Saturday, December 05, 2009

Mixed blessing

Yesterday I heard Owen speak on the phone better than ever before. His voice was clear, he was speaking into the phone, and he knew who he was talking to on the other end (me). He said,

Daddy coming home see Owen [lastname]?

(Ow) No, son. (Ow) No, I have to stay at work a while longer. (Sigh)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Baby Katherine = the Bus from the Movie Speed

Remember the Keanu Reeves/Sandra Bullock movie 'Speed'? It had the bus that would explode if it went < 50 mph? We've discovered that Katherine is much like the bus and is only happy in the car at highway speeds. Stoplights are her nemesis and lead to squawking and crying. Once we're moving again, she relaxes and dozes off again.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mr Fantastic

Owen's speech has developed enough that he can stroll in the realm between the surreal and the certifiable. For instance, this evening, holding a six-foot length of rope and looking at the sky, he announced, "Use rope to get that moon down. Need ladder."

Two observations as I blogged this:
1) Recognizing that he'd need a ladder if he was going to use his rope to pull down the moon isn't really surreal or certifiable, but actually sensible.
2) Owen's speech bears an uncanny resemblance to old text adventure games on the computer.

> Get moon down
Get moon down using what?
> Use rope to get moon down
The moon is too high for you to get.
> Need ladder
The shop on Archer Street sells ladders.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fire Marshal Owen

Owen is borderline obsessed with smoke alarms. From time to time around the house, he will announce, "Smoke alarm beepin'." (It isn't.) For a while, he would stare at the smoke alarm in his room, but he seems to have gotten over that, which is good for his sleeping. His newest thing is to point out smoke alarms in his books, sort of. He has two different books in which he will definitively point at a blank section of wall in a picture and declare, "Smoke alarm." I can only conclude that he is pointing out where the smoke alarm ought to be. He's deliberate about it; not just any blank wall will do. He'll say, "Wanna talk about smoke alarm," then flip through the book until he finds the right picture of blank wall.

I guess I'm glad he's into smoke alarms as opposed to, say, fire. And the whole thing is cuted a bit by his reluctance to pronounce initial "s" sounds. So he really says, "Wanna talk about moke alarm."

1 + 1 > 2

I have all these great ideas for blog entries, which I then promptly forget to post.

1 toddler + 1 baby > 2 kids, or so it seem, particularly in the morning and at dinner time.

The unpredictability of the morning makes it hard to get out of the house on time. Captain Entropy (Owen) may wake up at 7, or may wake up at 5, which requires a different level of entertainment and supervision. Katherine may wake up at 5 with Owen, demanding to be fed, and then be unable to sleep when Owen is banging around and talking really loudly. Or, maybe she'll go back to sleep. Add in pumping, packing all my gear, and I leave the house with no less than 2 bags + backpack (computer, pump, work papers (1-5 inches thick depending on the day), pump gear, soap and insulated bag for milk storage, lunch, white coat, possibly umbrella and real coat). I need my own personal sherpa to get to work. Fortunately, the return to work has been relatively low key, so I've gotten to try a few methods for getting out of the house on time.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Incentive to shave

Katherine's preferred way to be held, by me at least, is over the shoulder. She sees where I've been and burps, and I get the wonderful feeling of her little head bouncing against my cheek. But if I haven't shaved, my stubble leaves a red, irritated circle on her forehead. It doesn't seem to bother her, but she's too young to be needing to exfoliate.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


For at least a month - and really I think it's been at least two - Owen has wanted to hear "Yankee Doodle Dandy" sung to him at bedtime. Did you know that there are five verses to "Yankee Doodle Dandy"? There are when I sing it. (And he's quite particular that I be crouching, not standing, beside his bed when I do so.)

At some point during Yankee Doodle Days, he decided that he wants to hear "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", too. I think he picked up that one from Kerry, who perhaps thought that a militaristic, womanizing march was not a suitable lullaby. (She should hear the songs I used to sing to him.) Only three verses to "Twinkle Twinkle".

Monday, November 02, 2009


Smiles from tiny babies (eg, your almost three-month-old daughter) are fantastic. I'd remembered that they were an important counterweight to infant screaming, but I'd forgotten how truly awesome they are.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Milestone - Sort of

So BabyK has had her first clothes-wrecking, room-clearing, laundry-stat, poo blowout. Lucky for Travis, she did this while he was at work!

Travis was the witness (and cleaner) of Owen's worst blowout when he was tiny and nursing. I was on call that night and on the phone with the emergency room, when I heard the bathtub running. I found Owen and Travis in the bathtub. Owen with a huge baby smile on his face. And Travis holding a onesie that had been befouled to the shoulders. I think we might have just thrown it away. It becomes a challenge to get the clothing off the baby when things are that much of a mess.

One of my friends from work solved the super-messy baby clothes removal problem by cutting them off using trauma shears. These are blunt-ended scissors used in emergency rooms to cut off clothing when needed. Also apparently very useful for removing a poo covered onesie.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Eating > Sleeping

BabyK's favorite pastime is eating. Right now that means she's nursing 12 times a day, which ends up being a full time job (30-45 minutes per session). Whew. Last night, her preferred eating schedule was 11 pm, and then 1, 3, 5, and 7 am. Whew. Now she's sleeping again. No doubt to digest the gallon of milk she's eaten in the last 8 hours.

She's visibly bigger - definite cheeks, jowls, and a tiny double chin. Arms are thicker and her thighs are starting to thicken up. She's also getting the baby potbelly that hangs over the sides of her diaper. She doesn't yet have the forehead fat that Owen had, but I figure this comes later.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Who are you, and what have you done with my son?

It's almost quarter of eight, and Owen is just now stirring from bed. There were a couple of squeals just after 0700, but other than that, silence.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tuesdays = Power Outage

Fro 2 Tuesdays in a row, our power has gone out. It starts in the afternoon, basically the hottest part of the day. Last week, it was out for 5+ hours, which was great with a newborn and sick toddler. The house got kinda hot. This Tuesday, it was only out for 2 1/2 hours before it got fixed, so things didn't get as warm at home. Clearly, the higher electricity rates BGE has been charging aren't because they're upgrading the delivery system!

This Tuesday, we dined out as a family, since there wasn't any power to cook with. BabyKat visited her first restaurant and slept peacefully throughout most of the meal. What restaurant? Taco Bell! This was also Owen's first trip to a restaurant when he was a baby, which occurred for exactly the same reason (no power, too hot to stay home).

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Great Baby Shower Idea

Emily and Christy threw a great baby shower just before Katherine arrived for Gen and I. It was a diaper shower, probably the most useful type of shower around, particularly for 2nd babies. There was great food, some cute games, and we each ended up with a big basket and multiple packs of diapers and wipes. Grand total for dipaers and wipes from generous friends - 494 diapers and 240 wipes! We've already made a dent in the little ones due to the fact that babyKate eats 12 times a day!

Note to PapaB

All things in a white tube aren't toothpaste. Particularly in a home with 2 kiddoes in diapers. While Dad was visiting this last weekend, he accidentally brushed his teeth with A&D Diaper Cream. I think he realized that it wasn't toothpaste pretty quickly, but eewww...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

1 Week Plus a Little

How much changes in a week? BabyKat has cheeks that are starting to fill in and she's getting a tiny double chin. No doubt because she eats 10-12 times a day. Her umbilical stump is getting ready to fall off. And her Wolverine-style mutton chops have fallen out, as has some of the hair that connected her eyebrows to her hairline. And she has less back fuzz. Now she has the invisible eyebrows that Owen had for months, which makes me wonder if her dark hair will fall out too, leaving her bald for a bit, and then she'll get blonde hair like Owen. And Travis (ok, not Travis recently, but Travis when he was little). She still has her skinny newborn legs and arms, but I figure the baby pudge will spread from her head downward.

Friday, August 14, 2009

What was Different this Time Around

So what was different this time around about labor and delivery?

With Owen, I got induced after being 8 days late. I was only in labor for 10 hours and pushed 1 1/2 hours. He had some meconium and got pulled out with the the vacuum-extractor. He spent some time getting extra suctioning and examination by the pediatric team before we got to hang out. In the end, everything was fine, but there were > 10 people in the delivery room with us between the OB and pediatrics teams.

Katherine arrived much, much faster. She arrived 8 days early and I delivered about 20 minutes after we got to the hospital. Fortunately, Travis was working at home that day, or he might have missed it. The contractions started off slowly, but then seemed to speed up much faster than I expected. I was a bit worried that I'd end up delivering in the lobby of the hospital, which would be a less than glamorous, plus I might see coworkers. It never occurred to me that labor could go that fast! So total labor time was about 2 1/2 hours and pushing was less than 2 minutes. The OB told me there was no time for an epidural, so I actually had 'natural childbirth'. People aren't kidding when they say it hurts. However, it didn't last very long, so I think my experience was alot easier than people who labor without medication for 20+ hours. This time, it was the OB, a resident (who stood to the side and watched) and a few OB nurses, me and Travis, so much less of a crowd in the room. Apparently, babyKat was ready to be born and meet us. We got to hang out immediately after her birth and she spent alot of time looking around and wiggling, which was great.

Afterward I felt much less like I'd been run over by a bus, which was a nice change from giving birth to O. We were also much smarter this time about letting littleK go to the nursery at night for a few hours so we could sleep a bit, so I left the hospital less tired.

So, the moral of the story? If we have a 3rd baby ever, we need to live next door the the same hospital where I'm working, and Travis will need to work from home for at least a few weeks prior to the due date.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

How to Make the Arrival of D2 as Hard as Possible for Owen

Or, as Travis likes to call it, Single-Parenting-in-Tandem.

Owen celebrated the arrival of Katherine by getting a fever to 102. So he made his 3rd trip to the pediatrician in 1.5 weeks and no specific cause was found. He got labeled with 'bug of the week', not clearly flu, definitely not the ears or throat, and seemingly viral. Instructions? Keep he and the baby in different rooms and wash hands frequently. Frequent, borderline-obsessive handwashing? Check. I am a gastroenterologist after all. Keeping the baby and O in separate rooms? Extremely challenging, since she's the most interesting thing in the world to him right now.

He calls her 'Baby Kafrim' or 'Baby Kathu' and spends alot of time describing what she does in his O-style play-by-play speech. 'Baby Kafrim eating', 'Baby Kafrim sleeping', 'Baby Kafrim crying' sums up much of our day. Sometimes he gets extra descriptive and says 'Baby Kafrim eat mommy milk from mommy booby'. All these observations are being made from a distance by O, since we're trying to keep him semi-quarantined. This means that Travis wrangles Owen for the day while I wrangle babyKat (since I'm the only one who can feed her), my Mom helps with whatever she can, and essentially we single parent in tandem for the day.

So the recipe for upsetting an otherwise normal, mellow 2 year old?
1. Bring home a baby
2. Tell him he can't play with the baby
3. Tell him Mommy is busy with the baby and he can't play with him either
4. Add a temp of 102
5. Favorite nanny has the week off
6. Then add croup at night keeping him from sleeping.

Oh, and our power went out for 6 hours earlier this week. I can't believe how hot our house got. Not the best with the febrile todder and 5 day old baby. Thank goodness it got fixed.

Hopefully O will complete his 24 hours of no fever soon so he can start hanging out with BabyKat and I more.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Don't try to be no hero

Bill Brown was one of our jazz band directors in high school. He was also a former professional football player and coach for weight training. In the weight room*, he had several colorful expressions, including "Don't try to be no hero."

I though of Mr Brown's words last Saturday, as I sat on the floor of Owen's room, covered in Owen's vomit. (OK, "covered" is an exaggeration. His first shot only coated my left arm and thigh, and the second was really scattered over my right chest, arm and forehead.) Owen had woken from his nap, crying very hard. From previous episodes we knew that heavy crying could lead to puking. But I wasn't going to scoop him up and race to the bathroom. No, I was going to sit there with him, comfort him and let him know that everything was all right. And so it was, as long as one's definition of "all right" includes an immediate bath and the lingering smells of bile and Resolve-brand carpet cleaner.

So it turns out that Mr Brown may have been trying to tell us about more than lifting weights. Another of his favorite weight room expressions was, "What are you gonna do when some big dog is chasin' you?" Now I'm a little nervous to learn what that might be all about.

* I know, I took weight training. Please keep the jokes to yourself.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Katherine Sarah

Katherine Sarah was born 5 August at 7:58am. She weighed 6lb, 8oz and was 19 inches long. She came eight days before her official due date, and the whole affair was very quick. Labor lasted two-and-a-half hours, with delivery coming less than 30 minutes after we got to the hospital.

Katherine and Mom are both doing well, currently trying to get some early morning naps.

Mimi (Kerry's mom) arrived yesterday. She and Carla are hanging out with Owen. We're told that all day yesterday, when he heard a car in the driveway, he'd run to the window and say, "Baby sister coming home?"

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

International Traveler

Nope, not me. And as it turns out, not Travis. About a month before O was born, he went to Turkey. This time, his glamorous destination was Armitage, Louisiana. There were 3 buildings, one was abandoned. Total trip time 19 hours. As it turns out, it takes almost as long to get to Shreveport as it does to London.

It's Corn Season

How do I know this?

Because I've seen corn inside the large intestine during 3/4 of the colonoscopies I've done in the last few weeks. It really doesn't digest well.

Just one more reason gastroenterology is fun!

38. Big. And Hungry.

I'm officially big. Tomorrow I'm 38 weeks, so any time in the next few weeks D2 could decide to make an arrival. I'm also end-of-pregnancy hungry, which means basically hungry all the time. I get full quickly because there's so much baby smashing all my organs, but then am hungry again an hour later. OK, time for some Trader Joe's Ultimate Chocolate Ice Cream.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Owen Meets his First Bully

Owen met his first bully at the park yesterday. We were at the best park around, a HoCo park with a huge new playset. There are always alot of kiddoes there and he loves it.

One little dude came over to play with him (or so we thought). The tot was about the same size as O, so probably the same age. The other boy gave Owen hug, and grabbed his arm, and Owen began to look freaked out and cry. Seemed weird and we realized it wasn't the hugging, but the 'pinchers of steel' move the other little guy was doing to Owen's arm. Separating the 2 showed that O got the worst end of the deal, with a collection of finger sized bruises and one cut. The tiny offender got removed by his Mom with a 'no pinching' discussion. Owen returned to playing after a few more tears, some reassurance, and a drink of water, but wanted to play close to Dad for much of the rest of the stay.

There's a first time for everything and this was Owen's first run-in with a pincher/biter/hitter, although I expect it won't be the last one. His other little friends are pretty mild-mannered. It'll give Travis and I plenty of opportunities to hone our skills discussing with O why kids pinch and what to do.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


So far, there hasn't been as much nesting with this pregnancy. With Owen, I was all about the rearranging and sorting, throwing things out, and buying sensible things, like new tupperware. Nothing really aggressive, like painting in the middle of the night, but low key organizational stuff.

I think this time around, I've just been too busy to nest. Between O and work, my free time is spent sleeping and eating.

Nesting really kicked in at 6:40 this morning. It started a touch last night at 9 when Travis and I reorganized all Owen's toys in the living room. But this morning it started in earnest.

So far:
1. I packed for the hospital (which all but guarantees I'll be overdue)
2. Took all the non-baby linens out of the D2's room (including pillow mountain, which now resides in our living room for the moment)
3. Pulled out all the baby clothes to sort and find the little ones
4. Got the car seats, baby bathtub, bouncy chair, and other gear out of the baby's room and put closer to where they belong.

Still to come - more clothes sorting, taking non-baby decorative items out of the nursery, and then whatever stikes my fancy (like tupperware purchasing? Reorganizing the cabinets?) Part of me wants the entire house painted, but this doesn't really seem like the best project to start at 37 weeks.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sleeping. Whew.

Hopefully I don't jinx us by typing this, but Owen is getting back to normal sleeping.

It turned out to be a combination of changes that have helped. We moved bedtime back to 7:30 from 8. We tried a few different things to keep him in his room, and ended up reversing his doorknob, so we can lock him in from outside (and we've hidden the lockpick above to door in his room, for when he accidentally locks in our nanny, or one of us). And we bought him a little kid bed with guardrail from Ikea, which he loves. He has his first real pillow (something called a 'crib pillow' from Ikea, not that anyone would ever put a pillow in a crib with a baby), and sheets and a really thin duvet. There's still plenty of room for Elmo, Frog, Lamb, Blankie, Brownie, and Sheepie, as well as his music player Dr. T. So he's back to going to bed easily and waking up at 6-ish, instead of 4-ish.

So things are much better, so hopefully it will last!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Owen's Book Club 2

Owen has a new list of books that he's been enjoying.

We have 3 different Thomas the train books that are all in heavy rotation - 2 have sound effects buttons and one also has a steering wheel. All train books and any book with a picture that might possibly be a train are also popular.

Also popular is Beatrix Potter's 'The Tale of Peter Rabbit'. Who knew he could be so interested in a naughty bunny that eats vegetables. He seems to enjoy hearing about Peter getting chased by Mr. McGregor. His favorite page has a picture of Peter hiding in the watering can with ears sticking out and saying 'Kertchoo!'. He likes that word enough that sometimes he wanders around the house saying 'Kertchoo! Kertchoo!' It's in daily rotation (or more as it's a fave potty book).

'Goodnight Goon' by Michael Rex. A parody of Goodnight Moon full of monsters. We checked this out from the library. It's funny, rhymes, and has good art.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Where is a Good Place to Store Penne Pasta?

According to Owen, that would be the right nostril. He put a piece of penne up his nose during dinner tonight. Travis had to fish it out with tweezers. They had a little talk about not putting things up the nose, but I suspect that we'll be having this conversation again in the future.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sleeping. Or Not.

Most of the pregnancy articles recommend resting and getting plenty of sleep in the third trimester. In preparation for the lack of sleep that comes with a newborn. Owen is doing his best to thwart this. For the last 3 days, he's gotten up early. Think 5 am and 4:30 am and refused to go back to sleep. Only because I'm married to TBHE (the best husband ever) have I gotten to sleep in the morning.

He also hasn't wanted to go to sleep at night, crying, letting himself out of his room, and tonight capping it all off by vomiting on his floor. This of course led to a bath, new PJs, another round of 3 story books, and more singing to sleep. Which was followed by crying.

Maybe he's getting ready to hit another milestone, so he's having sleep disturbances? Or teething? Or super excited that 2 of his grandparents have been here? Or, is he just being 2 and this is going to be the new standard. Gulp.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Owen = 2

Happy Birthday Owen! He's officially 2 and has been celebrating for a week or so. Two rounds of cupcakes with 2 candles each time. The first round he blew out the candles and requested 'more fire'. For round 2 he got very close to the candle, but blew it out instead of licking it (big yikes for mom). He's much more skilled (and interested) in opening presents this year. He also had a good time playing with his toddler buddies, Mimi, and PapaJohn (also known as GrampaPapaJohn). He's been wanting to hear the happy birthday song when he's going to sleep at night.

Also for birthday week, he had his 2 year pediatrician visit. The YG weighs in at 32 pounds, which is the 90th%ile. 75th-90th% for height and his head is, of course, the 97th%ile. It's like Sputnik, but cuter.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Transformers 2

Two years ago, the day before Owen was born, Kerry and I went to see "Transformers", hoping that the noise and excitement would induce labor. It didn't, but it did induce what I immodestly consider to be one of my better movie reviews:

For those who are undecided, let me encourage you to go. The movie absolutely lives up to its name. There is more transforming in "Transformers" than in any movie you will see this year. If you are a fan of transformation, you simply cannot miss "Transformers". If you have been wondering if transformation is really your cup of tea, go see "Transformers"; the question will be answered once and for all.

To be sure, transforming is really at the heart of "Transformers", but the movie has other strong characteristics. It could have been called "Transformers: Loud, Kinetic Action With Planet-Sized Plot Holes And Stunningly Bad Robot Dialog".

I liked it.
"Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" delivers somewhat less fully on its title's promise. Yes, there is quite a lot of transforming, but I feel that it has been slightly downplayed in favor of more robot fighting and planet-sized plot holes. And frankly, while there is plenty of "of" and "the", very few of the characters who fall down in the movie go on to pursue, let alone achieve, revenge. But these are mere quibbles; it was still really fun and surely satisfied anyone who wanted to see it in the first place. (Like its predecessor, this Transformers movie failed to induce labor, which was a good thing this time around.)

A handful of people have asked us if we plan to stop having kids after Baby Something. I guess it's really up to Hasbro and Michael Bay.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Owen puts in his vote for D2

Travis and I have been trying to guess whether D2 is a boy or girl. I certainly have gotten alot more votes for boy from friends, colleagues and casual observers. Travis is pretty sure D2 is a girl. Owen weighed in this morning when he patted my belly and said 'baby brother'. I'm 34 weeks, so we'll see when D2 decides to arrive.

All Colors are Blue

Owen's vocabulary is picking up more, which has led to some funny comments on his part. Lately, all colors are blue. What color is the school bus? Blue. What color is Elmo? Blue. Sometimes he correctly identifies black. Otherwise, he's having his own mini-Picasso blue period.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

1 Toddler + 1 high fiber bran muffin = ?

Don't be fooled by the small size of the Trader Joe's Whole Grain Apple Cranberry Bran Muffins. Each small muffin contains 13 g of fiber, which is ~50% of the recommended daily intake. For an adult.

The answer to the equation above = superfund site diaper

I should have learned from other's mistakes, as my brother once fed his toddler-age daughter a bran muffin and chili on the same day. The results were equally impressive.

Monday, June 22, 2009

What does Owen like to Watch on the Internets?

YouTube rocks. Owen's favorite things to watch are videos of wood chippers and other constuction equipment in action. Yes, wood chippers. No, not from the movie Fargo.

The neighbors near the park we visit had a wood chipper in their yard for a few weeks, so we spent time watching them grind up brush and trees over their fence. Not sure if they thought it was weird, or if they even noticed that a toddler was scrutinizing their progress.

So now O asks about the wood chipper frequently and we watch videos on YouTube of them. A particular favorite is the DutchDragon. As it turns out, lots of European equipment companies run YouTube videos of their products, complete with technopop background music.

Another favorite is the MuffinMonster video on YouTube - it's the grinder that Waste treatment plants use to grind up things that shouldn't be flushed down the toilet (think shoes, sofas, and 2 x 4s).

Just awesome. Particularly with the corny music.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Chatting with Yoda

Owen has been talking more and more lately, which I guess is to be expected. He saves all the talking for home, and still prefers to stare blankly or glare at people at church. At the park, he'll get within inches of another child and then stare at them. Eventually he'll say 'hi', or something off the wall, like 'peekaboo', but often he just stares.

He'll now string together 3 and 4 words in a sentence. He's got his own style of grammar, which sounds a little like Yoda. The subject (often himself) is usually at the end of the sentence, so much of his speech sounds like he's giving commands. 'Pet the cat Owen'. 'Pick it up Mommy.' 'Down the stairs Owen'. 'Put it down Owen'. The last one is reserved for times when he is intentionally playing with something forbidden and knows he's getting ready to be told to put it down. He'll peer at us to see if we're watching, say 'Put it down Owen', and then set the off-limits item down. Then he'll try touching it with one finger, or on the side of the object, to see if this is allowed.

He's also good at repeating, so we had a couple of rounds of 'Happy Fathers Day', which was somewhat understandable. He wished Travis, my Dad, me, Furry Lewis, and his sippy cup of milk a happy father's day. We do have to be careful though as he repeats anything we say. Today at the park, he learned the word 'stupid' when he was listening to some of the older children. Hopefully he'll forget this one.

Maternity Clothes

Why do most maternity clothes come with a deep v-neck or plunging neckline of some sort? I can't possibly be the only pregnant woman out there with a job that doesn't want to show off mommychest to the world. Fortunately, this time around, the current shirt styles for women are loose and blousy, so I've been able to get by with some non-maternity shirt. For the rest, I put tank tops underneath. But still, it's getting warmer and adding an extra layer is less than desirable. Oh well. I'm 33 weeks on Thursday, so not too much longer for the maternity clothes anyway!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The morning lie-down/stand-up routine

Between the time Owen wakes up and when we come into his room to get him, he's exploring (read, "tumping things over"). But when we enter, more often than not, he'll grab his blanket and lie back down on his mattress, saying, "More naptime," or, "Owen go back to sleep." The first time he did this at way-too-early in the morning, I was fooled and thought, "Sweet," not realizing that "Owen sleeping" would last about ten seconds. He'll do the same sort of thing when we come back into his room to change from PJs to regular clothes, the only difference being that he'll grab a paci to go with the blanket.

I think that he does this to get extra paci time - he only has it for sleeping - or because it's funny to trick Dad. I'm thinking it's more the latter. I started teasing him about being on to his little scheme, and at this point, he can't keep from laughing at his own cleverness even as he is declaring his sleeping.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Two countries separated by a common (body) language

It's fun to know something about British culture and language, and not just for getting the most out of your James Herriot stories or being able to argue whether the original or the US version of The Office is better. There are also the moments of unintended hilarity, like when I walked into my boss's office and saw this picture on an inspirational Martin Luther King calendar:

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

What I got in the Mail Today

1.2 kilograms of free laxatives! My job is fun.

I guess since the pharmaceutical industry is being blocked from giving samples to clinics now, they're just going to send them directly to the doctors and see what happens. I've received hemorrhoid cream in the mail in the past, but this is the heaviest bit of mail I've received so far.

Monday, June 08, 2009


I'll be 31 weeks this Thursday. I have a ball for a belly - a kicking, squirmy ball, but still a ball. It's not to the point where I wonder how I can still stand up because I'm so front heavy, but definitely is getting there. When I was pregnant with Owen, Travis and I took belly pics every few weeks. This time, I've taken exactly 1 set of preggers pics of the belly. Maybe it's time for round 2.

It's fun not knowing the gender - lots of people are still guessing, from work colleagues to cafeteria workers at the Chicago convention center. Boy votes are winning 11 to 4.

Owen has fun pushing my belly button and saying 'bebo' and 'dingdong'. He knows that 'baby something' is in my tummy. He's also noticed that there's not as much room on my lap when we read stories at night.

Monday, June 01, 2009

GM bankruptcy

In honor of GM's bankruptcy filing today, see the following article from The Economist, 2 Dec 1989. Its predictions were about 10 years early, but the hopes pinned on the new Saturn brand are somewhat poignant now. (I loved driving Kerry's unreliable SC2. Given what we got, I kind of regret selling it. If only the insurance payments hadn't exceeded its Blue Book value.)


From the archive

On a clear day you can still see General Motors

Dec 2nd 1989
From The Economist print edition

The 1990s will be General Motors' toughest decade. Is the world's biggest manufacturer heading for break-up or oblivion?

SOON after General Motors's chairman, Mr Roger Smith, drives the first car off the assembly line of his company's Saturn plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee next summer, he will ride off into a comfortable retirement. The company he leaves behind faces a bleaker future.

During his nine-year reign at the top of the world's biggest carmaker, Mr Smith has spent billions of dollars and overseen huge reorganisations to little avail. Crippled by a sclerotic bureaucracy, GM watched helplessly as its share of the all-important American car market tumbled from 46% in 1980 to barely 35% this year. Now Japanese carmakers are set to boost their production in America just as GM cuts back still further. If the once-mighty GM can not find a way to reverse its slide, the next decade might be the company's last. By the turn of the century, break-up or bankruptcy (and the inevitable government rescue) could well be the fate of a company which was once America's proudest manufacturer.

Saturn will be the key to GM's survival. At first, GM arrogantly dismissed Toyota and other Japanese competitors as merely makers of little cars that got lucky in an oil crisis. When GM belatedly woke up to the Japanese challenge, it exhibited the big-company knee-jerk reaction: throw truckloads of money at the problem. Many of the billions it spent on robots and other new technology have been wasted. Saturn is the attempt of a chastened GM to re-invent carmaking from a “blank sheet of paper”. Yet if Saturn is a success, the immense task of transforming the rest of the company's vast empire still lies ahead. If Saturn is a flop, GM will face naked the remorseless advance of the Japanese.

By the mid-1990s the so-called Japanese “transplant” factories in the United States and Canada will be making more than 2m vehicles a year in addition to the cars the Japanese import (now limited to 2.3m vehicles). With new-car sales in America set to fall below 10m this year, the industry is already haunted by overcapacity. Even worse for GM, Japanese transplants can build cars for an estimated $500-800 cheaper than many American-owned plants. Because their cars are better designed and marketed, the Japanese also frequently avoid offering the $1,500 discounts which are destroying the profit margins of American competitors.

Saturn is supposed to close the efficiency gap, which has resulted in GM's North American car operations losing an estimated $300m in the third quarter this year. Throughout the 1980s, GM has invested $80 billion modernising its operations worldwide (nearly three times its present market capitalisation). That spending includes some of the $2.5 billion to buy EDS to mastermind a group-wide computerisation drive. GM then spent $700m buying back GM shares from EDS's founder Mr Ross Perot as the price of ousting the outspoken critic from GM's board. Another $5.2 billion went to buy Hughes Aerospace in a yet-to-be-proved attempt to feed more space-age technology into carmaking.

Yet much of the advanced technology GM acquired at such high cost hindered rather than improved productivity. Run-away robots started welding doors shut at the new Detroit-Hamtramck Cadillac plant. Luckily for Ford and Chrysler, poverty prevented them from indulging in the same orgy of spending on robots. After wrenching management changes, some of Ford's factories are now achieving near-Japanese levels of productivity.

Saturn will use some of the most advanced manufacturing technology available, but will concentrate on the more effective use of people. GM had to resort to a joint venture with Toyota to learn that people are what count in manufacturing. Despite this benefit, the joint-venture factory in California has shown that GM's fundamental weaknesses remain.

Saturn is to be run as a separate company within GM, free of the smothering embrace of Detroit. But even with all its advantages, Saturn's future is not guaranteed because the Japanese are racing still further ahead. They are opening research-and-design centres in America to become fully integrated carmakers there. They are also moving into the market for luxury and performance cars. In the 1990s Honda could overtake Chrysler as America's third-biggest car company. If that happens, the biggest loser will be the American company with the most to lose: GM.

Mr Smith remains unruffled. He says a lot of GM's problems have been put right and that the company is now well positioned. Its spending has gone to build new plants or to modernise old ones. But he cannot expect to run the plants at full capacity. More probably, as the chart indicates, GM's market share has been permanently eroded. So more plant closures will be needed. By the mid-1990s one in four of its 130,000 managers may have lost their jobs. The company has already cut its worldwide payroll by 100,000 since 1981 to some 750,000.

With sales last year of $110 billion—roughly equivalent to the GDP of Taiwan—and worldwide production at 8m vehicles, still twice Toyota's level, GM could keep cutting back for years as the Japanese expand. But continued “down-sizing” will inevitably provoke a crisis, forcing a traumatic overhaul of the company's baroque corporate structure, says Mr James Womack, director of the International Motor Vehicle Programme—a worldwide five-year car industry study being conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ford faced such a crisis in the early 1980s and survived. “Ford went right to the edge and looked over,” recalls Mr Womack. “Ford realised it had to start worrying about how to avoid the abyss rather than electing the next president.” If GM's moment of truth comes later, rather than sooner, it might not survive intact.

Mr Smith's re-organisations have swept away some feudal dynasties at GM. But he failed to address a deeper, cultural malaise, says Ms Maryann Keller, a Wall Street motor-industry analyst. In her recent book, “Rude Awakening”, Ms Keller says Mr Smith found himself hopelessly entangled in a complex corporate culture that resisted change. He did little to control the power of central-office staff over operating divisions or the finance staff over the entire company. Under Mr Smith, a finance man, GM's bean counters continued to rule. For too long, says Ms Keller, GM has “hidden behind a manipulation of the numbers rather than facing its problems head on.”

GM points to its record net profit in 1988 of $4.9 billion, up 37% from 1987, as proof of recovery. But Ms Keller says that GM's record year was due more to accounting changes than to the sale of cars. Even if GM's profits recover for another year or two, she warns, “the victory is bound to be short-lived unless change occurs at the very core of its corporate culture.”

If the critics are correct, Mr Smith's successor will have to undertake a wholesale reorganisation of GM management to reverse the company's decline. The chances of such a reformer emerging are not impossible (witness the surprise arrival of Russia's Mr Mikhail Gorbachev), but they are slim. When the puffs of smoke from the company's Detroit headquarters appear, the final choice of the next chairman will largely be that of the strong-willed Mr Smith himself. An outsider can be ruled out almost entirely: top management at GM is a closed shop. Even those who have joined late in their careers have found themselves unable to make the final cut. Mr Elmer Johnson, a Chicago lawyer, headed back home last year after a brief stint as an executive vice president. He harboured ambitions of being the reformer who launched GM's perestroika.

The next chairman is likely to come from among half a dozen loyal, long-term GM executives. At the top of everyone's list is 56-year-old Mr Robert Stempel, who became president a little more than two years ago. Mr Stempel is a big, blunt-talking man with a strong background in engineering—the proverbial “product man”.

That makes him an attractive choice. GM desperately needs new products. It claims plenty are coming, but the company is still struggling to shed its image as a builder of mediocre, look-alike cars—at least in America. In Europe, where new investment has paid off better, a string of successes was reflected in the $2.7 billion which international operations added to GM's profit last year. Yet the battle for market share in Europe is increasing with the formation of a single EC market and with coming competition from East European exports. DRI, an economic-forecasting group, also thinks that a two-year decline in West European car sales will start next year.

GM has tried to give its American cars more flair by reorganising their production into two self-contained business units: Buick-Oldsmobile-Cadillac and Chevrolet-Pontiac-GM Canada. Something much more drastic is needed. If Mr Smith's Saturn project is not that something, GM could end its days as a decaying monument to the glory days of American manufacturing.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Gender bender

Kerry's polled you, faithful reader, about Baby Something's gender, and a couple of weeks ago, she and I talked about it again. Since then, my view has completely crystallized: I think of Baby Something as a boy. When I think of changing him, feeding him, him playing with Owen, he's a boy. But whenever Baby Something is kicking in the womb, she's a girl, no question.

I have no idea what this means, but I'm glad to have it settled.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Those Tatooine sunsets

(or sunrises)

It's all the rage in DC these days to replace the brick or stone facade on your building with glass and steel. (I'm just talking about the 60s-era office buildings in Northwest. The tourist itinerary is safe.) They've just finished one at 18th and L, on my route between the Metro and work.

The new fronts on these buildings are sleek and, no doubt, more energy-efficient than their predecessors. However, there is a side-effect to turning a building into a giant mirror: when the sun is shining straight down the street, as it's doing these days on L Street in the early morning and late afternoon, it doubles the amount of light hitting you, right down to the forked shadows stretching from your feet. Turns out that having two suns shining makes a difference. It's hot.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Favorite Children's Store

The Children's Place is my favorite store when it comes to Owen's clothes. The outlet closest to us always has things on sale and sends coupons frequently. And most of the time, there seems to be some kind of extra discount that gets applied (even without a coupon). So I find a $5 tshirt on the rack, no special sign saying %off, and it rings up at the register for $3.50. Last week I got Owen a fleece hoodie for next winter for 99 cents. I guess they were having trouble selling them since it's May. I figure he'll be able to fit into a 4T by the time he needs it and it's definitely worth a guess. They also have kids shoes that aren't terribly expensive, which is also great.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Baby Something

Owen has starting to figure out that something's up with mommy. There's not as much room on my lap when we're reading, and my belly button is very much an 'outie' now. He likes to poke it and call it bebo.

We've told him a few times that there's a baby in my tummy, but I don't think he's going to really get what's going on until I show up at home with a baby, and the baby doesn't leave.

Our nanny has been trying to get Owen to talk to the baby. She tells him to 'Say something to the baby', and then obediently looks at my belly and says 'Baby Something'. Sooooo literal. This has progressed to him calling my belly 'Baby Something'.

Maybe we'll switch from calling baby #2 D2 to BabySomething. Kind of catchy, but a bit longer than D2.

Best Kids Music Radio Station

While visiting friends this weekend, Owen started dancing to the music on the radio. Since he's a pretty cute, if a bit off beat, dancer I asked about the tunes.

Minnesota Public Radio has a great online radio station, Wonderground Radio. It has music that small kids and parents both like, without being tinny or irritating. Owen loves it and so do Travis and I. Most of the songs have a catchy beat and there aren't any songs about subjects you don't want to discuss with your 3 year old.

It's pretty much on constantly now, so we've been treated to lots of dancing.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Website Travis Most Regrets Showing Me...

StillTasty: Keep it or Toss it?

This is a great website that tells you how long any food will last refrigerated or frozen. There's lots of detail, so pretty much any food you look for is there. They also have a commonly asked questions page, which explains why you shouldn't eat pizza that sat out overnight, when you can refreeze thawed meat.

Now I'm even more vigilant about throwing out the leftovers that are in our fridge, much to Travis-I-once-ate-moldy-bread's dismay.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Owen's first real fear, aside from the occasional separation anxiety or fear of extreme dark, is worms. He and Travis went to a park clean up after a rain storm and there were lots of earthworms on the ground. O was pretty interested in the worms that day.

But since then, he's been very cautious every time he sees something that might possibly be a worm. Actual earthworms, little bits of leaf, and the wormy-looking pollen things that fall out of the trees in the spring are all suspect. He'll grab my hand tightly, say 'worm' in a worried voice, and point at the offending item. He'll even hide behind my leg. He's both curious and a little scared, and is usually OK once I explain things. At least until we see another worm.

Spiders, bess, and ants? No problem. Just worms.

Results of the First Nap and First Night Sans Crib

Yesterday Owen gradutated to not sleeping in the crib, due to his gymnastics. We debated going and buying a toddler bed or a twin mattress for the floor, but for now, have his crib mattress (softer side up), on the floor with all of his normal bedtime accessories on it.

He tried napping yesterday in his room for an hour or so. Travis went in a few times to tell him to lay down, but the temptation to play was just too great. Here are the photos post first nap attempt:

Last night went a little better. He was pretty tired, having only slept about 30 minutes in the car while out running errands. We had extended reading of nursery rhymes and 'Busy People' and then he went to lay in his bed without a fuss. I went to check on him later and this is what I found:

Well, at least he was sleeping, instead of playing tornado. He made it until 6 am, which is better than yesterday!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Owen does his own stunts

Last night, in the midst of a particularly contentious bedtime, Kerry heard a loud thump. On returning to Owen's bedroom, she found him lying on the floor, having hurled himself out of the crib. The fall apparently knocked the fuss out of the Young Gentleman, as the rest of bedtime went well, and a peaceful night followed.

Peaceful, but short. At 0540, we heard Owen's door open and a paci-muffled voice ask, "Mommy?" (This escape from the crib was thumpless, thanks to the mat of body pillows Kerry had made on the floor next to the crib.)

So Owen's crib days are over. He helped me disassemble the crib enough to get it out of his room and into the nursery next door, and he's now having his first nap on the mattress on the floor. Hopefully, anyway. I'm not hearing a lot of activity from upstairs, but Dr. T is still spinning smooth sounds. Actually, I'm more confident about naptime, as he generally calls for it himself. Bedtime will be more challenging, as it's been hit-and-miss on his wanting to go to sleep. Now that he can actually run around in his room... Kerry removed the most interesting or destroyable items, but I'm still expecting a stretch of long evenings.

I feel a little bad about the timing, as two weeks ago, Dad was here to help us, with his big truck, pick out and bring home a crib for D2. Luckily, as it turns out, none was available, so we only ordered one (versus buying, bringing home and assembling one), but we still spent the majority of a day driving all over Maryland looking, for nought, as it happens. Sorry, Dad. But at least, unlike the dresser from Ikea, we won't have to go back (twice) to replace a missing part.

Monday, April 06, 2009

The grain report

No, this isn't an early look at USDA information, so don't think you can make a Louis Winthorpe III-esque play on the commodities market. Rather, it's my collection of notes following an adventuresome round of buying mysterious grains at the neo-hippie grocery store (MOM, if locals are wondering). Below are my unedited notes on preparation and, crucially, my assessment of the O-pinion.

[Disclaimer: Kerry came across these notes and declared them blogworthy. I never would have thought them so, but she's been right about things before, so here they are.]

Barley flakes
Water 3:1
Boil 20 min (lid off, occasional stir - cooked to a sticky, soft mass in ~16 min)
(O didn't like)

Buckwheat groats
Water 2:1
Simmer 15-20 min
(15 min, lid on and water totally absorbed
Big groats. Strong, earthy flavor
O liked plain and w/ milk)

Bulgur wheat
Water 2:1
Simmer 15-20 min
Stand 10 min
(Put BW in while heating water. Simmer lid on +15 min. Stand. Nice pebbly grain. Not quite as chewy as groats. Tastes more like dinner than breakfast.
O ate it)

Pearled barley
Water 2.5-3:1
Boil. Simmer 35-40 min
(3:1. Lid on. Cooked but water remained after 35 min. Shd have taken grains out of pot; water congealed and made barley a little slimey)
Smooth, tender grains. Little flavor. O OK)

Water 2:1
Boil. Simmer 20-25 min
(2:1. Boiled with amaranth in water. 25 min with lid on. V sticky grains, tiny crunchy in a viscous goo
O likes)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Your Votes Please - Boy or Girl?

We got a good look at D2 during the 20 week ultrasound yesterday. He/she is pretty cute and all the important parts (heart, brain, kidneys, diaphragm, limbs, etc) seem to be in working order.
The one part of the ultrasound that Travis and I didn't watch - the part where they identify the gender! Yep, we're going old school and are going to be surprised. I'm 99.95% sure that neither of us peeked at the US screen, so it really will be a surprise.

So feel free to guess what the gender might be! And name suggestions are welcome. We have a few ideas (which we're keeping to ourselves for now).

Monday, March 30, 2009

Let the Clumsiness Begin

My foot-eye coordination is starting to diminish. I fell today at work. While walking. Twisted ankle and foot and bruised skinned knee, with a healthy dose of embarrassment to go with. D2 seems fine, well padded in his/her home. So now I'm home icing my foot and knee. At least I wasn't supposed to be doing procedures today.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

This American Crisis (cont'd)

Following their overview shows on the bad economic news, This American Life gives you more. This week's show has cheery stories about shady condo developers and closing down a Circuit City, and a fascinating behind-the-scenes look as the FDIC takes over a failed bank (accountancy special ops).

I used to listen to This American Life every week. I've heard bits or more of half-a-dozen shows in the past couple months, and I remember why I liked it so much.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


1. "Grapefruit" - what an odd name for a fruit that is clearly not a grape. Apparently it's not just puzzling to me. See Wordcraft, about halfway down the page.

2. Kerry got some fantastic grapefruit last weekend. No sugar needed, they really are great fruit.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Word Explosion

Owen is getting more and more interested in talking.

Some of his favorite phrases:
- mommy go work
- daddy go work
- mommy go peepee
- let go
- put it
- get down!, which he uses with the cats
- nursery rhyme, which is his favorite book right now (more on this later)

He's branched into multisyllable words, with popular ones including
- temperature
- helicopter
- screwdriver

I had no idea how much little kids liked nursery rhymes. Owen LOVES them and we read from his nursery rhyme book every night before bed. I now dream about Peter Piper and his Pickled Peppers. Owen likes to talk about
- humpty dumpty wall, which he likes because it's a game from swim class that lets him jump into the pool. Unfortunately for our nanny, he's tried moving this game to the couch and flinging himself at her which is 1. dangerous and 2. painful for the recipient of the jumping.
- baa baa black sheep, which then becomes unintelligible after the first line but is one of his favorits
- peter piper
- twinkle star, also a favorite

He also sings his own version of the ABCs, which includes some letters in the proper order and gibberish at the end. He also counts in the same way, 1,2,3....8,9....14,15, etc. Surprisingly fun to listen to, although maybe it's because he's my kid.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

24 hours after

Guess what happens 24 hours after the 'World's Largest Toddler Breakfast'? That's right. We woke to our very own superfund site in O's room. Phew. At least the diaper stayed on. And he does love the oddly timed baths.

This American Crisis

This American Life and NPR News produced a series of three programs on the financial crisis, aired on 9 May 08, 3 Oct 08 and 27 Feb 08. Though the programs aren't up-to-the-minute at this point, it's a big story, so it doesn't hurt to look back and remember how this started and where we've been. I was a little disappointed that they didn't connect the dots between the big increase in overall indebtedness at the end of the third show and the "giant pool of money" in the first, but overall it's a good couple hours of radio.

For thems what want a much more detailed discussion of what "bank insolvency" constitutes, see Bronte Capital. (Hat tip to Angus) (The "Geithner Plan" in that post is the one from a month and a half ago, that everyone panned for lacking detail, not the one announced yesterday.)

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Owen is getting crafty. Or maybe trying out his had at manipulation? He likes to play with things in the refrigerator. If we close the door and he's not done, he'll then put his finger in the space between the refrigerator and freezer door and pretend like it's stuck. This fooled mom and dad exactly one time, but the lack of tears was a tipoff that the finger wasn't actually smashed. Crafty.

Big Eater

Breakfast for Owen today:
1. one pancake
2. one biscuit
3. one egg
4. one piece of bacon
5. one banana
8. a few pieces of grapefruit
9. 8 oz of milk
He's like the very hungry caterpillar

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How many hotpockets can one woman eat?

Hopefully 16 or so, since I accidentally bought that many. We had some in the freezer that I'd forgotten about. And then I bought more yesterday when I went to the store to get diaper cream.
What else did I buy? Hot fudge, cottage cheese, frozen hotwings, Le Petite Ecolier chocolate cookies. And an US Weekly. And a Life&Style.
When I'm not pregnant, I never eat HotPockets. Hopefully I've gained some weight.

Owen's favorite website and computer game


No, just kidding. I logged in for the first time in months and just can't get into it. I look at photos of my friend's baby and read a few comments, then end up doing something else. Maybe I'm old and not cool enough. Or maybe I'm too busy.

Anyway, Owen's favorite website is It's the official Street website and they have every sesame street short every made on it, in a searchable fashion. Want to see Andrea Bocelli sing Elmo to sleep? Check the site. How about Robert DeNiro discussing acting with Elmo? It's there. Want to get Owen to brush is teeth? Have him watch Elmo do it and toothbrushing goes much smoother.

Owen's favorite computer game is called 'Baby Smash'. Travis found it on Lifehacker. It turns the keyboard and screen into toddler fun. Any key O bangs on makes a shape on the screen and announces the shape, ie 'red circle'. Fortunately, it's only installed on one computer, otherwise I'd never get to use my computer.

The Count

Owen is getting more interested in numbers. We count going up and down the stairs (one number for each step). The best way to get him to lay still for a diaper change is to count to 20, which will cause him to stop contorting like an escape artist and hold still and listen. He now repeats certain parts of the number sequence and does some of it himself. I say '1', he says '2', I say '3'...... then he'll randomly pick up with '8' and '9'. Sometimes he'll pipe back up for '14' and a few other bigger numbers.

At this point, it seems to be mainly pattern repetition, more than an actual grasp of numbers (although he does understand '2'). Hopefully he won't get OCD in the future from all the counting practice....

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

And they shall know her by her hand-washing

Owen was on the changing table with Carla when Kerry got home last night. His bedroom door was closed, so he couldn't see Mom. Nonetheless, he said, "Mommy."

Carla asked, "How do you know it's Mommy? It could be Daddy."

Replied Owen, "Washing."

Eager to keep cooties off the boy, Kerry always washes her hands when she gets home from the hospital. Owen heard her washing her hands and knew exactly who it was.

So there, yet another benefit to being a germaphobe.

(And I can't wait for the converse moment, when I come home. "How do you know it's Daddy?" "Stinky.")

Monday, March 09, 2009

Friday Laffs (even the calendar can't stop them)

"80s New Wave music was the best!" Tom said adamantly.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Friday Laffs (cont'd)

"I will get these grass stains out!" Tom shouted.

The Waffle Moment

Owen is starting to cross over from the mild-mannered early toddler stage to the 'i'm almost 2, hear me roar' stage. Yesterday he had what Carlie and Scott (my sister-in-law and brother) call 'The Waffle Moment'.

The Waffle Moment occurs when a seemingly normal cute little toddler suddenly just loses it, goes ballistic, crying hysterically (typically with dry eyes), and goes all red in the face over seemingly trivial slight. In my niece Lili's case, it was a torn waffle that sent her over the edge.

In Owen's case, it was a screwdriver (the tool, not the drink). He was playing with a screwdriver, pretending to fix his kitchen set, which he really enjoys. This had been going on for awhile and it was time to have dinner. Since it's time to stop playing, the screwdriver goes back in the kitchen drawer. And then it happens. Suddenly, Owen is pacing around the kitchen, wailing, red-faced, going from Travis to I and then to the living room, having his Waffle Moment. This lasted a few minutes and we let him do his thing, and then got him redirected. It wasn't nearly as easy to refocus his interest as it was, say... 2 days ago.

Huh. Welcome to almost 2 I guess.

Friday Laffs

Things took a turn for the better last night when I thought up a Tom Swifty: "You're the sorriest excuse for a massive, semi-aquatic ungulate I've ever seen," Tom said hypocritically.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Don't read the news

On a tangent to an email at work, I read this: "LaHood dismisses gas tax increase - The US Secretary of Transportation said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that a 10 cent increase in the gasoline tax is ‘not going to fly anywhere in America’ due to the recession. ..."

But the administration's cap-and-trade system, that will raise the price of carbon-emitting stuff - like, oh, say, gasoline - that's just the ticket.

Look, I love me a good Pigovian tax, and I've got nothing against a cap-and-trade system. But the unwillingness to acknowledge that cap-and-trade will be equivalent to a carbon tax drives me to distraction. Do the politicians really not understand it? Do they really think that citizens can't understand it? Or worse, _can't_ citizens understand it?

And worst of all, how can this kind of thing still bother me? Nihil novum sub sole. It must be late.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Colorado on the Chesapeake

Last night I made a quick trip for groceries and was strangely reminded of ski trips with Dad during high school. March, single-digit temperature, fresh snow, cloudless night, and it seemed like Colorado. Go figure.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

And now the bathroom smells like iron

Guess what happens when a prenatal vitamin gelcap gets dropped into the floor vent for the heater? Now instead of flowers, or shampoo, the bathroom smells like rust.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


1. Owen not only removed his diaper, but peed all over his bed. Huh. Keeping fingers crossed that it doesn’t happen again.
2. He can open all the interior doors in our house. He’s now tall enough to reach the doorknob, strong enough to turn it, and has watched us enough to know the motion to open a door. He’s been letting himself into the bathroom, the guest bedroom, and other places surprisingly quickly.
3. He went to his first swimming ‘lesson’ last weekend. He was a little suspicious at first, but once we were in the water, he loved the class. It’s a mommy&me class, so a parent swims too. He liked the kicking and getting pulled into the pool off the side best.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Case of the Missing Diaper

When Owen woke up this morning, he had his usual talking to himself. I went in to get him and found that he had gotten his PJs unzipped and removed his diaper completely. He wears long-sleeved footie pajamas, so getting the diaper out is not easy task with his legs and arms still in the sleeves and legs. It took awhile to find where he had stashed the diaper, which is surprising since his morning diaper usually has half a pound of pee in it. I thought he had thrown it out of his crib, or stuffed it between the crib rail and the wall, but no luck. Turns out he had hidden it under his blanket and stuffed animals. Huh. Bathtime for everyone.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Commuter notes and punishments

We have a safe deposit box at a local bank. Specifically, it's at a bank branch located in a grocery store parking lot. We've been extremely happy users of online banking for years, so to go to this little building with limited hours, slow tellers and questions like, "Do you remember where your box is [located among the sequentially numbered boxes]?" is unusual and, frankly, unpleasant. It somehow seems bad in a way that going to the bank when we were small didn't. Now, being there feels like we've done something wrong.

So I had been feeling a little bad about sending Kerry to our safe deposit bank last weekend. Then I realized that she never has to visit the men's bathroom at Union Station in DC. It always smells of urine and loss. Just walking into the strangely cramped, perpetually broken facility is enough to bring your sins and misdeeds to the front of your thoughts, and you fear - or know - that you deserve no better than this. Yesterday, there was fresh blood on the hand dryer.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

'Mommy Go Peepee'

Did this really have to be Owen’s first sentence? It’s been closely followed by ‘Daddy go work’ and ‘Mommy go work’. Otherwise, he says ‘bye bye (fill in inanimate object)’ any time we go up or down the stairs. Bye bye light, bye bye cat, bye bye fish. He still tries out new word combos when he wakes up in the morning and it’s cute to hear him talking to himself over the monitor.

My favorite is of course ‘love yoooo love yoooo’, which gets used in 3 instances – 1. Owen is trying to get Carla to let him misbehave 2. He’s trying to get his way by manipulating his parents/nanny Carla/the world 3. He loves us. I’ll just assume it’s mostly # 3 and less of #2 and #1, although it is cute to hear in any context.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Nemesis #2

AIG Valic. Do not ever, ever, do any kind of retirement planning with them. You will never be able to make changes to your account or transfer money out again. They will require someone to sign the paperwork who lives in Antarctica and only is available for 6 minutes a day once a month.

Nemesis #1

Windows Vista. My computer is new from last summer and Vista has already crapped out to the point that I think it needs to be reinstalled. My computer:
1. doesn't hibernate
2. doesn't turn on unless I push the 'on' button 4 or 5 times for 3-4 seconds each time
3. gets the BSOD several times a week (and no amount of online research has provided a solution)
4. logs off for unknown reasons (while using the computer)
There's no virus and no spyware that Travis or I can find.

Shopping While Hungry (SWH)

Here’s what I bought while shopping hungry:
1. Hot pockets – the last time I bought and ate these I was preggers with Owen
2. Cottage cheese – ditto for the above (and I’ve eaten the whole container in 24 hrs)
3. Bacon – d2 craves meat
4. Eggo waffles – breakfast is the hardest meal of the day. Even now that I can eat
5. Turkey sausage – see #3
6. Tater tots - just because

By popular request: the Most Embarrassing Work Story

So I referred to my 2nd most embarrassing experience at work in a previous post and got a few requests for the most embarrassing work story.

So here it is:
Long ago, when I was a medicine intern, I passed out on rounds while making a presentation to the rest of the team. Morning rounds is where the team of doctors and nurses discuss what happened with individual patients overnight, generally in the hall outside the patient’s room. So there was an audience of 6 or so people there to watch me drop to the floor like a stone. Definitely embarrassing, since generally one wants to make a good impression on one's work colleagus, and not look like a sickly ghost.
Why did I pass out, you might wonder? I’d been awake for way too many hours, hadn’t eaten or drunk any liquids in a really long time, and had a stressful night in the hospital (an overwhelming number of sick patients). I was fine after the whole passing out thing, mainly just embarrassed, and work continued as usual until I left the hospital that night.
This is part of the reason there are now strict work hour regulations for people training to be doctors. Things are very different now.

Sunday, February 08, 2009


We celebrated Robert Burns’s (the poet) 250th birthday last night with friends from Scotland. My favorite Burns factoid of the evening – he stayed busy, as he had 32 known children at the time of his death at age 32. We ate some traditional Scottish food - neeps, tatties, and haggis = turnips, potatoes, and haggis. Haggis is a Scottish ‘sausage’ traditionally made out of sheep stomach and filled with grains and unpleasant meats (think tripe). The newer version uses ground beef and is in a less-repulsive casing. It gets cooked by being steamed for 3 hours. Since you can’t bring meat into the US from the UK, they had to find a more local source of haggis. Local turned out to be Texas and they got a mail-order haggis. It was actually pretty good, although not the most attractive of foods. Earlier in the first trimester, I don’t think I could be in the same room as a haggis without having to excuse myself.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


So far they include M&Ms and Campbell’s chicken noodle soup. Although apparently I haven’t been eating enough of either, since I lost 2 pounds during the first trimester. So I got lectured to eat more at my appointment. 3 meals and 3 snacks a day here I come!

What’s different this time

Some things are the same, some are different (so far).

1. Different: Morning sickness. Last time I was sick in the evenings if I didn’t eat dinner soon enough. This time, I’ve had more problems in the morning, which involved throwing up in the ICU when I was seeing a patient. It was the second most mortifying thing that ever happened to me at work. Fortunately it seems to be completely gone, and not to have lasted as long or occurred as frequently as before. I didn’t need to carry crackers with me, so this is in the direction of goodness.
2. Different: Less achy. So far, but I’ve heard this changes. The shower doesn’t hurt my boobs this time around, which is a victory.
3. Different: Less worry. I have a better idea what to expect, so it makes me a touch less paranoid. I am still afraid to eat peanut butter (what if they expand the recall?) and have been avoiding cold cuts after reading about a Listeria outbreak (it was Canadian lunchmeat, but you never know… we’re not that far from Canada, right?). But otherwise, things are more mellow (so far).
4. Same: The sleepiness. Growing a baby from 2.5 cm to 6.5 cm = 2 naps on a Sunday. Or maybe I’m just turning into my father’s daughter, as he is a champion napper.
5. Same: The urge to blog.
6. Same : The urge to nest. We’ve already cleaned the office and cathouse. We got some pictures framed for the walls. Next I need to move the rest of my medical books to work, so the guestroom books can come live in the office.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Introducing D2

Estimated arrival date August 13, 2009!

Monday, February 02, 2009

What Owen's Reading

OK, actually having them read to him. But he’s getting picky, so some books have fallen out of favor (goodbye Brown Bear, Brown Bear)

1. Hand Hand Fingers Thumb, by Al Perkins. Still very popular with Owen. Cool 1970’s monkeys complete with sideburns, playing the drums. Dum ditty dum ditty dum dum dum.
2. Gingerbread Baby, by Jan Brett. A cute story about a gingerbread baby that escapes the oven. It’s set somewhere that looks Scandinavian and the art is fantastic. It’s the longest book he’ll sit through right now.
3. Things that Go. No author, but published by Tucker Slingsby Limited. Full of photos of tractors, trucks, airplanes, balloons, boats, and fire engines. We read this every day, so now Owen will be able to identify a snowblower if he ever sees one.
4. Clarence Goes Out West and Meets a Purple Horse, by Jean Ekman Adams. Clarence the pig goes on vacation to Arizona, to a dude ranch, and makes friends with a purple horse. Very cute book. All part of Angus and Julie’s master plan to convince us to move to Arizona.
5. Busy People, by Joe Kaufman. This was my book, back long ago when I was Owen’s age. Mom and dad read it to me a lot.It has a separate section for Zeke Zookeeper, Peter Policeman, Trudy Teacher, Fred Fireman, and Doris Doctor. That’s right people, an early 70’s childrens book with a female doctor! The book shows what each person does at work and all their gear/clothes (ie Fred fireman’s helmet, ladders, etc). Owen wants to read this book every night.

Saturday, January 31, 2009


This is Owen’s favorite thing in the world. If we’d let him play in the shower all day, he’d love it. We typically spell it out, so that he doesn’t quit what he’s doing and immediately race up the stairs to the bathroom. As we were discussing our plans for the day this morning, I spelled out s-h-o-w-e-r and O started yelling ‘shower shower shower!’ It’s not the only word we spell out, but I guess he’s realized the letter pattern of his favorite word (despite not knowing the alphabet). I guess it’s time to brush up on the Spanish.

Croup Sucks

Owen (knock wood) doesn’t get sick that often. Maybe it’s the lack of daycare or just luck, who knows? He just got croup for the first time, and wow does it suck. He’s been waking up 20+ times a night with a barking cough that sounds like a seal. We have the humidifier, he plays in the shower every night before bed, but the little dude just feels puny. The coughing scares him, which makes him cry, which makes the barking cough worse. Rocking him back to sleep helps, as does sleeping in Travis’s arms in the rocking chair, which we haven’t had to do Owen was very new and tiny.
On the plus side, O has picked up some new words. He now says ‘bless you’ any time someone sneezes or coughs. He also says ‘temperature’ (tim-puh-tuu) when we use the thermometer now. It’s pretty cute to hear, even if he is all congested.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I passed the gastroenterology boards! Yipee! Now I don't have to take any tests until 2013!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The boy is a little odd

Owen and I were playing in the living room tonight, and I told him that I thought it was time to go to bed. He looked at me seriously, said "nap", reached into the toy box for his small Viking helmet, set it squarely on his head and proceeded upstairs.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Why you should always look inside the toaster

Photo evidence of what happens when a certain young gentleman puts a clothespin in the toaster.

Caffeine Free

To complete a really old post (I started a few months ago and it's been way too long since I wrote).

I think it’s time to reduce my caffeine intake. On Wednesday I drank 6 diet cokes and actually had the jitters and couldn’t sleep that night. This can’t be good for me.

Update (present day): So now I’ve been diet coke free for more than a month. I drink one small cup of hot tea in the morning and rarely a regular coke. Turns out decaf irish breakfast tea tastes a lot like the regular stuff. And no more jitters or insomnia. Does this count as a New Year’s resolution?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

New year, new O

Owen is 18 months old now, which among other things, means that we now leave the pediatrician's office without having the next periodic checkup already scheduled. What else is new with the Young Gentleman?

He's a boy, so we knew pyromania was in his future at some point. We haven't gotten the "mania" yet, but perhaps pyrophilia: Owen managed to char a clothespin by sticking it in the toaster. Cunningly, he did this while the toaster was unplugged, in the pantry. Thus his move was only revealed the next day, when toast time produced an unusual amount of smoke and burning smell.

I was in London for a couple of days last week. Thanks to red-eye flights and my early departures for work in the morning, two days of meetings lead to almost four days away. When I got out of the car Thursday evening, I could hear him across the driveway banging on the window in excitement. So it seems he's developed enough perception of time that 96 hours away is different than 12.

And admittedly, it was good for my ego to receive such an enthusiastic welcome home. But lest I think I was too wonderful, within minutes, Owen turned to my shoes, specifically, removing the laces. And while that was interesting, trying to put the laces back in the shoes was absolutely engrossing (as in, in the teen years, receive-a-lecture-about-manners-because-you're-ignoring-all-the-human-beings-around-you engrossing). You can tell when he really is concentrating. First, he starts huffing and puffing (all the firing neurons are hogging the oxygen, I guess). Then he starts talking to himself (no clue where he gets that from; maybe Kerry or a former roommate of mine could offer some insight).