Sunday, December 19, 2004

Welcome to sunny California

We flew into Sacramento last night for our two week vacation in CA. We took a later flight, we left Michigan at 7pm and got into Sac at 11pm, which is 2 am our time. Needless to say, we were exhausted. The girls & I were able to sleep on the plane a little bit, but Jeff wasn't so lucky. Jeff's brother Tim & his daughter Ariel also flew in last night, at roughly the same time as us. The kids got a little rambunchous and the boys (Jeff, Tim & Tim's friend Justin) wanted to show off all their new toys and such. We didn't get to bed until around 1:30am. Sarah then kept us up practically all night, and then got up for good at around 7am.
We pretty much lounged around all day, with Ariel & Emma going in the spa. They got along pretty well, only Emma's not used to sharing toys & stuff with someone who's Ariel's age. She knows Sarah can't actively play with her stuff, but Ariel can, and it's been an adjustment for Emma. She keeps referring to Ariel as "sister" which is funny. She has no concept of "cousin".
We went to go see my mom and all the renovations she's been doing for the past month. Sarah got to show off all her new tricks, such as sitting up & laughing.
Jeff's been hanging out with his brother, Tim, along with Tim's friends Mario & Justin. Whenever the boys get together, their collective ages dwindle down to about 5 years old. They tell fart jokes & oogle over computer & video game stuff, and tackle each other to the ground. Tim will be in town until Monday night so Jeff's getting as much time as he can with him before he flies back home with Ariel.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Behold the Leper

Just a quick note to say, I hate cold sores. I woke up yesterday with 2, count 'em, TWO of them. One on each side of my lower lip. Argh. I'm a beauty, that's for sure. I must have been stressed out. Or not drinking enough water. Or both. Emma's birthday party (well, the planning & last minute driving around for stuff) stressed me out. And I definitely haven't been sleeping very well. That could be a big part of it.
Last night, I think I got maybe 2 full hours of sleep. Sarah was just up constantly. I don't even think she's hungry. I just think she doesn't know how to put herself back to sleep. Jeff thinks it's too cold for her. I think she needs more room to stretch out. So, I promised myself, my tired, dragging my butt through the dirt self, that I would get her crib finished, finally and put together. We'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Fixed at last!

We finally got our broken window in the living room downstairs fixed. It's taken over 2 months. I guess it's a good thing the rock that hit it didn't go through both panes otherwise we'd have rain & snow in our living room. But now our garage door is broken (well, bending) again. We leave on Friday afternoon, and I don't like the idea of leaving with it not being fixed. It's a real safety issue. Before we got the opener installed, we had to put a screwdriver through a couple of holes in the door & the frame in order to keep it from opening.
It's always something with houses, isn't it? And this place is brand new, so apparently we get more problems than normal. You'd think it would be otherwise, but oh well.
Jeff had 3 of his 4 finals yesterday, and the only one remaining is a cakewalk, since it's in his computer class. He thinks he did pretty well, and I'm sure he did, since he studying his bootie off. Now he doesn't know what to do with himself. It's been practically 4 months since he hasn't had to do homework or study for a test. But I know he'll figure something out.
I got one of my Christmas gifts early. I had bought a video game for Jeff, with the intention that I would play it, too. I told him, because I was afraid he wouldn't want it, only to have him tell me that he'd been planning on getting ME that exact same game. So, we decided, since I already knew, that we would just open it & play it. It's called "Katamari Damachy" and it's probably one of the strangest games you'll ever see. It's a Japanese import game, so that alone gives you mental images of weird stuff. You play this Prince, and your dad is the "King of All Cosmos". Basically, he's gets wasted & knocks all the stars out of the sky. It's your job to put them back. And how you do that is roll up everything you can on this giant ball called a Katamari. It's like a giant sticky vacuum. The more you roll up on it, the bigger the ball gets, thus you can roll up bigger & bigger things, like shoes, cars, people & ultimately buildings. Every katamari you finish gets booted into the sky to create a star. Weird, yes, but entertaining. They even have a 2 player version where you go against someone. Jeff kicked my tail last night, but I finally beat him twice in a row, and then I quit while I was (somewhat) ahead. He even rolled ME up and I had to scramble to get away. Not amusing.
Emma was supposed to have her Parent-Teacher conference this afternoon, but for some reason, it was cancelled. I'm hoping they can get it in before we leave. I would really like to hear from the teacher how Emma's doing. I know she's had some issues, mostly having to do with sharing and learning she can't always get what she wants, so I'm hoping she's made some progress in that area.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Sole Survivor

Last night was the finale for Survivor. It's sad that Jeff & I like this show so much. We really only watch 2 reality shows, Survivor & The Amazing Race. We're not into the Bachelor and other shows like that. We like shows that test people's physical, mental & social skills, not just who catches the eye of some doof who can't get a girlfriend.
I've been seriously contemplating trying out for the next Survivor. But I think that right now would not be the best time to go. First of all, Jeff would have to fly someone out here to take care of the kids while I'm gone. Secondly, I'd probably miss Sarah's 1st birthday & I would never be able to forgive myself if I did that. We both think we'd kick some butt in The Amazing Race, but that would require us BOTH to be gone, and that might be hard on the kids right now. Plus, I'm thinking, what would make me stand out from all the other people trying out? Jeff would most likely get on if he tried out. He's an ex-Navy sailor, who's been all around the world, he's practically the smartest person I know, and he won't take crap from anyone. The only down side is he wouldn't eat bugs, or anything else that was gross. The good thing about The Amazing Race would be that we could play off each other's strengths. I could do all the eating of nasty stuff and all the stunts that required doing something crazy, like jumping off a building (cause I'm nuts like that) and he could do all the other stuff, like anything that requires directions. LOL We always quiz each other about what the other would do in a certain situation. Most of the time we're right on with each other, but there are definitely times when we each have our own opinion about something. We just sit & watch & laugh at some of the people on these shows. There's this one couple on The Amazing Race this season. They're married and the husband is CONSTANTLY yelling at his wife. He treats her like she's a moron. I told Jeff if he did that me, I'd smack him. I felt really bad for this one team, two friends, because neither of them could drive a stick shift. And most of the cars in Europe are stick shifts. So this poor girl kept stalling the car they were in and holding everyone up who was behind them. I know that if we ever did that together, there would definitely be some things that we would study up on. I want to become fluent in French...again. I wasn't really fluent before, but I could have a decent conversation with someone. You have to go into something like that prepared, not just automatically thinking they can deal with anything they come across.
So maybe one day Jeff & I will do one of those shows. It would be fun.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Party hard

We had Emma's birthday party yesterday afternoon. It was pretty successful, I think. Nothing got broken & there were only a couple of "selfish" moments, where someone didn't want to share a toy. I think the party went pretty smoothly considering the stress that came before it. I, of course, being the huge procrastinator that I am, waited until the last possible moment to get things I should have gotten earlier this week, leaving Jeff at home with the kids while I went and bought some last minute things. By the time I got back, which was a lot later than I had anticipated, Sarah's screaming and Jeff's running around the house trying to get everything finished. I felt so bad. Poor Jeff had to change his shirt because he was sweating from all the stuff he was doing. But we were able to pull it together before anyone showed up. Everyone came except for one person. I think that they might have had an emergency, but I don't know their phone number, so I'll have to wait until school starts next month before I can find out, unless they call me. I'm going to save the goody bag I made for the little girl & give it to her when I see her next.
The goody bags consisted of a package of hair clips that came with a keychain that had a brush and some lipgloss on it. I don't know how they managed that, but oh well. I also got 30 pairs of stick-on earrings and a butterfly wand. The wands were a big hit. Emma has one from my mom and everyone wanted to play with it, so I gave out the bags early so everyone could have their own. Quite a few parents stayed behind, so we were able to have some nice conversations.
The girls played dress-up with all of Emma's playclothes. Some of them even brought their own. Jeff played a couple games of CandyLand with them. Sarah was a good baby for the party. She was just looking around at everyone and making funny faces at them.
Instead of a cake, I made cupcakes and put frosting on them and the girls were able to decorate them themselves. They had fun with that.
Emma got some really nice gifts. She was excited about all of them, but as soon as the wrapping paper came off, she was like, "What's next?" She wanted to make sure all of them were opened before getting really excited about any of them. She received the My Little Pony Dance Studio, and 2 extra My Little Ponies, 2 ballerina Barbies (different kinds), a Polly Pocket set, a Clickits jewelry set, a Princess Activity set, a Dora computer game, Junior Scrabble, and a Funfoam acitivity set. After she opened them all, we got all the toys out of the packaging so the girls could play with them. Well, all except 3 of them. All of the activity & jewelry sets we didn't open because they all small parts, glue & glitter. I told Emma she could play with those when everyone had left. The kids played with the toys until it was time to go. I think all in all it was a great time, but Jeff's thinking next year we need to hire someone to entertain the kids. I said anyone but a clown. Or maybe we'll just have the part at McDonald's. Emma's friend Ryan had his birthday party there.
I wasn't able to get the Bella Dancerella thing for Emma like I wanted, but oh well. It's a hot ticket item this season, apparently. So I'll have to keep looking once we get to CA. Emma played her Dora the Explorer computer game last night and already beat it. I'm thinking we're going to have to start her on some more advanced stuff in order to keep her mind occupied.
Jeff has finals tomorrow & Tuesday and then he came relax (sorta) until we leave on Friday. We're taking a later flight, getting into Sacramento at 11pm their time. It'll be 2am our time, so hopefully the children will be asleep. It should be fun carrying them both through the airport.
We're finally figured out our itinerary for the 2 weeks we'll be there. We're going to drive down to Southern CA on Christmas Eve to spend Christmas with my dad. Then we're going over to Bakersfield for a couple days, then back up to Sacramento to catch our flight home. It's going to be hectic, but we're hoping to be able to see everyone we can.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Happy Birthday Emma!

Today is Emma's birthday. I can't believe that 5 years have gone by since she was born. It truely doesn't seem that long ago. She was born after 22 hours of labor, and 2 1/2 hours of pushing, most of which I don't remember. She was born at 7:01am, weighing 8 lbs. 10 oz. and was 19 1/2 inches long. She had inch long dark brown hair, which she got from me, and her daddy's nose. Right after she was born, she cried for about a minute, but fell right to sleep after the doctor laid her down on my chest. I could tell that she was going to be a stubborn one, as she was born face-up (thus the 2 1/2 hours of pushing). She had jaundice and her nickname was "spike" after her first bath, as her hair stood straight up and was fuzzy. Her eyes were like mercury, deep, dark pools of blue, which were also a gift from her father.
As I look at pictures from when she was little, she still has the same looks she gives me now. Her eyes have lightened just a little but are still big & blue. Her hair has changed from dark brown to strawberry blonde to light blonde and slowly back to a light brown. She's been through numerous ear infections, colds, coughs, and an episode of Bell's Palsy. She's learned the fine art of sarcasm (thanks Jeff), can draw a family portrait like no other (complete with belly buttons), and is a wonderful big sister to Sarah. She's in preschool, has lots of friends and loves to play dress-up. She's a Disney Princess in training. She loves horses and the colors purple & pink. If it were possible, she'd eat a quesadilla at every meal. Her favorite vegetables are black olives. She's not extraordinarily kind, but takes it personally when someone else's feelings have been bruised. Her only desire is for everyone to be happy and will do her best to make that possible. As one of her teachers from preschool said, "She's just Emma", which is just about the only way to describe her. She's like no one else. She even had her own language "Emma-ese".
Emma brings such immense joy to our family, it's hard to think of what our lives would be like without her.
Happy Birthday, Goober!!!!

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Christmas fun

Holiday Eating Tips:

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. Like fine single-malt scotch, it's rare. In fact, it's even rarer than single-malt scotch. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into
an eggnog-aholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two.

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Reread tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Remember this motto to live by:
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!!!!"

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Rainy days & fire alarms

Oh the joys of going to preschool at a college. After getting about 5 inches of snow 2 days ago, it started raining last night, which pretty much melted most of the snow. That's the way it is around here. It wasn't bad, just enough to be a nuisance. I dropped Emma off at school & went home. When I drove back to the school to pick her up, I noticed that a lot of the students from Wightman Hall, where the preschool is located, were outside the building, milling around the sidewalks & parking lots. I parked, got out of the car, and only then realized that I heard the faint buzzing noise of a fire alarm. It didn't really hit me until I was walking up the stairs to the classroom that that probably meant the kids weren't there. I turned around & saw a teacher running towards me, telling me that the kids were at the back of the parking lot. I walked over there, and saw about 10 kids in a huddle, being surrounded by the teachers & assistants, trying to keep them warm. Because this wasn't a drill, and was completely unexpected, the kids hadn't been able to grab their coats on the way out. So they were stuck out there, in the rain and cold, until they determined if the alarm was warranted, just a mistake, or a prank. Poor kids. I took off my coat & wrapped it around Emma to walk back to the car. Then we had to sit & wait for the teachers to be allowed back into the classroom in order to get Emma's jacket & backpack. So, it was an exciting day.
So far, we have 5 kids coming to Emma's birthday party on Saturday. I even got an RSVP via a teletype, with someone transcribing my words for the person on the other end. Apparently, one of the girls' mom is either deaf or very hearing-impaired. I know a few of the other parents are staying, as well, so it should be fun.
Sarah will be getting her 2nd flu shot tomorrow. Because she's so young, she needed to get it in 2 doses. Of course, I have to pay $20/each, which seems pointless, especially since she's getting the same shot as older people, just 1/2 & 1/2. Oh well.
School ends this week for both Emma & Jeff. We have a pizza party to go to on Thursday evening for Emma's preschool & we have a parent-teacher conference next week. I'm really nervous about this. I'm afraid they're going to tell me what a hellion Emma is and how they don't want her coming back next semester. Either that or they're going to tell me, I think Emma needs to be in preschool for another year, as she isn't ready for Kindergarden. Either way, I'd feel like a failure as a mother.
Jeff has finals next Monday & Tuesday. Then he can relax until we fly to California on the 17th. We're still trying to figure out when & how we're getting to Southern California to visit everyone there. We're looking into renting a car one-way for each leg of the trip, but not sure if that would be cost-effective. It's nice that both Jeff & I are 25, so we don't have to pay that extra "you're under 25 & therefore must be a terrible driver" fee. When we came out here last year to check out the job at CMU, I was the only one who could drive because I was the only one who was 25. So hopefully we'll be able to find a way down south to visit everyone.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Food for thought

Creed for babies with Down syndrome
My face may be different
But my feelings the same
I laugh and I cry
And I take pride in my gains
I was sent here among you
To teach you to love
As God in the Heavens
Looks down from above
To Him I'm no different
His love knows no bounds
It's those here among you
In cities and towns
That judge me by standards
That man has imparted
But this family I've chosen
Will help me get started
For I'm one of the children
So special and few
That came here to learn
The same lessons as you
That love is acceptance
It must come from the heart
We all have the same purpose
Though not the same start
The Lord gave me life
To live and embrace
And I'll do as you do
But at my own pace
Welcome to Holland
By Emily Perl Kingsley
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. Michelangelo's David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Girls only

Well, we passed out the invitations to Emma's birthday party next week. We decided that it was going to be a "Girls Only" party because 1) there are too many kids in her class to invite everyone, including all the boys & the party's here & 2) I figured everyone would end up playing dress-up and I doubted any boys would want to do that with all the frilly, pink stuff Emma has. But, forgetful me, accidently left out one girl, so I printed out another invite & will put it in her cubby when I pick Emma up from school. I'll have to double check that I didn't forget anyone else, but I think I got everyone.
At first, I was thinking about a party at "Let's Do the Dishes", a ceramics place in town. The kids could paint their own piece of pottery & have it firebaked and take it home, in place of goodie bags. Well, that would have worked but they said it would take a week to get everything firebaked & then I'd have to come back & pick everyone's pottery up and deliver it to them. Too much hassle. We don't have a Chuck E. Cheese's around here or any other cool place to have a party. Plus, there's snow on the ground, so an outdoor thing at a park was out of the question. Even though I'm not thrilled with the idea of clean-up, at least here they can play with Emma's toys and hopefully not fight over anything.
Now all I have to do is figure out decorations and something for a goodie bag. I'm going to bake cupcakes and have the girls decorate them themselves with frosting & stuff. I already have Emma's gifts, I just have to wrap them.
Even if only a couple girls out of the 8-10 we invited show up, that would still be great. I'm letting the parents know that they're welcome to stay if they want. That way we can get to know each other a little better.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Let's talk turkey

Our friends, Robert & Tiana, along with their 3 kids, Ryan, Austin, & Justin, came up to visit us from Tennessee for Thanksgiving. It's been almost a year since we've seen them, so it was nice to be able to relax & have fun. They're pretty much our best friends, and we each have 2 kids who are practically the same age as each other. Ryan & Emma are two days apart in age, and Sarah & Justin are about 4 months apart. We all had our fill of turkey, ham & pie, along with about 10 games of Spades. Although the kids enjoyed playing together (and constantly fighting), the boys missed their puppies back at home & they left this morning. We got a few good pictures of the babies together & of all the kids.
We got our first snow of the year the day after they got here. It was a good 6 inches at least. It lasted for about 2 days & then it started raining and it all melted. That's pretty much how it goes around here. We get snow, it melts, more snow, it melts, until the first week of January & then it snows A LOT, and doesn't go away until March.
The kids had a great time playing in the snow with the guys. It was Ryan & Austin's first time in real snow. I tried to get pictures, but the guys thought it would be hilarious to throw snowballs at us while we were at the sliding glass door. I guess we ducked when we weren't supposed to & there ended up being a few in the house, including a clump of snow in Sarah's hair.
Sarah & Justin were just enfatuated with each other. It was so cute. She's into grabbing everything right now, so when we sat them facing each other, she would grab his clothes & pull him to her so she could suck on his cheek. He didn't seem to like that very much, although he kept smiling at her. We sat them next to each other for a picture & she put her arm around his shoulder. It was really sweet.
Tiana & I did our annual (although this is only the 2nd year of doing it) "Get-up-way-too-early-on-the-day-after-Thanksgiving-to-go-stand-in-the-cold-with-the-other-crazy-people" shopping. We were only there for a few toys, and they were out of most of the ones we wanted, probably because we didn't get up EARLY ENOUGH. Oh well, that's what rainchecks are for. They had already bought most of what they wanted to for the boys & we can't really buy a whole bunch, since we're flying to CA for Christmas. Don't want to lug all that junk back & forth. The guys stayed home with the children (no fireplaces). They occupied themselves by playing Warcraft the whole week.
Jeff & Tiana fight like they're brother & sister, it's too funny. Robert & I just sit back & watch them rag on each other & beat each other up. I don't know how they started acting like that, but it's evolved over the last 3 years of our friendship. We have such a good time when we're all together.
By the time Robert & Tiana left this morning, everyone was sick. Even the baby. Poor Sarah has nastiness just pouring from her nose. She could barely breathe yesterday. I'm definitely getting a lot of use out of the two bulb syringes (AKA snot-suckers) I have. I'm thinking about getting some baby Benadryl & drugging the poor child so she can sleep AND breathe during the night.
My goal to get Sarah into her crib by the time Robert & Tiana were here was not realized. We decided that it would be best to have them sleep in her room so they'd have some privacy and that it would most likely just mess with Sarah's head to have her be sleeping in her crib one night & then back in the bassinette the next. So the goal is to have her in it by the end of this week. We'll see how we do.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Growing girls

Both Emma & Sarah are growing like weeds. I took Sarah into the doctor's a couple days ago, thinking she might have an ear infection. She hasn't been sleeping all that well, and had been a little crankier than usual. She didn't have one, but she was weighed & she's gained half a pound in a week. She's finally over 15 lbs. now. And when the U of M people came last week to check up on her for their study, she was over 25 inches long! That's pretty good. At least she's now on the typical growth chart. Before, she was barely in the 5th percentile, now she's solidly between 10-25th percentile. On the Ds growth chart, she's between the 50-75th percentile for weight & length. And of course, she still has her little "Winston Churchill" cheeks and chin.
Emma's feet have grown a whole size in less than a year. She now wears an 11 1/2. In clothes she's about an size 5/6, depending on what it is. She's got a long torso so shirts sometimes hover around her belly button if she raises her arms. And apparently I need to get used to her wearing belts, because all of her pants somehow sink down if she's not wearing one. She's only 5 and already needs to worry about "plumber's crack". Poor little girl has no butt.
It's hard to believe that Emma is going to be 5 in a few weeks. It's so unreal. I was looking at pictures of her from early last year, and she looks just like a baby! She no longer has the chubby toddler cheeks, her face has gotten longer, and with the shorter haircut (due to me chopping it a year ago), she no longer has the baby curls. She'll be in Kindergarten next year, which completely boggles the mind.
She came home today saying that someone at school had called her a jerk. Instantly, my "protective mom" gear switched on, and I was bombarding her with questions, like, who said it, did you tell the teacher, what did they do about it, type of thing. Then I thought, maybe she had said something to provoke them, but she says she didn't. I wasn't prepared for this kind of teasing to start so early. They're in preschool! I guess I was most disturbed at the fact that the kid who called her that KNOWS this word. I guess I shouldn't be TOO surprised in this day & age, but it still rattled me. I think I will be taking more advantage of the "one way mirror" they have the classroom to check things out more often.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Who says ballets are boring?

Not Emma, that's for sure. We all went to see "The Nutcracker" ballet last night at a local college. One of our friends, who has babysat for Emma a couple times, was performing in it and she was able to secure some tickets for us. Her husband, who has driven with us, also sat by us and filled us in on the intricacies of the plot. It was beautiful. Neither Jeff or I seen an actual, semi-professional performance of it done, so it was nice to have an insider's view.
Sarah was perfect, since she slept through almost the whole entire thing, waking up only during the last part. I took Emma down by the orchestra pit before it started, so she could look at all the instruments. She got scared when someone banged the cymbals together. She mostly sat on my or Jeff's lap the entire time, because it was hard for her to see over the lady's hair who was sitting in front of us. She just was enthralled with the performance. She loved all the dancers in their pretty costumes and thought it was pretty cool that they had little kids in the ballet, too.

Some cool news! Sarah sat on her own for about 15 seconds today! She was leaning on her arms which were being braced by her legs, but hey, she didn't fall over right away. I consider that a success. We had her Early On evaluation yesterday & they decided to pick her up for Physical Therapy, so hopefully that will start soon. I was trying to find Emma's baby book to see when she started sitting up. I thought it was earlier than 6 1/2 months, but I don't remember. It's hard not to compare Sarah to Emma, although I know I shouldn't.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Movie day

We all went to see "The Incredibles" this afternoon. It was a pretty good movie. I had read that they recommended that young children (i.e. Emma's age) shouldn't see it because it was rated PG and had some pretty adult themes in it. After seeing it, I think I agree with the critics. Although it had it's funny moments that Emma understood, most of the time it seemed like she was just watching the movie & not really enjoying it. There were parts where it was obvious that a character died and not very pleasantly. It was still enjoyable, even though I had to take a seriously poopy Sarah to the bathroom and then 10 minutes later have to take Emma. Although Emma wasn't poopy. Too much soda.
There were plenty of funny moments, including one where a secondary superhero is trying to find his supersuit and his wife has hidden it because she doesn't want him leaving when they have dinner plans. Totally reminded me of Jeff & I. Not that I would hide his clothes from him, but the fact that he THINKS I do.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Picture perfect

We got Emma's school pictures back yesterday. They are so cute! Of course, being Emma, she had to have the cheesiest grin I think I've ever seen. So I will try to get those out in the mail soon.
Big news! Sarah has 2 teeth! I noticed the first one on Monday while I was giving her a bath. I also saw that the second one would probably come through within a day or two, since it was right below the surface. Finally all that drooling and fussiness and keeping us up all night and gnawing on everything in sight has paid off. Not like any of that is going to stop now that the teeth have come through. No, it's all part of her charm now.
I'm thinking about getting Sarah these "Signing Time" videos. I really want to start using sign language with her so she can communicate earlier. I wish I had done this with Emma, especially since Emma ended up having a speech delay. Plus, I wish I had kept up with my own signing, so I would know a lot more than I do now.
The weather is definitely starting to turn colder around here. Need to bundle up almost everytime we go outside. I know it's only going to get worse, so I'm not even going to complain about it. One thing that's neat about Emma's preschool is you can put a sign in the dash of your car & they will come get your child when you drop them off and bring them to the car at the end of school. Very nice when you have other children to deal with & it's snowing outside.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Rock the vote?

Well, I really don't know what to say. I know I've always been told, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. Suffice it to say, that I voted for Kerry, and he...didn' So, I'm kinda depressed. Don't really know what to do. I think Jeff & I have decided that most Americans (about 59 million of them) are stupid, and we want to move to a different country.
I apologize for the content of this blog. I'm just not at a very happy place in my life right now. I'm sure it'll all work out somehow, though I cannot conceivably see how at this moment in time. Just let me know when the next 4 years are over.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone's Halloween was fun. Ours was great. I was racing to finish Emma's Straberry Shortcake costume before trick-or-treating. Of course, as always, I wait until the absolute last minute to finish everything. I always get in trouble for that. I had finished her pants the day I got the pattern (over a month ago), so why did it take me until 4 pm on Halloween to finish the hat? Cause I'm a procrastinator. It's what I do best. I apparently do my best work when I'm stressed.
Well I finished it & everyone thought it was adorable. Sarah went as a duckie. It was actually Emma's costume from her 1st Halloween. I just updated it a little. There are a few pictures on the website.
We went to the Towers at the college. The Towers are a series of 8 dorms that Jeff works in. There are between 5-8 floors in each tower and most of the floors had at least 3-4 rooms where college kids were handing out candy. I didn't remember it being nearly as crowded last year as it was this year. We didn't actually stay there very long last year. But it was too chilly to do much trick-or-treating outdoors this year, so after Emma filled up practically two buckets full of candy, we went home. Not bad for only an hour and a half. The hardest part was schlepping Sarah's stroller through the elevators & halls of the dorms.
Emma was a pretty good trick-or-treater. She just forgetting to say thank you after getting the candy. It seemed she was on a singular mission & formalities such as politeness were thrown out the window. Sarah, of course, was adorable & just sat in her seat, looking cute.
It seemed we missed the bulk of trick-or-treaters while we were gone and only had 2 sets of people come to our door. So we have this multitude of candy on our hands now. And without a doubt, most of it will end up on my hips. LOL

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Whoa, what was that?

Last night my "cold" turned into a full blown nastiness, complete with a mild fever, major sinus pain, all over weakness and more mucous. It was gross. I could barely lay on the cough & watch "Celebrity Poker Showdown" with Jeff without wincing in pain everytime someone spoke loudly near my head. It felt as if someone was banging a gong right near my ear, it resonated in my head like an echo.
Jeff finally told me to just go to bed around 8:30pm. As I was trying to go to sleep, I heard Emma upstairs coughing. I then decided that she would be staying home from school tomorrow. I didn't want her to get all the other kids sick. Plus, that way I didn't have to get up and drive Jeff to work, and we could all sleep in. I had thought Jeff was going to call in sick today, but I guess he decided not to. Poor guy, he's got so much going on right now. I feel really bad for him. I've been trying to help as much as I can, but I was pretty much useless yesterday. I do feel better this morning, though. Fever's gone, as is the weakness. Still have a little bit of the sinus pain and of course, the mucous, always the mucous. It's never ending. My friend also has an online blog & apparently she was really sick last week. I think something she said can sum up how I feel. "Why is it that my nose is so stuffed up and congested that I am certain I am going to suffocate and die, no air whatsoever can pass through my nostrils because they are swollen completly shut, and yet, copious amounts of liquid are able to pour out of my nose with abandon. No problem for the liquid to get out, only the air to get in." Yes, that's exactly how it is. I don't understand the logic of it. Whenever I have a cold and can't breathe through my nose, I also have this nightmare of being taken hostage and being bound and gagged, where someone puts tape or something over my mouth, which would force me to breathe through my nose, which of course, being sick, I can't do, and I die. How sad is that? I must have something seriously wrong with me that my brain thinks up this crazy stuff.
Anyways, Emma just came in & wants me to play "Go Fish" with her Disney Princess cards so I must be off. She's had two Krispy Kreme donuts this morning & she has glaze flakes in her hair & on her eyelash. Too funny.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Why is it always me?

I woke up yesterday morning with a monstrously nasty cold. It came on like a thief in the night, out of nowhere. I'd had a little sniffles the past few days, but nothing that would prepare me for the onslaught of mucous that I would wake up to. It seems to be worse in the morning, but since a lot of things happen in the morning, that doesn't help. I could barely get out of bed this morning to take Jeff to work/school.
We all went to see "SharkTale" last night. We took Sarah with us and since it was a late evening show, we figured there wouldn't be many people there to bother in case she decided to be difficult. There were only 2 other people in the theater with us. The movie was pretty good. There were a few moments when I just burst out laughing and one in particular where it took me about 2 minutes to stop. This girl fish, named Angie, voiced by Renee Zellweger, is really mad at this guy fish, Oscar, voiced by Will Smith. She says to him,"Sometimes, I just want to take your stupid head and...." and she does this motion where she's punching her fist into the palm of her other hand really fast. I suppose you kinda had to be there, but it was funny. Mostly because I've been there with Jeff. I love him but sometimes I want to strangle him. I think everyone's been there at least once in their life.

Thursday, October 21, 2004


I think I broke my toe.

First sniffles

Well, it's official. Sarah has her first cold. She's been congested since yesterday, and her breathing's been a little weird. Nothing to worry about. All she's pretty much wanted to do it eat & sleep today. Which is fine with me. I know she needs her rest. She's got a little bit of the watery eyes and boogers. It's actually kinda cute at how docile she is. Even more than usual. It's allowed me to work on "helping" Jeff with his English paper. "Helping" is a technical term for "Honey, can you DO this for me?" In his defense, he did start it. He gave me about a page a half, most of which was his name and all his class information, and said,"Here, make this 5 pages." Thank goodness I'd actually read the story he/we're doing this paper on. In fact, I read it first. I read about 4 short stories, helping him decide which ones to do. I suppose it could be worse, he could be asking me to "help" with his math. Yuck.
Emma is having her class pictures done today at preschool. She looked so cute when I dropped her off. She's wearing her black dress (which is about a size too big for her, but she wears it all the time at home), tights & her black Mary Jane's. Her hair is up a little & I curled her bangs and the ends of her hair. These class pictures are getting expensive. It was $36 for one of the smallest packages. But hopefully they'll turn out ok & we'll be able to send them in about a month.
I think we've decided that Emma's going to be getting her Speech Therapy at the preschool, like the other kids there. I didn't like that idea at first, because I didn't want her to be taken out of class to do it. But it's just not working out well with the group setting. And it's becoming unfair to the other kids, who aren't able to get their individual time with the teacher. And when it comes right down to it, the individual time she'll get at school equals the amount of individual time she got in the group. They try not to make a big deal of it when they take the kids out of school. In fact, they usually just do the speech right there in the classroom, away from the other kids. So, hopefully she won't notice too big of a change.
Jeff's going politiking tonight. He was asked by the local people to go around and see who random people are voting for. It's basically a Pro-Kerry organization, but without being blatant about it. You don't even say anything about Kerry unless they say they are most likely going to vote for him, or something like that. My biggest concern was getting yelled at by people and having a shotgun shoved in my face and being told to "get off my property". So, I'll be staying in the car with the kids and Jeff and a friend will be knocking on the doors. On second thought, maybe Jeff should take a kid with him. Makes the chances of being threatened a little lower.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Another trip...

We just can't seem to stay home on the weekends. This last Saturday we drove down to Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, OH to meet some friends from the Navy. Chris & Katie just got married last month & are on their honeymoon. Another friend, Eric, lives in Wisconsin and drove down with his girlfriend. It was fun. Freezing cold, since we were directly on Lake Erie, but fun. It was a little rainy, and windy, but we still went on a bunch of rides. Emma had a blast in the kiddie area. Cedar Point is pretty much known as the roller coaster capital of the US. They have 16 roller coasters, including the tallest one in the world right now, the Top Thrill Dragster (which unfortunately was closed that day, along with a few others). But the next biggest one is Millennium Force, which goes up 310 ft. and them plummets down at an 80 degree angle. It was awesome. It goes about 90 MPH, and with the intense winds that we had that day, felt a lot faster.
It was a fun trip, albeit short. We came home on Sunday afternoon. Just enough time for Jeff to finish his homework (with me helping) and go to bed. Maybe this weekend we'll be able to stay home.

We went to see a play at the college last week. It was "I Hate Hamlet". It was really good. Andrew Rally is a TV actor who's popular show has just been cancelled, and he's gone to New York to be in some plays to beef up his resume while waiting for his next big break. He's asked to play Hamlet in Shakespeare in the Park. But he despises Hamlet and doesn't want to do it. All the while, he's renting John Barrymore's old apartment and his ghost comes back to help Nadrew prepare for the role. It's pretty funny.
The girls stayed at home with a couple friends of ours from the college, Andrea & Gary. Andrea watched Emma last February when Jeff & I went to a concert. They got married in May. I was able to get Sarah to eat out of a bottle for a little while so they could feed her while we were gone, just in case. She did pretty well & Emma loved having someone new to play with. Maybe now we'll be able to go out every once in a while.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

We're back...

from Orlando. It was a quick trip for the girls & I. We left Thursday morning & were back home by very early Sunday morning. It was a whirlwind but it was fun.
We were able to see Jon & Jenn Parker on Thursday evening. Jeff hadn't seen them since their wedding almost 7 years ago. Emma & their daughter Jordan had a blast together. They saw each other last year, but I don't know if either of them remembered it. We had dinner at the hotel, the Disney Swan where Jeff was staying. It included a couple appearances by Disney characters Goofy & Pluto. The restaurant wasn't all that busy, so they were able to stay with each table for quite awhile. Pluto came back twice, as did Goofy. The girls posed for a picture with Pluto (on the website), one on each side of him, with his arms around them. After I took the picture, he stood up, picking up the girls under his arms and started to walk off with them. It was cute. Even though Jon & Jenn were only able to stay for a few hours, it was nice to see them again.
The next day we went to Disneyworld. Emma decided she wanted to wear her Snow White outfit the whole day. I mistakenly thought she might be one of only a few kids to be wearing costumes before the Halloween thing that night. I was wrong. I saw no less than 50-100 kids wearing a myriad of costumes, mostly Disney Princess ones. There were even a few adults dressed up.
We had fun. Emma was adamant about going on the Dumbo ride and the carousel. We didn't get on Dumbo until late in the evening, as it was one of the most popular rides in the park with the longest line. Emma ended up not liking half of the "kiddie rides", i.e. Peter Pan's Flight & Snow White's Adeventure. She did like the Winnie the Pooh one, though. I'm not sure why she wasn't thrilled about the other ones. They have a new one for Buzz Lightyear. It's pretty cool. You're on a car, like the other ones, but you have a stick shift & are able to turn the car around on a 360 degree access and shoot at targets with 2 onboard laser guns. It keeps a tally of how many you hit & gives you a score at the end of the ride. It's pretty neat.
They also have a new 3-D show called "Disney's Philharmonic". It was Jeff's favorite. We went twice. I think even Sarah liked it, although I felt bad that she had to see it blurry, as she didn't have any 3-D glasses.
Emma was a little upset when we stood in line for 45 minutes to get a picture with Cinderella (her favorite) only to have Cinderella leave when there were only 3 people in front of us. I think she had a show to do, and Disney has a policy that 2 people playing the same character aren't allowed out in public at the same time. We went and saw her show and before it started, some of the villains came out to give autographs & pose for pictures. The Evil Queen from Snow White was there & as she was passing Emma (we were in the front row), she just stared at her & gave her the evil eye. I'm assuming it was because she was dressed as Snow White. It was pretty funny. Emma didn't think so, though and got scared. It was kinda cool, there were adults dressed up as Maleficent (from Sleeping Beauty), Cruella DeVil, and the Evil Queen. They each went to their respective villain & posed for a picture. I thought that was kinda neat.
We had a blast and can't wait to go back. It's definitely different than Disneyland.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

On our own

Well, Jeff's in Florida for 6 days. So the girls & I are alone for a few days, until we fly out there to meet him on Thursday. So far, his conference has been "fun". They have the schedule pretty booked with technical and propaganda meetings. He's gotten a few free t-shirts out of the deal, so I guess it's not a total loss. He's mostly looking forward to the final night party at Universal Studios tomorrow evening.
We're going to meet up with Jon & Jenn Parker on Thursday night. They're driving down from Jacksonville to have dinner with us. It'll be nice to see them. Jeff hasn't seen them since their wedding, I believe. That was almost 7 years ago. Emma & I saw them last year in Sacramento. Jordan & Emma got along pretty well. We got a picture of them hugging & it looks like Jordan's strangling Emma, but it was cute.
So far, we really haven't done much with Jeff not being here. It was nice to sleep in (well, 7:30am when Emma woke Sarah & I up), and not have to take Jeff to work. I stayed up until 1:30am playing my video game. Haven't done that in awhile. Jeff did the same thing while the girls & I were CA. But he did that for a month. I have 3 days. I have to make the most of it. Hehe
Emma & I are going to make cookies sometime today. I'm going to bribe my next door neighbor into getting my mail & bringing in my trash bins while I'm gone.
I think Fall has officially "fell" here. Last Friday, the temp was about 70 degrees. On Saturday, it dropped to about 55. I was totally unprepared for it. We went to the Buddy Walk on Saturday in Lansing & we freezed our butts off. Emma, Sarah & I were lucky. I had brought blankets & (light) jackets for us. But Jeff hadn't brought anything, nor did I think to bring anything for him. Needless to say, we didn't stay long after the walk. But we had a fun time, even though it was cold. There are pics on the website.
So, it'll be nice to go to Florida for a few days & be sweaty rather than chilly. Jeff says it's really humid. Oh fun. I told him before he left that I wouldn't mind living in Florida. He said he didn't like the idea of huge bugs. Or the hurricanes. I said I'd take the bugs over the snow. Hurricanes you can evacuate from & there's always bug spray for the humungous insects. Snow is just there, all the time.
Our wonderful neighbor next door (the one we share a wall with) was kind enough to mow our lawn the other day. He was using a riding lawn mower & was doing a great job. Only one problem-he ran over a huge rock, and the mower hurled it at our lower floor window, putting a huge hole in one of the panes. That was fun & interesting. Scared me to death when I heard it. Thank goodness it didn't go through both panes & right into our living room, where the kids were playing. Sarah's swing was in front of the window & it would have hit that. So we called our landlord & he came right over. He said they'd try to get it fixed before we leave. Never a dull moment around here.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Paging Martha Stewart...

I am slowly transforming into one of those moms who does everything from scratch. Well, kinda. Yesterday I went & bought all the stuff needed to make Emma's halloween costume. She had decided a couple weeks ago that she wanted to be Strawberry Shortcake. Seeing as how the only exposure she's ever had to Strawberry Shortcake is a little plush doll that my grandmother gave her last Christmas, I was surprised she picked that. I was thinking she'd do something more along the lines of a Disney princess (i.e. Cinderella, since that is her favorite). But I was not opposed to the Shortcake chick. I loved her as a young child and since all things old are new again lately (Carebears, Rainbow Brite, even Transformers & Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), I figured, what the heck? I was preparing myself for weeks of making a dress with pantaloons and a pinafore, along with some funky look hat. But, I was pleasantly surprised upon finding the pattern at the fabric store that the modern Strawberry Shortcake has scaled down her wardrobe and is now in a pink, red, green & white striped shirt, with blue pants and her trademark hat. I'm thinking, I can do this. So, I bought some of the stuff yesterday & proceeded to curse at my dull scissors & realize that I really don't know how to sew very well. Case in point, in looking at the pattern for all the little brickabrack I needed for this costume it said "single fold bias tape, hook and eye". I asked the lady what that meant. I had found the bias tape, but I had no idea what kind of bias tape "hook and eye" was. She informed me that it was two separate things, bias tape AND a hook and eye closure. I felt like a dope. Reason #50 why I don't sew, I don't know the lingo.
But things went pretty well considering. I finished the pants this morning, after wrestling with a French cuff (the instructions just did NOT make sense). And Emma's now wearing the pants I just made. I haven't found any material for the shirt, and I still need to get some polyester fiberfill & batting for the hat. But I'm on my way, sort of.
Then this morning, I decided to make pancakes. From scratch. I've done this before but in combination with the costume thing, it looks a little suspicious.
Emma's preschool class is going on a field trip today. They're walking over to the big gym on campus & going on the climbing wall. I'm not exactly sure how this is going to go with 4 year olds, but it should be interesting to watch. I'll take my camera.

Monday, September 27, 2004

More hospital fun

Sarah had her EKG this morning. I'd never seen one done before, so I didn't know what to expect. But they put a few little nodes on her chest & belly and then used an ultrasound machine to look at her heart and take some pictures. Sarah did remarkably well, although she didn't like the cold jelly on her chest & being naked. And of course, Emma couldn't stand to not have all the attention on her, so she wanted to be right in the middle of the action. Thankfully it didn't take too long. But we have to wait until the end of this week or the beginning of next week before we get any results back. Apparently they have to send the info to Children's Hospital in Lansing & have their pediatric cardiologist look at it. I personally don't think she has anything wrong with her heart, but we wanted to completely rule it out and not just assume. Especially since while we were in the waiting area, I started reading thos article about a little girl who went into congestive heart failure at about 5 months old. Her mom said the only symptoms she had were being congested a lot & being clammy and sweaty after eating, both of which I've noticed about Sarah. But, with the DS, she's got a small nose, which could account for the constant boogers, and my MIL said she noticed that babies get really sweaty when they're about to fall asleep, which Sarah tends to do while she's eating, so I don't know.
Hopefully this will be the last trip to any hospital for us in a long time. I think the next we have to go is in early November for Emma's yearly physical. I'm thinking she needs shots then, yay.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Well so much for that plan...

I had been planning on all of us going to the Grand Rapids Buddy Walk this morning. But, it's 10:30 am and we're still at home. It's all my fault. I had the biggest headache last night & didn't get very much sleep. I would have been pretty much a wash this morning trying to get everyone out the door. So, I feel horrible that I asked everyone to donate money to the Buddy Walk when I'm not going to the one I asked for donations for! Thank goodness there's another one next week in Lansing, which is closer. I still feel like I let everyone down, especially Sarah, even though she had no clue what we were going to do today. But I have ALL intentions of going next week & hopefully my health will allow me to.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Can I just relax for a minute?

Ok, today has been pretty busy & it's not even 2 pm yet. For starters, Jeff woke up 40 minutes late this morning & we were rushing to get out of the house to get him to work. I know both Emma & Sarah had someplace to be at 9am, so I was in a hurry to get everyone clean, dressed & out the door by 8:45am. Emma had speech therapy from 9-11:30am, while Sarah had a team meeting for Early On. They decided that Sarah is doing so well developmentally that she doesn't need any therapies right now, although they did give me some suggestions to help her alone before our next meeting in November. Then they had the Early On playgroup at 10:30. It was in the school's gym, and they had all these toys & balls for the kids to play with. There was a little boy, about 11 months old, who has Down syndrome, as well. I'd heard about him from the Early On coordinator & had been trying to get in contact with him mom, but she works full-time and is getting her Master's degree, so time is a precious commodity. He was there with his sitter. I gave her my number to give to Joseph's mom to have her call me when she gets the time. No rush. I think Sarah had fun. Since she couldn't run around like the majority of the kids there, she just sat with me & played with little toys. She really liked this rubber square that squeaked. It was big, about 4 inches cubed so it was easy for her to hold on to. I'm thinking this will have to be a toy that we buy for her.
Meanwhile, Emma was still in speech, so she missed out on the big playgroup, but she had fun where she was. She might end up going to one-on-one therapy at the school, like they had originally wanted, but we'll see how she does next week.
Then we came home, only to have Jeff call & see if we were coming to the college to eat lunch with him. He had promised Emma she could do that. So off we went again. By the time lunch was over, it was time for Emma to go to preschool. I had anticipated that, and she didn't seem to might the fact that we'd been home less that an hour since 8am this morning. Sarah & I came home and you'd think we would be able to rest, but no. Now I have to sit around & wait for the satellite guy to come & install our DirecTv. All so Jeff can get his Sunday Ticket & watch every football game every week. Not that I might, I've been itching to see a 49ers game since last September. Even though they're not that great, hey, they're our team.
So, Sarah is asleep & I get to relax just a minute, until the satellite guy knocks on my door.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Four year olds & gum...

Not a good combination. Emma has had gum numerous times without incident. But, today we had the token "gum in the hair" moment. Fun fun. Good thing this didn't happen 15 minutes before we were due to leave for school, otherwise I might have screamed & cut her hair off. But, I was calm, relatively, and put peanut butter in her hair to try & get it out. Don't ask me where I got that tidbit of old wive's tale/homemade remedy. I think I vaguely remember hearing something about it helping with gum in the hair. To tell you the truth, I don't know if it really helped. Emma had fun with the idea that I put food in her hair to get food OUT of her hair. So, it took about 30 minutes, but I got 99% of it out. She then took a bath & her hair was fine. Chalk it up to one of those childhood moments. Thank goodness Sarah slept through the whole thing. If she'd been up & cranky, Emma might not have long hair anymore.
Speaking of Sarah, the poor little girl had to get 4 shots today. She had her 4 month check-up (yes, I know she's 5 months old now, we're a month behind) and that included shots. But she also got weighed & measured. She's 24 1/4 inches long & 13 lbs. 14 ounces. She was being such a good girl, not being fussy or anything. She was just looking up at me & smiling & then all of a sudden, BAM! Some evil woman in a white nurses outfit sticks her poor thighs with a needle. It actually took her until after the 2nd shot to realize what was happening to her. And then she just looked up at me, and her little face crumpled. I just had to laugh, it was so cute! But once I picked her up & soothed her, she stopped crying. I had to stay 20 minutes after the shots, to see if she had any immediate adverse reaction to them. I fed her & she fell asleep. Poor little thing.
Needless to say, by the time Emma went to preschool, I was beat.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Working for the weekend

It's been a busy week, and both Jeff & I are glad that the weekend is finally here. We can sleep in, well, ONE of us can, and we don't have to worry about work or school.
Emma started speech therapy again this week. She goes once a week, on Thursdays, from 9-11:30am. It's a group of kids, about 5 of them, that go all at once. That makes it a long day for her, because she's got preschool from 1-3:30pm that same day. But she didn't seem to mind it, and she didn't seem to be overly tired or cranky. The teacher, in fact, called us yesterday to ask if she had had any problems with the busy day. I tol her Emma kinda thrives on being busy. She loves school & pretty much just loves being around other kids, so having a lot of things to do don't really bother her too much.
We're going to a fall festival this afternoon. It's being put on by the preschool, so hopefully we should be able to meet some of the other families & maybe Emma will find a new friend!
I'm also looking into getting Emma in beginning ballet. It's not gymnastics, but maybe she'll enjoy it. My philosophy is, let the kids try out new & different things, and let them decide what they like & don't like. My dad & step-mom did that with my sister & brothers. They were in a LOT of sports & activities when they were Emma's age, and after a few years, they figured out which ones they wanted to focus on. I want to give Emma the same opportunity. She's got so much energy, that I know she'll love sports, especially soccer, but she's not old enough to do it just yet. She missed the cutoff date by 9 days, which is typical when your child has a December birthday. Jeff had to deal with the same thing when he was growing up.
Next Saturday is the Buddy Walk in Grand Rapids. It should be fun. I'm looking forward to meeting other parents who have children with Down syndrome. There's one other family in town, who has a little boy who's 10 1/2 months old. I haven't gotten in touch with them yet, but maybe this weekend.
Well, Sarah has officially discovered her feet. She's constantly grabbing at them & using them to move the toys that are hanging above her on her playgym. She's not to the point of putting she in her mouth yet, but I'm sure that'll be soon.
I'm putting some new pictures on the website today, so check 'em out!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Who needs sleep?

Little Sarah has become a night owl. Or, in the case of last night, a night HOWL. She decided, at midnight, that she was going to be up & about, regardless if Jeff & I wanted to sleep. She did the same thing the previous night, where I got about 3 1/2 hours of sleep. Last night, she woke up about 2:45am, after only being asleep for about an hour, screaming her head off. She wouldn't eat & she wouldn't be consoled for about 30 minutes. Even then it took me about another 30 minutes before she fell asleep again. Jeff thinks she must have had a nightmare. It definitely seems like that's what happened. So, again, I got about 3 1/2 hours of sleep. Coffee is the only reason I'm even still functioning. That and the lady who's coming to my house in about an hour. She's from the University of Michigan & is going to be conducting the study Sarah's involved in. I have to be conscious for her to be here.
Well we bought our tickets to Orlando, FL. Jeff's going there in a couple weeks for a conference and the girls & I are going to join him the last few days so we can go to DisneyWorld. It should be a fun trip. Jeff will fly out there on the 4th of October, with us meeting him there on the 7th, and then we'll all fly home together on the 9th. Short, but fun. Hopefully we'll be able to see our friends Jon & Jennifer while we're there.
Ok, this is written a few hours later:
The girls from the University of Michigan just left. They were here for about an hour, measuring Sarah, taking video of her movements & giving us toys & other paraphernalia to work with. Sarah's wearing an "Actiwatch" on her ankle & tummy that will measure her movements for the next 24 hours. I have to keep a log as to what she's doing during that time so they can accurately determine how much she's moving on her own. The toy is pretty cool. She can either lay on her tummy or back & reach for these stuffed animal looking things that make music. It also has a mirror on it, so Sarah should be getting to know her reflection pretty well. I was right, they had a "baby" treadmill. It was the cutest thing. She didn't really walk on it, but she moved her feet a little bit. They also took her height & weight. She's 23 3/4 in long & 13 lbs. 9 oz.
Emma isn't going to be able to do gymnastics this fall. Poo. I wasn't sent any information about it & by the time I called them to get her in, they were completely full in both the classes. Oh well, we're looking to get her into dance or soccer, so she can do something besides speech therapy & preschool.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Sarah Wilson-test subject

We got something in the mail the other day, inviting us to be a part of a research study with DS kids. It said that someone would com eout to our house & give us either a Kick & Play gym or a Tummy Time gym for Sarah to play with. We are to have her on it for a minimum specified amount of time per week and they would be coming back once a month for 4 months to see how she's. It's pretty cool! They also want to see how these toys affect Sarah's ability to walk (assisted) on a treadmill (I'm assuming they have a baby sized one & aren't using a full size one). So it should be interesting. Maybe we'll even be able to keep the toy!

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Homegrown goodness

While Emma was at preschool today, Sarah & I went to the Farmer's Market. It was nice to go around all the displays & see things that were grown within about a 20 mile radius of here. They had huge zucchini & tomatos, and lots of corn. They've had it every Thursday since the beginning of June, but this is the first time we've been able to go. Truth be told, this is the first time I've remembered to go. I had all these plans to go every week, but it never happened. Like going to the breastfeeding support group once a month, hasn't happened yet either. But now that school has started up again, & we're planning on having Emma do gymnastics, I'm sure there will be plenty of other things that I forget to go to.
Emma is starting Speech Therapy again. It's taken a year & a half to get her back into it. It's going to be in a playgroup setting, with a group of kids, and it's 2 1/2 hours long, ince a week. Thursday's look like they're going to be our busy day, because the speech is in the morning & then she has school for 2 1/2 hours in the afternoon. They had said that Emma wouldn't be able to go to the therapy outside her preschool, since they had a therapist go to the school twice a week. But I argued for her, saying I didn't want her to be taken out of school just for therapy. She loves it too much & I didn't think it was fair. So, they agreed with me.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

What was the point of that?

I drove all the way to Lansing, forcing Emma to miss school, all so we could be told things I already knew. You'd think that, since we had to make this appointment 4 months in advance, they'd have something new & interesting to tell me. All they did was give me information I already had & told me things that were obvious. I suppose it was nice to have a "expert" tell me that Sarah looks really good & doesn't have very many outward signs of Down syndrome, which I already knew. But they did set up a referral to have an EKG done on her, just to rule out any heart defects completely. They also set up a schedule to have other diagnostic tests done on her over the next year. Thyroid, vision, hearing, ect.
A word to the wise: young children & coffee tables don't mix. Jeff & Emma were rough-housing last night & Emma's nose came into abrupt contact with the side of the coffee table. She hit just below the bridge of her nose. We were freaking out, because I thought she had broken it. It was bleeding a little bit, not enough to get worried, but it started swelling up immediately. She has a little abrasion on it & it's going to be bruised, but I think she'll be ok. I don't see any signs of a black eye, but I'm sure it's coming. Poor kid. She was milking the attention though, got a big bowl of popcorn out of the ordeal.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Lansing, here we come

Today is Sarah's genetics counseling appointment at MSU. I'm not exacly sure what they're going to do at this appointment. Hopefully they'll be able to tell us what kind od Down syndrome Sarah has. We made this appointment back in May, so I don't know what to expect.
Poor Emma has to miss school in order for us to go to the appt. It's in Lansing, which is an hour away, and we need to leave here by 1:30pm. And since school is from 1-3:30pm, she can't go. I feel bad, but I think she'll get over it. Jeff can't go with us, since he has school, so I'm making this trek alone.
I started exercizing again today. Well, doing my Bodyflex tapes again, if that can be called exercize. I figure it's better than nothing & I need to lose some weight. It worked before, so I figure it can work again. I never seem to be able to do anything else. I'm also going to start walking with Sarah in the stroller while Emma's at school. I haven't done it so far, so we'll see.
I think we've changed our plans for going to Orlando, FL with Jeff next month. Because going to CA at Christmas is a little more important, we're going to instead probably visit our friends in Tennessee. They just had a baby, Justin, so it should be fun with 2 little ones. I wish we could see our friends in FL as well but sometimes things happen.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Yay for my techie husband!

We finally got our new hard drive on Monday & Jeff has spent the past two evenings, after a full day's work & school, getting our computer back up & running. We bought a program that automatically backs up the computer once a week if anything new has happened. So hopefully we won't have this problem again. We found out what the problem was, though. A faulty surge protector. Oh fun. Our video card also went kaput, so that's another thing we have to get. We have an older one that we're using now. I realize now why some people don't like computers & don't want to deal with them. They're expensive & are constantly needing to be tweeked, otherwise they throw a hissy fit & die on you, taking all of your digital pictures with it.
But the most important thing is now we have Final Fantasy XI back up & running. Yay! I played last night for the first time in almost a week & got myself killed 4 times in an hour. Two of them were my fault, two of them weren't. I wasn't happy.
Emma started school on Monday. She' s so excited! She loves it. In fact, she cried when her teacher told her it was time to go home the first day. They have playtime outside everyday the last half hour before school ends, and she about peed herself when she saw that they had swings. It was all she could talk about after Sarah & I picked her up that first day. And she keeps getting surprised every time I tell her that she goes to school everyday, rather than every other day. The only bad thing is they don't have a show & tell day for the kids, and Emma's upset about that. Things run a little differently at the school. They don't have a mandatory art time or a routine when it's time to go home, like they did at her other preschool. I especially think the routine they had, when they all lined up & sang the "goodbye" song helped Emma with her "transitional issues", where she has difficulty going from one thing to another without adequate time to adjust.
Jeff found out that he's on the Dean's list for the summer semesters! He got 3 A's and very high B+. I'm so proud of him! School started again for him on Monday & it looks like it's going to be a rough next couple of months. 13 units, including Pre-calc, so it should be fun! Looks like I'll be helping him with homework.

Saturday, August 28, 2004


I've been going through all our 8mm video tapes to figure out what's on them all so we can transfer them to DVD. I realize that I am a spastic video camera user. Of the 9 or so tapes that we have, only about 1-2 of them go from beginning to end in line with real time. Meaning, that the content goes from one month to another, with the calendar. On the other 6 or so, there will be some from December 2000 & then it will jump to March of 2002, and then go back to September of 2001 or something. I've probably taped over some memorable moments in our family history with this haphazard way of taping but hopefully we'll be able to keep this from happening again now that we're able to record everything over to DVD.
I know this probably sounds biased, but Emma was the cutest little toddler. I'm watching all of these tapes & seeing her that young again is making me so nostalgic. It was so funny back when she couldn't talk & she had lots of blonde hair with little curls! And I feel much better about myself because I see now that I DID get a lot of Emma's firsts on tape. Most of the time I think I missed everything & was feeling like a bad mother (like I do now with Sarah, cause I haven't been taping anything of her yet). But that was the whole point of me getting all these tapes out & trying to get all the content off the 8mm & onto DVD. It's going to take awhile though, because I have to go through all the tapes & record everything in order. So maybe by Christmas I'll have everything finished.
On top of the video tapes to record, I also have to start painting Sarah's crib & put that together. She's getting almost too big for her bassinette. Emma slept in it until she was 5 1/2 months old, but we didn't have a crib for her until then. But with Sarah still waking up sometimes 2 times a night (yay) I don't relish the idea of having to go upstairs to feed her at 4am. I'm hoping she's just going through a growth spurt & it will end soon. I'm also going to feed her some rice cereal once a day, mostly before bedtime so maybe that will help.

Technology sucks

Ok, I'm writing this on Jeff's laptop that is hooked up to our big monitor. Our wonderful computer broke this week. Well only the hard drive, but it still means we have no computer. We're waiting on a new hard drive that's supposed to be delivered on Monday. Grrr. This is the second time this has happened this year. We, again, lost all of our digital pictures that we've taken. So the only ones we have left are the ones that we've posted on the website. But there are a lot of them on there, so I'm only minorly upset. It was nobody's fault, for some reason the hard drive just broke. It's a pain in the behind, but it's not the end of the world.
Emma starts preschool on Monday. She's so excited! We went to an open house on Thursday & she didn't want to leave. She was having too much fun playing with all the toys & meeting new friends. She has her own little cubby to put her stuff in & it has her picture on it. This was the first time that Jeff had seen the school & he was quite impressed. They have microphones hanging from the ceiling to record what's going on for the students who are being student teachers. They also have one way mirrors on one side of the room, where other students (and parents are welcome, too) can sit & observe the kids. It seemed kinda "big brotherish" to me at first, but I figure it's easier to observe the kids behaving naturally when they don't know they're being watched. And for a certain class you need to take to get your teaching credential, you have to observe so many hours so this was probably the easiest way to get it all on tape. Plus, parents are allowed to come in & sit back there to view what's going on, as well. I think I'm going to take advantage of that maybe once a month, just to see how Emma's doing. I know with her last preschool, they didn't really let me know if Emma was struggling with anything, either socially or anything. But with this school, they have parent-teacher conferences at the end of each semester, and they also encourage parents to come & observe their children. Because we all know how kids act differently when they're away from their parents. And I want to make sure that Emma knows that I know what's going on, even if she doesn't know HOW I know.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Tasty treats

Sarah had her first taste of solid food last night. Seeing as how she's 4 months old now, I figured it would be a good time to introduce her to rice cereal. Emma hated it when she was Sarah's age. But, in her defence, by the time Emma was 4 months old, she was almost off breast milk & had practically weened herself. And I, being an inexperienced mother, didn't mix the rice cereal with formula. Instead I did it with plain old water & Emma was less than thrilled.
But with Sarah, she's still nursing, so the rice cereal was mixed with breast milk. We gave her a bath to get her calm & then tried out the cereal. Jeff held her while I fed her. The first taste was very tentative. She was feeling it out, licking her lips & then got all excited, wanting more. She was so cute! She was making all these grunty, hungry noises, like she just couldn't get enough. The way you mix it for the first time, it's practically liquid, with the ratio of cereal to milk about 1:4, but Sarah just had a ball. She would open her little mouth when she saw the spoon & followed it with her eyes when she wasn't being fed. She wanted to keep that spoon in her sights to make sure it wasn't leaving.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

New tricks

Hello everyone! I'm sorry I haven't posted in awhile, but my in-laws have been in town & I haven't had a chance to write anything. Sarah's been doing some new tricks. She can roll over from back to front now & she started laughing. We were putting her feet up against her cheeks last night & making funny noises & she started laughing out loud. It was too cute! She's definitely starting to smile more often & is happy that she can now switch positions if we put her down in a way she doesn't like.
We're going to Michigan Adventure tomorrow. It's an amusement park that's owned by the same people who own Knott's Berry Farm, so everything has a "Peants" theme to it. Emma's very excited. It also has a water park there that we can get into as well, it's all included in the price of one ticket. So we're taking our bathing suits, well Emma's, so she can have some water fun.
The only bad thing is, we're all starting to get sick. I started having a sore throat last night & today I feel icky. But that's not going to stop me from enjoying myself tomorrow.
I posted some new pictures up on the website from this last week. There are a few more with Sarah smiling & some of Emma sliding through the kitchen on her bean bag chair. It's her new sport.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Why some women don't breastfeed

I know now why some women decide that breastfeeding isn't for them, at least for very long. I think I forgot this since I was nursing Emma, but babies BITE. And it hurts, very bad. Even without teeth, those little gums can clamp down with the force of a vice. And Sarah is so good about doing it so very sneakily. She'll be nice & sweet and then all of a sudden she's Dracula looking for her next blood fix. I keep having to remind the 3 1/2 month old that my boobs are not a teething ring. Kids with Down syndrome don't tend to get teeth this early, but they can show the signs this early. I'm not looking forward to another 9 months of Sarah using her gums like a meat grinder while she's nursing. I think an actual tooth would be preferable. At least then I'll be able to see what's causing me so much pain.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Throwing out the trash

Jeff & I have been going through our file "cabinet" and throwing out all the old, outdated stuff that we have no use for. For example, bill stubs from 4 years ago, user manuals to items we no longer own, and bank statements for accounts that were closed long ago. We're keeping only the current things, and of course, all our tax documents & medical stuff. I have to say, we threw out a lot of paperwork. It feels somewhat liberating to be rid of all that stuff. Now, it might have helped to do all this before we moved, so Jeff didn't have to pack it, but that's a moot point at this juncture. Now all of our paperwork, aside from medical stuff, user manuals & tax documents, can fit into one small accordian type file. And with room to spare.
Liz & Dave are coming in 2 days & Emma is very excited. Even though she just saw all of our family less than a month ago, she always gets happy when people come to visit us. Most of the time because they bring presents. She is one spoiled kid.
My sister-in-law Melissa is getting married on the 21st of this month. We're all very excited & happy for her. She is marrying a very nice guy named Mark. We wish we could be there, but with Jeff's work, school, & the expense of flying out there with 2 kids, we just can't. But we wish her & Mark the best and we'll be there in spirit.
Speaking of school, Emma starts her new preschool/Kindergarden readiness in about 3 weeks. We have a home visit scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. I'm not sure what that's going to involve. Hopefully it isn't just an excuse to have someone come into our house to evaluate whether or not we're abusing our child, which the term "home visit" kinda make you envision. Emma's already excited about school so I don't think we'll have any problems convincing her to go. Every morning she has her little Disney Princess backpack ready to go & is crushed every time we tell her it's not quite time to go. I feel bad that she doesn't really have any sense of time, when it comes to future events. She still thinks everything happens in the now, and that future events will happen any second. Terms like "in a few hours" or "next week" really have no meaning to her other than they aren't happening right this very second & she doesn't like that.
I'm thinking Sarah is going through a growth spurt. She is sleeping all the time & eating constantly & very cranky. The crankiness is normally reserved for the car (she's the only baby I know that hates being in the car) but lately it's been popping up everywhere. She HAD been sleeping through the night, from about 9pm to about 8am, but the past few nights she's been waking up 2-3 times a night. I'm hoping this isn't a trend & that it will end quickly, but I suppose you can't rush the growth process. It'll end when this spurt is over. She's already pretty much grown out of her 0-3 month clothes, with the exception of a few things that are larger than normal. And dresses, since they aren't as binding as onesies & sleepers. She's just growing up so quickly! She's smiling all the time now, and she's almost rolling over from back to front. Jeff was holding her last night on the couch & I wanted to take some pictures. So I grabbed the camera & was standing in front of them, taking pictures. I would move from side to side to get a better angle & Sarah was just staring at me the whole time. She would follow me with her eyes as I was moving. She wouldn't even look at Jeff unless I was out of her field of vision. It was so neat! Not for Jeff, cause she wouldn't look at him, but cool for me. She really knows me! But she still loves to smile the most for Jeff. Every evening when he comes home, she always gets really vocal & smiles for him. And she makes the funniest faces at Emma. She loves it when Emma comes up & kisses her or plays with her. Emma really loves her little sister. Her "jealous" stage is coming to a close, I think. She still wants attention most of the time, but is a little more forgiving now that Sarah is a little older. Sarah can interact a little more with her now, which makes it more enjoyable for Emma. Both Jeff & I are trying to make sure Emma gets one-on-one time with us but it is hard when Sarah is still so needy. But Emma is being very understandable.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Privacy at last

We finally got our roller shades from JCPenney yesterday. I ordered them almost 2 weeks ago. None of our windows had shades on them, we've been having to tack blankets up in order to not flash people outside. Talk about ghetto. I got them all put up yesterday even before Jeff came home. I felt pretty proud of myself. It was relatively easy. Emma likes to open them, she likes how they snap up.
Sarah is getting so big! She's almost rolling over from back to front. SHe just has the issue of her arm getting in the way. She ends up tilted sideways with her arm underneath her tummy, trying to move it & gets very frustrated. She's also getting really strong in her front neck muscles. I was looking towards the back of the van this morning & I noticed that she was lifting her head up while she was in her carseat. I think that's the first time she's done that without someone holding onto her hands for support. She's also getting more vocal, & I think she even blew a raspberry at me this morning. For the past 2 nights, she's slept between 10-12 hours straight, with no waking up. It freaked me out yesterday morning because I woke up & realized that she hadn't & rushed over to see if she was still alive! She was fine, but I guess she's sleeping completely through the night now! That's nice, but I'm sure we'll have nights when she doesn't. I think maybe it's coming to the time when she will be sleeping in her own room. I still have to paint the crib. Maybe I can do some of that when Dave & Liz are here next week. Oh, and we have to buy a new crib mattress. I think that first night, when she's upstairs in her crib & not right next to us in her bassinette, I won't sleep very well. I know when Emma slept in her own room for the first time, I didn't sleep very well. Even though I had a monitor on & I could hear everything going on, it was still hard for me. And Emma was older, almost 5 1/2 months. Of course, she was also still sleeping in the bassinette because we didn't have the crib yet. I guess it was a good thing that Emma was kinda small when she was a baby. Otherwise she wouldn't have lasted that long in the bassinette. Sarah's still pretty small, too but I don't want to assume that she'll be small forever.

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Can you have a pimped out family car?

I'm thinking you can, because that's what our van is turning into. A couple days after we bought it, we had Sirius satellite radio put in it. One more remote control for the car (the DVD player already has one). And now Jeff has discovered that he can hook up the Playstation to the DVD screen & play video games. Oh my gosh. This is going to be one long drive back to CA in December because Jeff will be in the backseat, watching movies & playing video games. I will be driving the whole way.
All of these upgrades, of course, are making our van the coolest way to be driven around campus. Jeff says the students he works with fight over who gets to sit in the backseat & watch a DVD with the wireless headphones that came with the car. What's kinda sad is the movie that's in there right now is "Finding Nemo". If they found out they could play video games in there, they'd never get out.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Plans change

Especially when they involve my husband. I love him to death, but sometimes he gets on tangents and won't stop until someone's head is on a pike. But, I will give him credit, this time his tirade worked out.
We had put a deposit on the white Honda Odyssey over a week ago. We had been told that it would be delivered by the end of last week. Well that came & went. We actually went down to the dealer on Saturday & they told us that it would be delivered, for sure, the next day, and they would call us on Monday to come pick it up. Well by around noon yesterday no one had called, so we started calling them. The salesman we had dealt with in the beginning didn't answer the pages to come to the phone, nor did he call me back when I left him a message (to his defense, he apparently had gotten his stereo in his car stolen & had been dealing with that all morning). So we ended up calling the finance guy, even though we already had a check to give them and weren't in need of any financing. He told me that the car wasn't delivered the previous day & would get back to me. Jeff had finally had enough & called them to ask them how we could get out of the deal, because he was tired of all the lies & broken promises, and we were going somewhere else. Now, mind you, the people there had told us repeatedly that there were NO Odyssey EX's with the DVD player ON THE LOT at any dealership in the state of Michigan. Nor were any dealership expecting them, because Honda wasn't making the 2004 model anymore. Only "premium" dealerships were going to get the last few & of course, THEY were one of them. And I, being the kind of person I am, believed them. Jeff, being the kind of person he is, didn't. We called 2 other dealerships in MI, one in Grand Rapids, about 90 miles away, and one is Okemos, about 70 miles away. Jeff had told the first dealership that if the other ones didn't have anything, that we would wait for theirs to be delivered. The one in Grand Rapids had one that had just been delivered on Friday, and it was the light blue, called Havasu Blue. We were cool with that, because it was better than the white. Jeff rambled off the numbers that the other dealership had aggreed upon and asked them if they could meet or beat that. They said yes, so we were off to Grand Rapids. Once we got there, and examined the van to make sure it had everything we wanted, we said ok let's do it & Jeff called the first dealership to let them know that the deal was off. They were less than thrilled to say the least. So, we got our van, in Havasu blue. It's pretty cool, and Emma loves the DVD. She had even brought a movie with her to watch on the way home. I am definitely learning that a van handles a lot different than a Civic, though. But we're really happy with it. Now all I have to do is go & get our money back from the first dealership. They had cashed our check, even though the car hadn't come in yet. So now we get to go get a check from them, and mail it to Wells Fargo and wait a week for that to process. Not fun.
On another note, Emma found out that we have a spray nozzle on our kitchen sink. She decided to hand wash my coffee cup this morning (she loves to wash dishes), and I showed her how to use the spray nozzle. Her eyes got really big & she went "Oooooohhhhh". It's very cool to her.
So now we have our new van with the nifty dual sliding doors that can be opened & closed via a remote. It's nice not to have to stoop over to put Sarah into the car. And now that Emma can fasten her own seatbelt, I feel a little more free when it comes time to put the kids in the car.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Dude, where's my car?

We were pretty excited about this weekend because we were anticipating going to go pick up our brand new, barely off the truck, has approximately 1 mile on it, van. We got approved through Navy Federal Credit Union for a new car loan, at a really good interest rate, WITHOUT needing a co-signer, which is a first for us. We didn't have to deal with the dealership ruining our credit by going all over town, trying to get a loan for us. Jeff had haggled for a decent price on the van (the dealership's only getting $200 over invoice), and we were getting a pretty good trade-in value for our Civic. We were on top of the world. Then the other shoe dropped - our van wasn't going to be delivered on time. It was scheduled to be there by Friday, it was on the delivery invoice & everything, but something happened that prevented it from getting there. We were so bummed. We even thought that maybe the dealership was just yanking our chain for some reason & our car was actually already there. Maybe they were upset at the fact that they hadn't taken us for a ride on the price of the car & weren't getting much out of us, so they decided to hold our car for ransom until next week. But that seemed silly (but we took a ride down there today, for an unrelated reason, & checked it out anyway). So, here we are, van-less. Emma was upset, not because of the van itself, but because of the DVD player. Everywhere we went, she asked about the "car with the TV in it". Something tells me we're not going to be able to go to the grocery store without watching 5 minutes of a movie on the way there. I know we're just whining about the van not being here when we thought it was going to be. Our Civic isn't on it's last legs, we aren't without reliable transportation. But gosh darnit, we want our nifty van. You know the feeling when you're looking forward to something new, that whatever you have at the present time just starts to seem less than what it is? Our Civic is in good condition, it runs great, it looks good. But when we've got that new van in our minds, and we know how it looks, it just seems better than what we have, and we want it now. We're spoiled people, I will admit. We remind me of this woman on this new Fox show called "Trading Spouses". The concept seemed really bad to me when I first heard of it, but I watched most of it anyway. The two women who traded places for about a week, were one completely spoiled rich housewife, who has 2 kids, and a mother-in-law who lives with them, who does all the cleaning & cooking. She had a gorgeous huge house, with a closet the size of my bedroom and it seemed she didn't really spend all that much time with her children. The other woman was a married working mom of 3 kids, and their family was definitely "working class". They traded places & the first thing that set me off about this rich woman, was that she thought the husband of the other woman, who had come to pick her up, was a member of the crew of the show. I'm wondering if it had to do with the fact that the husband was black, and she was white. He was dressed very casually, and maybe, to her, that was a clue that he couldn't possibly be the person she was supposed to meet. She seemed less than impressed with the family's house, and she seemed to be very put off by the fact that the family drank instant coffee, and wouldn't even drink it. She didn't seem to want to help with dishes or cleaning. And she wanted the husband, and in fact TOLD him, to go pick up something for lunch because she wasn't "in the mood to make lunch". She just seemed very uncooperative. The other woman, on the other hand, was helping out at the rich woman's house, playing with her kids, bonding with her mother-in-law and generally being a good sport about everything. I'm sure it had a little to do with the environment she was in. It was definitely more luxurious than her own house, but I know it had a LOT to do with her character. She was appreciative of everything she had & didn't take it for granted. The other woman just seemed really spoiled & selfish. She even said something to the effect of,"Maybe I should spend this kind of quality time with MY kids." It just made me very upset, but I suppose, when you're used to one type of situation, whether it's financial or otherwise, anything else is very foreign, especially if it's something lower than you're used to. I know my life is a lot better than other people's. I don't need to boil water before I drink it, I know where my next meal is coming from, and I have a roof over my head & a soft bed to sleep in. My children aren't begging on the street or dying from some disease that is preventable. There are people in this world who that is a reality for, but I am not one of them. So, I realize that my whining about not getting our new van is just that, whining.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Hurray for handymen

We finally got our garage door opener & towel/toilet paper bars installed yesterday. I might have to ask to put another towel bar up, though, because the one's our landlord bought are really short in length. About 1 1/2 towels are all that will fit on them. That might work for the girls' bathroom that they share, but not for Jeff & I, since I alone use 2 towels when I take a shower.
It's very nice to be able to drive into the garage without physically having to get out of the car, & opening up the door manually. A lot easier. I feel better now about driving Jeff to work in the morning in my pj's and not having to go outside to get into the car. I know that's lazy, but right now, I cherish sleep over fashion, and it's much easier to just get up & go rather than getting fully dressed just to drive him 3 miles away & come right back.
We had a freaky sudden rain storm yesterday. I hadn't seen it coming & left one of the windows down in the car. When it started pouring, I realized that the inside of the car was going to get soaked, and ran outside really quick to shut the window. I was out in the rain maybe a total of 10 seconds, but by the time I got back into the house, I was drenched. These Midwestern storms are no joke. And the humidity after it ended was bad, like walking into a sauna every time we went outside. But there was a gorgeous rainbow so I guess that made up for it.
I finished Sarah's room yesterday. Well "finished" is a loaded word. I guess the correct thing for me to say should be that you can now walk into her room & not trip over anything. If it were truly finished, her crib would be painted & set up, and she'd be sleeping in there. But alas, that is not the case. She's still sleeping in the basinette in our room. She's still waking up once during the night (it usually ranges from 4-7 am) and I don't feel like walking upstairs to go get her. I'm starting to think the idea of keeping both girls on the same floor (that's different from the one we're on) was not such a good thing, but it's too late to change it now. Plus, I know Jeff loves having his office down here, rather than upstairs. So, we'll deal with whatever has to happen once Sarah gets into her own room.
So now I just need to get the rest of the house straightened up. It's coming along nicely, I think. Everything's pretty much out of boxes & bags, it's just put in piles somewhere else until I can figure out where everything goes. We also need storage, because that's something this house lacks. No linen closets. We have a "closet" that could be used for linens & other things, but we have no shelves to put things on. So that's on our long list of stuff we need. Or should I say "want" cause we could live without some of the things on the list, but life would be a lot easier with them.