did so well this month! DH got a very deep bruise on his thigh, right above his knee. He hobbled on that for several days, and it cost him a week on the basketball court (where he received the injury). Besides that, we're all good!

What fun things did I do with my friends and/or family?
Just the birthday party, really, but we crammed so many people in that one weekend that I think it was okay to "slack off" the rest of the month.

What new foods, recipes or restaurants did I try this month?
Tried a "Five Minute Chocolate Cake" recipe made in a coffee mug in the microwave. Not impressed. Thought I was going to get to try a new BBQ place, but we had to cancel our meeting, twice! Tentatively set up for November now. I also tried the Premium M&M's, which were good (and extremely pretty), but not worth the price, IMO.

What special or unusual purchases did I make?
Luke's first costume with a mask. He's been asking for it almost daily since we bought it, but we've been keeping it safe in the closet until Halloween. Now that trick-or-treating is over, he can have it to play with as much as he wants, but we wanted to keep it in good shape (and in one piece!) until Halloween.

Good grief, how could I forget!! We bought a Playstation 3 to use as a Blu-ray player, and we picked up two Blu-ray movies while we were at it: Iron Man and Disney's Sleeping Beauty.

What were this month's disappointments?
Our Sonny's closed! That was hugely disappointing. We've been going there for about 7 years or so. Most of the waitresses remember when Luke was a baby. The next closest one is about 20 miles away. We do drive that far to eat on occasion (can you say Olive Garden?). I'm not sure Sonny's warrants it, though. We'll see. And I had a project that was going so well fall down on its face; that wasn't fun.

What were my accomplishments this month?
I figured out how to make a "truly red" red icing for Luke's cake, and it didn't have a bad aftertaste like some deep red icing does. Mom and I were thrilled! I also celebrated 5 years of blogging this month. I am still amazed that it has been that long.

What were Luke's accomplishments this month?
He has officially grown 3 inches and gained 7 pounds since last year. His doctor pronounced him perfectly healthy. His imagination has just exploded. Legos/Megabloks and Tinker Toys are the best things ever! They become all sorts of space ships and robots. He now calls us "Mom" and "Dad" instead of Mommy and Daddy. I don't care much for it, but it's not worth correcting, I don't think. He is also now in a booster seat instead of a car seat (which means he can't kick my elbow when it sits on the front seat arm rest anymore, yay!).

He's also been doing a lot better about trying foods. Mostly because we make him. We pull out the "you're 4 now, and a big boy, and big boy 4 year olds try new things." It's working pretty well so far. Haven't found anything new that he likes well enough to fully incorporate into his repertoire yet, but we have discovered a couple of things that he truly does *not* like (like grapes; weird kid!).

Anything else noteworthy to record?
We froze our rears off for a couple of days near the end of the month. Lows in the low 30s, highs around 50. That's like January weather, not October weather! I love gas heat, LOL. I have also started trying to record those hilarious little conversations that you can only have with a little kid. You know, to save them for posterity. Or his first girlfriend!

Currently feeling: frightful

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Smiley Queen

Hi Claire! I wanted to answer your question about where I get all my smilies. I'm quite the smiley junkie, actually, though I don't go looking for them like I used to. I have over 2000 of them (which I'm sure makes most of you wonder why you keep seeing the same ones over and over), but I've only uploaded about 500 of them for use here, many of which have never graced the bottom of a post. They're not all faces. Some are objects, animals, or food items. I've picked them up from all sorts of places.

My most favorite site is Mazeguy. Pretty much, if you need it, he's got it. I think I have virtually all of his downloaded now (I check in every few months for new ones). Now, there are plenty that I know by heart and use regularly, as I'm sure you've seen, but if I don't have one in mind, I start with my Mazeguy folder first. DeviantART is another good source. It's not as scary a place as the name makes it sound, but you might not want to have children looking over your shoulder when you visit either, as some of the content can be... inappropriate. Just search "emoticon" and you'll get about 15,000 hits. The hard part is slogging through them all to find the good stuff, but it's worth it if you have time to kill (I did, pre-child). And if you find one you like at DeviantART, click on it to see who made it so you can visit their gallery; they probably have more you'll like. You can also just do a general Google search (try searching emoticon, smiley, and smilie). Be careful clicking on some of those sites, though; your computer might catch something. Mainly, just keep your eyes open! You never know when or where you'll stumble across a good one.

If you (or anyone else) is interested, all of the smilies I have uploaded can be found in this directory. Please feel free to take whatever you like, but please download to your own computer and upload to your own space if you want to use them on your site, blog, or board. Thanks!
Currently feeling: always looking for a few good emoticons

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

This Conversation with Luke Sponsored By....

This one is actually from late September, but I just found it stored in my text messages on my phone, so I'll go on and post it. Allow me to set the scene:

We're in the car, on the way to one of our regular restaurants. It's not exactly close, and the traffic was pretty heavy, but Luke was doing a very good job of entertaining himself in the back seat. DH and I were just chatting about our days, enjoying listening to him as he played. He had apparently invented some sort of game for his Star Wars figures to play, and it was quite amusing to we grown-ups. Then, quite suddenly, there was only silence.

DH: Luke, are you playing your game?
L: No, it's a commercial.

Currently feeling: blinded by the cuteness

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gak! Not a fun day.

I'm not up for inventing a pithy title right now. Work was terrible today. Three bits of bad news on a single project, and one that had been going so well to this point that we were looking to be at least a week ahead of our already aggressive schedule. Now we may not even complete before year's end. I am so not happy! My boss's response to my email detailing the complications: "Well you're full of good news today, aren't you?" Yeah.

Plus, I had to take my car back to the dealer. We just had the oil changed, tires rotated, and all that jazz less than 2 weeks ago, and then it started doing that thing where the brake indicator comes on and stays on. That happened nearly a year ago when our brakes really were stuck in the "on" position. Cost us almost $800 to fix it then, a mistake I was not about to repeat. Turns out it was just low brake fluid compounded by the sudden cold snap down here (it was 32F/0C this morning, BRRR!). They topped it off, checked for a leak in the line (found none), and checked the brakes themselves (totally fine). No charge even, so that was good news. It was just a pain to have to take it in and wait on it, especially with Tuesday being my busy conference call day. They have Wi-Fi, and I did take my work computer with me, but dorky me left my secure token at home, so I had to call in and get a temporary access number. Then I had to try and connect to the dealer's network, and it was being fussy, and when I did I discovered my project had blown up in my face, and... and... and....

It was quite a day. I need a nap! Oh wait, I can't. I have to go pick up the child.
Currently feeling: brain fried

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Seafood Condiments: A Conversation with Luke

I'm trying to write these down as they happen (because they've been happening a lot lately). Note that "tato" in this case is pronounced TAY-toh, like potato.

Luke: (having recognized our destination as Zaxby's) Mom, I don't like chicken.
Me: We're going to get you Captain D's.
Luke: Mom, I don't like tato sauce.
Me: Tarter sauce.
L: I don't like turtle sauce.

Currently feeling: fishy

Friday, October 24, 2008

4 year old stats

Luke had his 4 year well visit today. I was quite surprised to learn that he had not been to the pediatrician's office since December 2007. Finally! Any antibiotics we've needed have come from the ENT. Yay! A more or less healthy year. Let's hope the trend continues. So, here's where we stand:

* Height: 43 inches (1.09 meters), 95th percentile; up 3 inches (7.6 cm) since last year
* Weight: 43 lbs (19.5 kg, 3 stone), 95th percentile; up 7 lbs (3.2 kg) since last year

His blood pressure, hematocrit, and BMI are all fine. His ears look great (yay!). He passed the hearing and vision tests (pictures, not letters). She was very impressed with his speech improvement. Apparently, everything looks great and sounds great! What more could a mother ask for?

But of course, there is a down side. He had to get *4* shots; one in each arm, and two in one leg (one of them tetanus, so it's still hurting him). Boy, was he not happy. He hasn't had shots since he was 2, so he didn't remember. We tried to explain that it would hurt for just a second, and then it would be over, but that didn't seem to help much (didn't think it would, but I felt compelled to try anyway). He's always done really well with them, so I was actually surprised that these went so badly. According to the nurse, he did great (let Daddy hold him and didn't try to wiggle/jump off the table), but it seemed pretty awful to me. When he got shots as a baby, he would just wail a single time as the needle went in, and that was it. Barely any tears. This time there was hysterical crying over the ones in the arms and *screaming* bloody murder at the two that went in the leg. He's never screamed like that before, ever. Not about his broken arm, not about his stitches in his finger (going in or coming out), never. Talk about feeling like the worst parents in the world! DH was literally shaking when it was over and nearly in tears himself.

Needless to say, Luke wanted to be carried out of the exam room, and for once, we capitulated. He also got a Twix in the car (the "fun size" that's about 2 inches long, which makes about 3 bites for him) and pancakes at IHOP for lunch. He's been asking for pancakes for dinner off and on for a couple of weeks now, and I've been intentionally holding out for today. He was so tired and zoned out at IHOP that we just brought him home. Today had been trying enough, it was cold and rainy and dreary outside, and he was complaining about his leg aching even after Children's Motrin had time to kick in. And he was asking to go home in a very sad and pitiful voice. I just didn't have the heart to send him to school. I know, I'm a sucker. But for today, that's fine with me! Unless he gets sick, there's no reason to go back until after he turns 5, which is also fine with me.

Currently feeling: sorry I had to be the grown-up and let them hurt him today

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Happiness: A Conversation with Luke

This is part of our conversation on the way home yesterday.

Luke: Mom, I not sad anymore, I happy!
Me: When were you sad?
Luke: Nooo! I happy now.
Me: Oh, okay. What kinds of things make you happy?
Luke: I happy after rest time.
Me: Rest time makes you happy?
Luke: Yeah (Me: Yesssss!)
Me: What else makes you happy?
Luke: I know [Luke-speak for "I don't know."]
Me: What about toys? Do toys make you happy?
Luke: Yeah, I like toys. Twinkle toys [Tinker Toys] and Star Wars toys, too!
Me: What about the kitties?
Luke: Kitties have mouse toys. Kitties don't have Star Wars toys.

Currently feeling: how can I parent when I can't keep a straight face?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Out of the Blu

And no, that's not a typo. See:

Ta-da! I know that looks like a PS3, but it's really not, seeing as we don't have a single game for it. We really just wanted a Blu-ray player, and after doing our own research and asking all my board friends, we realized that the PS3 was really the best option. If we had a surround sound system, we might have reconsidered, but we don't, and we won't for a minimum of 3 years, probably more like 4-5. (Looking to have a new television with HDMI by then, too.) By then, it will be time to buy a new player anyway, or they'll have some better technology that we haven't even dreamed of yet. So for now, this will do quite nicely. Won't have a chance to get it hooked up until after the child goes to bed. I'll let you know what we think!

Currently feeling: thrilled!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Romeo and Ethel, The Pirate's Daughter

I thought about "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet," but this title was way more fun! LOL It comes from Shakespeare in Love (one of my favorite movies) for anyone scratching their heads about it. And for those really interested, it seems someone has rebuilt this "lost masterpiece". I'll have to read it when I have time. Ahem! Let's get this entry back on track, shall we?

The actual point of this post is titles. Blog entry titles, to be specific. I was reading a blog somewhere recently where the author complained about having to think up a title for every post. (Thanks, Melissa! It was Cheryl's blog, which I didn't know she had until this week. You might need to be a Yuku member and/or a "friend" of hers to read it, though.) I actually enjoy that part of the process, maybe a little too much. Sure, most of my titles are plain and boring and obvious, but I'd like to think that a few of them are occasionally at least a *little* bit clever, maybe bringing a smile to the face of my readers. Many times, the title is just functional, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. I'm thinking of ones like "September 2008 Round-Up" or "Happy 4th Birthday to Luke." Certainly nothing wrong with those, I don't think. But I always get a little thrill when the just perfect title comes to me, like "Abbreviated." I thought of all kinds of titles for that post: Mommy and Daddy No More, Introducing Mom and Dad, I Guess We're Growing Up Too, I Don't Need to Be Any Shorter. They just weren't doing it for me. I actually thought on it for a while, but it finally hit me. I knew when I broke out into a big grin that it was the right one.

So, all you other bloggers out there, talk to me! Do you put thought into the titles of your posts, or do you just go with the first thing that comes to mind? Is thinking up titles something you enjoy, or do you wish you could just go without a title sometimes?
Currently feeling: well titled

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Who needs Casey Kasem?

Everything I need to know about current pop music I learned from Dancing With the Stars! I know, how sad am I? LOL I don't listen to the local "pop" station much anymore. I don't like many of their hosts/gimmicks, and for quite a while, I didn't like any of the music, so I just stopped listening. That was easily 5 years ago, probably more like 7 or 8. Having a baby certainly didn't help. Primarily, I only listen to the radio when I'm in the car without my spouse, so for nearly 2 years as a SAHM, I hardly left the house without my DH, so I virtually never had the radio on.

I can't really say that I am a whole lot more "in touch" than I was, but I do at least flip on the radio a few times a week now, if only for 10 minutes or so on the way home from dropping Luke off at daycare. I still prefer the "light rock" station (now with Steve and Vicki, yay!), but I do flip on the Top 40 type station every once in a while. And when I do, at least once or twice a week, I am able to say "hey, I've heard that song before." And all because of DWTS! Sometimes it's because the song was performed by the artist on one of the results shows, but more often, it's because the song was used for one of the dance performances. That means that I don't know the "radio version," and I have no idea the name of the song, or even who sings it. But I definitely recognize it!

The main one so far has been the "Mark and Kristi song." Yes, that is how DH and I refer to it. That would definitely be a case of not knowing the title or artist. Let me see if I can find it. Hold please.... Hey, I just discovered that they list the songs, artists, and who danced to them by week on the ABC website! It only includes the current season, though. Wikipedia has dances, songs, and artists for every previous season; don't know why I didn't look there first.

Anyway, I have just discovered that, despite the fact that I remembered it as having been danced to by Mark and Kristi, it was actually Monica and Jonathan! Oops. At least I knew it had to be a foxtrot, based on the music. Oh, sorry, the music: "Bubbly" by Colbie Caillat (who?). Okay, so we'll have to change our nomenclature. It is now officially the "Monica and Jonathan song." But still, the only reason I am even vaguely aware of this song is because of the show.

And today, I heard another DWTS song on the radio: the "Lance and Lacey song." Again, thanks to the above websites, I now know that the "Lance and Lacy song" is actually "Disturbia" by Rihanna (who?!! LOL). Well, having now looked up the lyrics, that certainly makes their costumes make much more sense! I've heard the song 3 times now, and other than the "city of wonder" line, I hadn't the vaguest idea what the words were. It sounds cool, though. Guess that's all that matters these days. ::rolls eyes::

I suppose that means I am officially getting old? Much of the music sounds the same to me, no matter who sings it, and much of it just sounds like noise. Sometimes cool sounding noise (a la "Distrubia"), but still mostly noise, not a "song." Even the fact that I know who Casey Kasem is (besides the voice of Shaggy) probably dates me pretty seriously. I do remember when his American Top 40 program was replaced by the Rick Dees Weekly Top 40 on whatever station I was listening to at the time. See, I was up on "current" music, once upon a time. Kind-of strange to realize that I am a little familiar with it again, all thanks to ballroom dancing! Who'da thunk it? LOL

Currently feeling: like dancing

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Honk Honk

(Another camera phone shot, sorry.)

What is with the geese? It's like they're suddenly everywhere. I can even hear them honking and see their shadows as they fly over the house, which has been almost a daily occurance for a week or more. I don't really remember seeing (or hearing) them in previous years either. I don't know if I was just being unobservant before now, or if Atlanta has suddenly become a choice migratorial goose pit stop. The picture above was taken in the parking lot at Olive Garden (at least they have good taste in restaurants!), and I saw another gaggle in the strip mall parking lot this morning near daycare. Are we being invaded? LOL I don't really mind, it's just a little weird.

Currently feeling: confused

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Eye Candy

Quite literally. I remember Heather trying to explain about the Premium M&Ms a while back, but until you see them, you really can't understand. But I'll try to help:

Aren't they pretty? This picture is pretty good, but seriously, you have to see them. You don't have to buy them! Just go find them in the store and look at them. They are beautiful. I don't think I've ever said that about food before, but it really is true in this case. They taste quite good, too. Not enough to justify the price, IMO (I had a coupon, and they were still expensive), but I'll certainly eat them now that I have them. The "shell" isn't the hard candy shell you're used to. I'm not really sure how to explain it. It's almost like you don't even know it's there. It's fairly soft, about the same firmness as the chocolate itself, and very smooth. And iridescent metallic! They truly look like gemstones of some sort. The ones above are the triple chocolate (purple) and almond (blue). I think there are three others: raspberry, mocha, and mint (I think). And yes, they're all this pretty! I almost don't want to eat them so I can keep looking at them.

Currently feeling: lovely yummies

Friday, October 10, 2008

Boost me up!

I stuck this in my monthly round-up for September, but I know not everyone reads those. So to Glenda's question about has he tried the "I'm a big boy now, I don't need a baby seat," we nipped that one in the bud. The weekend before his party, we moved him from a carseat to a backless booster, now referred to as "the big boy seat."

Not the best picture, sorry. It was taken with my phone. And yes, for anyone who read the recent article or saw the thing on TV about many of the boosters not meeting the safety criteria, this was one of the ones in their "best bets" category, so we're good. (News report here; seat recommendations here.) We got the Graco TurboBooster in the Chatter color scheme. Used "Ship to Store" at Wal-Mart, so we ordered online and shipping was free. We just had to go pick it up at the store, and they emailed us when they arrived. Up to the point of picking them up, it worked great! The in-store part I was not impressed with. I don't know if we were the first people to use it at our store or what, but no one seemed to have any clue what was going on. It was still worth it to save the $20 on shipping (we bought three of them), but it just reminded me once again why we almost never shop at Wal-Mart.

The only bad thing about using the booster is that, in our car, the center seatbelt does not lock, so if you lean forward, the shoulder strap goes with you. For the side seats, it locks. Once you pull it out to buckle and let it retract, you cannot pull it out again without unbuckling and letting it roll all the way up. I didn't think it was good for a 4-year-old to be able to move the strap that much in the middle position, so I moved him to the side. I know that is less safe than the center, but I feel safer that he can't get out of the seatbelt once it is put on him. Unless he clicks the button to release the seatbelt. We had trouble with that the first time we put him in the seat, but once we explained that he was not to unbuckle until we stopped the car and told him it was okay, he's been fine. He even asks first, "Mommy, I push the button now?"

It did mean that I had to flip the child locks on the back door that he sits by, though, and that has taken more getting used to than anything. He likes getting in and out of the car himself, so to suddenly have one of the back doors "not working" is frustrating for him. But he definitely likes his new "big boy seat."

Currently feeling: he's growing so fast!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Apparently, DH and I are now "Mom" and "Dad." Not sure exactly when that happened. It's been coming over the last couple of weeks, I guess. It is now almost exclusively Mom and Dad, though. I miss being Mommy! He sounds way too grown up saying "Mom."

Currently feeling: missing Mommy

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Happy 4th Birthday to Luke

Hard to believe it's been 4 years already. He's changed so much in the last year. Here are some pictures from his birthday party on Saturday. Can you guess the theme?

[Updated with better picture. Much less grainy than the previous version.] How about this one?

Mom did her usual fabulous job on the cake. And for those who know about such things, be prepared to be impressed. We made our own red and black icing! And it tasted great and looked fabulous. Much better than the red we bought because people convinced us that red was too hard to make. Theirs was like canned icing, and not very good canned icing either. Yes, we were very proud of ourselves! Luke liked it, too.

We got to meet our niece for the very first time. Luke had absolutely no idea what to make of her. I don't think he's ever really been around a baby before. I do think he was happy to return to being the center of attention once she left. He didn't get upset or anything, he was just very unsure of himself around her.

But there were plenty of smiles

and lots of silly fun.

Everything pretty much went off without a hitch, and I think everyone had a great time. Yay!

Currently feeling: partied out

Sunday, October 05, 2008

4th Birthday Party a Success

The party and the weekend all went really really well. And I am utterly exhausted. More later.

Currently feeling: in need of a very long nap

Friday, October 03, 2008

My Five Year Blog-iversary

Today is the 5th anniversary of my first ever blog post. Wow, I really can't believe it has been that long. I can't believe I have actually kept it up that long! I never was able to keep a journal via paper and pen for more than a month or two. I guess maybe it was because I didn't have an audience, besides myself? Or maybe it is as simple as I prefer to type. Who knows, but it has been a really great experience for me, and I hope you all have enjoyed reading along. Here's to another 5 years!
Currently feeling: celebratory

Thursday, October 02, 2008

A quick drive-by post

Been really busy this week. The only reason the round up got posted is because I had already written most of it (I try to at least make notes as the month goes along). Work has been busy, but thankfully not insane. Been running a bunch of errands. Had a doctor's appointment (routine 6 month BP check; it was good). No luck on getting the desktop cleaned up yet, but I honestly haven't even looked at it in 3 days now. The laptops work fine, so I've been using those. I just got fed up, and I have way too many other things to do right now.

Like party! Today is Party Prep Day #1 for Luke's birthday party this weekend. Mom should be here this afternoon/evening. I'll be making the cake (so it can cool and be ready to go for decorating tomorrow) and some of the snacks that will keep in air tight containers (like the turtle pretzels). Tomorrow will be Party Prep Day #2, where we'll do things that need to sit overnight (ham and swiss rolls, chicken salad), make up the casseroles so we just have to pop them in the oven tomorrow for lunch, decorating, etc. Should hopefully make Saturday go pretty smoothly. We're expecting 10-15 folks, besides the three of us. BIL and SIL will be staying with us over the weekend, and we get to meet our niece for the first time. Can't wait!

Wish me luck! I hope I can get it all pulled off. I probably won't post again until after the party, so I'll go on and wish you all a fabulous weekend!
Currently feeling: ready to party!