Monday, February 28, 2011

February 2010 Round Up

Click mosaic to biggify. Created using Big Huge Labs Mosaic Maker.

What books and/or magazines did I read this month?
Finished The Imagineering Field Guide to The Magic Kingdom, The Imagineering Field Guide to Epcot, and The Imagineering Field Guide to Disney's Hollywood Studios. Got about half way through (say it with me) The Imagineering Field Guide to Disney's Animal Kingdom.

What movies and/or tv shows did I watch this month?
* TV Time: Gotta love February sweeps. All kinds of new episodes going around on all of our shows. Tried Mr. Sunshine but didn't care for it. Will give Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior a few more weeks. Wasn't impressed with the first or second episodes, but we love the original series and we love Forrest Whitaker, so we'll give it a little longer. It may just need a little time to gel. Watched Jeopardy for the fist time in years to see the Watson computer compete. Watched some He-Man cartoons for the first time in decades! And watched as Playhouse Disney came to an end; it is being replaced with Disney Junior. Not a lot of programming changes yet, but still sad to see the incarnation that Luke grew up on cease to exist.
* New Films: Alice in Wonderland (2010 version; didn't really like it, it was just sort of there), and Race to Witch Mountain (2009 version; not a great movie, but I have definitely seen far worse, and who can resist The Rock's charm?).
* Old Favorites: Groundhog Day, Ladyhawke, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Up, Chicago, Contact, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Bolt, A Bug's Life

What special days did I celebrate and how?
Our family Valentine's Day celebration was very low key and took place several days afterward, but that's okay. It really is the thought that counts!

What gifts did I give and/or receive?
Luke received a couple of LEGO Ninjago figures for Valentine's Day. He totally loves them! DH and I exchanged cards, and he bought me three red carnations about a week after V'Day.

What illnesses or health concerns did I have?
Now that February is officially over, I will dare to type this: none! Everyone was healthy all month long.

What fun things did I do with my friends and/or family?
A get together with my local girls! We haven't all officially gotten together in over 3 years (I know!). Life just got busy. I've seen a few of them here and there, but it was so nice to have the gang back together again.

What new foods, recipes or restaurants did I try this month?
I can't think of anything, actually. We were pretty boring this month.

What special or unusual purchases did I make?
Girl Scout Cookies!

What were this month's disappointments or frustrations?
Work. (Sensing a theme here? LOL) Just some really frustrating moments this month, though most issues seem to have resolved themselves okay. Good thing, too, since I'll be on vacation in early March.

What were my accomplishments this month?
I was finally able to meet my coworker Bill! We've been working together for about 3 years now, but he lives in New Jersey. This was the first time they have flown him in for a meeting. We've exchanged pictures, of course, but it was so nice to finally put a real live person with the voice.

I also stitched for the first time in ages and ages. Not even temari, but honest to goodness cross stitching! It took our first local get-together to prompt it, plus the looming 101 Things deadline, and my arm really hurt!

Star is still doing great. She had her last kitten appointment and has completed her vaccines. She will be spayed next month while we are out of town. She has finally progressed to jumping on the kitchen counter. She has also taken to climbing the curtains in Luke's room, a definite no-no!

We had more snow but it didn't cause any school trouble (that certainly feels like an accomplishment after this winter). This was followed closely by a brief taste of spring for a week or so, warm enough that I was able to wear my warm weather shoes out and about for a few days. Ahhh! So nice while it lasted. Of course, that means allergy season is also right around the corner.

What were Luke's accomplishments this month?

Luke has gotten really into drawing in the last few weeks. He has filled an entire drawing pad with his creations and used countless sheets of printer paper. He even made handmade Valentine's for DH and me this year.

He had his 6-year dentist visit. Everything looks great and he now has his 6-year molars sealed. He also got his first haircut since the one he gave himself before Thanksgiving. It happens every time, but I am amazed at how grown he looks with his hair short.

Anything else noteworthy to record?
Nothing comes to mind. Really a very quiet month.

Monthly Round Up courtesy of Katie the Scrapbook Lady.

Currently feeling: rounded

Sunday, February 27, 2011

In which there was actual cross stitching

My group of local stitchers got together on Saturday for our first official meeting in about 3 years. (Interesting, just had to add "stitchers" to my spell check dictionary, LOL.) Not only that, but I actually put some stitches in something while I was there! I know!! Can you believe it? They weren't even temari stitches, they were actual honest to goodness cross stitches! It might be a sign of the apocalypse. I even have a little mini-finish to report. I'll wait while those who have fainted pick themselves up.

::plays Jeopardy theme::

Ready? Ta-da!

This is Celestial Moon by Jennifer Aikman-Smith of Dragon Dreams. It was originally created for the "Stitching is Magic" Progressive Workshop (with Teresa Wentzler and Doug Kreinik) for the Toronto CreativFestival in October of 2006. Chart available here (no affiliation, just a happy customer). Stitched on 28 ct Mushroom Jazlyn. When I started this on Saturday, I pretty much only had the right half of the moon and nothing else. By the way, did you know that if you stitch for several hours after not doing it at all for a long time, your arms and hands hurt? Tylenol is my friend.

As you have probably guessed, there is a companion piece designed by Teresa Wentzler. I present, Celestial Sun:

Come now, you didn't *really* think I'd finished both in one day, did you? Photo and chart here (same site, same disclaimer). I probably could have knocked it out on Sunday, but we had some far flung errands that took precedence. I do hope to complete it soon, and if I'm really lucky, I'll get it "finished finished" before the end of March, including the cording we made with Doug Kreinik all those years ago. That will knock off another item from my 101 Things list! Wish me luck

Currently feeling: astounded that I actually stitched!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

To Catch a Thief

I discovered Wednesday morning that my SecurID token for work was missing. For those unfamiliar with these devices, they provide a new random number every 60 seconds that is used to log in to a secure system. I will eventually need it to access my company's VPN network to get access to sites inside their firewall. However, I do most of my work primarily from a client-imaged laptop, including using their email account and their VPN, which uses a different secure access process. The only thing I need the SecurID token for right now is accessing my actual company email, which is rarely urgent, and if it is, my manager would let me know. I did tell my manager so she would be aware that I would not have access to my company email until I found it, but its loss was not affecting my ability to work. More than anything, I was embarrassed about it. We've only had these things for about 2 months, and here I've already misplaced mine!

I had my prime suspect in custody, though she wasn't doing much talking. Lots of purring! But not much talking. Like most younglings of any species, Star has a habit of making toys out of whatever she finds laying around. Her favorites are pens, Kix, and LEGOs. However, she has been known to pilfer DH's finger splint or even a magnet off the refrigerator. She particularly likes to knock things off the dining room table and chase them across the hardwood in the adjacent unused living room. I use the dining room table as my desk!

Now, I am fully aware of this habit of hers, so I have made it a point to try and keep the token somewhere that she cannot get to it. I distinctly recall having it on Friday, but I don't recall putting it away, so I probably left it sitting out on the table. I also distinctly remember Star wildly chasing something all over the living room on Saturday, but I was too lazy to go see what it was. Thus it was not a huge leap of imagination to think that she had probably nicked it. (Yes, I've been watching Law & Order: UK, why do you ask?) I looked all over the dining room and in the obvious places among boxes and whatnot in the living room, but I couldn't find it. I was planning a very thorough sweep for this weekend, and if I still couldn't locate it come Monday, I'd just have my manager order a new one.

Then, this evening, I heard my husband calling me from down the hall. "Erin, come in here, please." Why? "Just come here." Um, okay. "Look carefully. Do you see it?" See what? "Look on the shelf."

Okay, what am I looking for? "Look on the end."

You *know* I hate guessing games. What exactly am I supposed to....

And there it was. In my defense, it *had* occurred to me that I needed to ask Luke if he had seen it or picked it up; it is exactly the type of object he is attracted to. I had actually already looked in all of his usual hidey-holes. The problem was that every time I thought to myself that I needed to question him, he was no where near me, typically either at school or in bed. I would definitely have asked him about it before hunting for it on Saturday, I just hadn't gotten to it yet.

When I asked Luke about it, I couldn't help but smile. As you can see, he has a few things that decorate the backpack, including a basketball and a Star Command badge from Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin. This is the backpack he takes on trips.

Me [pointing to the token]: Luke, where did you get this?
Luke: I found it on the table. I wanted to put it on my backpack so I would know what time it is.
Me: Okay, well, I actually need this for my work, that's why it was on the table next to my work computer. I need to have it back, please.
Luke [heaving a big sigh]: Okay, here you go, Mommy. I just wanted it so we would know what time to do things when we go to Disney.

Aww! I am now on the lookout for the perfect clip-on watch for him, which I hope to have in hand as a gift before our next trip to Disney. If you have any suggestions, I'm all ears.

Currently feeling: criminal

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Politeness: A Conversation With Luke

Homework Instructions: Use the words on each bag to make an asking sentence. Write each sentence. (Example: fun did have you)

Bonus Box: On the back of this paper, write a telling sentence to answer one of the questions above.

Upon finishing the first part:

DH: Okay, which question do you want to answer?
Luke: The first one.
DH: So the question is: "Did you have fun?" What is your answer?
Luke: No.
Me: You need to answer with more than just yes or no. The directions say to write a "telling sentence." Use more words.
DH: So, Luke, "Did you have fun?"
Luke: No.
DH: No... what?
Luke: No sir!

Currently feeling: at least he is well mannered

Monday, February 14, 2011

What is love worth?

It is things like this, ladies and gentlemen, that are the reason Luke has made it to each birthday. Some days, it's dicey whether or not we'll all make it, and then he pulls something like this. (Nana, you might want to have a tissue ready.)

Sunday afternoon, Luke decided he wanted to make Valentine's Day cards for the kitties, DH, and me. It is rare for him to be so engaged in an art project, so we just left him alone until he was finished. He worked on them for a good hour or so. They are precious in and of themselves. Here is my husband's:



The back of my husband's card was blank. And here's mine:




Now, when I was growing up, receiving cards from my grandparents (on both sides) was always great fun, not just for the joy of actually receiving mail as a kid, but because cards from grandparents usually came with an insert of some type. The type of insert varied: a photo, a comic or funny story clipped from the paper, a bookmark, or even money (cash or check, depending on the event).

My parents have continued this tradition with Luke. Thus Luke, naturally, included inserts in our Valentine's Day cards this year. DH got what we believe to be a LEGO Ninjago card (we aren't positive, and I'm sure he will explain it when we "officially" open cards during our family Valentine's Day celebration, which will be Tuesday, February 15, due to my work commitments).



And my card? Well, this is where the tissue comes in. I certainly needed one when I opened my card to find a $1 bill inside. On the one hand, I'm sorry I opened it early; I'm sure he would have liked to see me be surprised (and boy, was I surprised!). On the other hand, I'm glad I did open it early, because I am quite sure that having me burst into tears would have only distressed him! (Not sure he really grasps "happy tears" at this point.)

So, what is love worth? Apparently, it is worth putting one of your own dollars in a handmade card to your mom, because that's what you do when you give a card to someone you love. I've never felt so rich.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Currently feeling: so much love from my son

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Luke Art - LEGO Ninjago

Those of you with young kids have probably already heard of LEGO Ninjago. It is a very interesting amalgam of lots of different things; think Star Wars crossed with Kung Fu Panda, and aimed squarely at Luke's age bracket. We caught the two-part program on Cartoon Network before we realized there were toys (not that this realization was a surprise of any sort). Luke was instantly and totally enamored. I think we've watched it at least twice a week since then (thank you, DVR!). About a week after first seeing it, while waiting for our food to arrive at dinner, he drew this:

His drawing skills have dramatically improved since starting Kindergarten, but this is the best representation of something "real" and recognizable he has ever done. The best part about it, though, is that *he* was thrilled with it. He is quite a perfectionist (gee, I can't imagine where he gets that from), and he went through a spell at the end of last year where he was so upset that his drawings didn't look "real." I would like to thank all Impressionist painters for helping him get over that, particularly van Gogh and Monet. I was able to show him their works and let him see that even very famous paintings are not photo-real. Thankfully, that was not a problem with this masterpiece. He was so happy with it when it was done! In fact, he put it away in a safe place that took me until this weekend to find, which is why it is just now appearing here.

Currently feeling: loving the new art

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Kindergarten School Portrait

I've been sitting on this since well before Christmas, waiting to give them as Christmas gifts. Then I forgot to actually post it! A little goofy looking, but it is a good capture of his nature at this point in time.

I hope to get portraits made sometime this month (now that his hair has finally grown out!).

Currently feeling: is that *really* his first school portrait?!

Friday, February 04, 2011

Penmanship: A Conversation With Luke

Upon finishing Luke's reading worksheet for tonight.

DH: Now, I will sign it to show that we read everything we were supposed to for tonight. Then you need to put your name at the top.
Luke (pointing at the paper): Daddy, is that Chinese?
DH (puzzled, then realizing where Luke was pointing): No, that's cursive.

Currently feeling: amused

Wednesday, February 02, 2011