Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A hodge podge post

This past weekend was a real hodge podge of activity. I had a list of things to blog about and I think it best to just create one gigantic blog entry with a number of sub-topics as I try to wrap my head around both last week and the coming week.


Leif has had a manic type week. One minute he behaves like the spawn of something fierce… like last night when he sat on my lap in his bedroom and screamed at the top of his lungs for no less then 30 minutes, seriously. Finally AB took over and bribed him with chocolate milk. Five minutes later you would have had no idea he hadn’t gotten his way previously and the world was coming to a screeching halt because of it. Chocolate milk is an amazing elixir.

Then there are just those perfect days, where you want to bottle them up and savor for the next few years. Sunday was one of those. We got up and ran errands, PetSmart where Leif admired the guinea pigs (not quite what he was expecting I think when I said “look a guinea pig”) and lizards and turtles. All attention was then diverted by cats from the shelter arriving. I want a cat. I really, really do. I have finally gotten over the passing of my 21 year old cat, three years ago nearly to the day. I am ready to open my heart to another cat. Leif is too. AB… not so much. The cat will be put on hold for awhile, not just because AB balks, but because I fear my daughter’s stuffy nose is allergies that she inherited from either or both sides of the family. I can’t bring an animal into the house without a better understanding of her sinuses.

We headed to Michaels where Leif wanted to ride IN the basket. Shocker. He hasn’t ridden IN a basket seat since he was tiny. Instead he either stays home or runs mad through the store with either AB or I chasing him. We came across some wooden models and he squealed about the airplane. Being that they were $1, I grabbed one for him. That afternoon Leif sat down at the table with AB and very patiently helped put the model together. I was so amazed that he sat there that entire time. He was quite upset when we put the plane up to dry, but since it has been dry it has taken an honored position next to his side nearly every minute of the day. On my list of things to do this week is get back to Michaels to pick up the helicopter, sailboat and car models as well. And maybe another plane. $1 wooden toys rock.

We got home from errands that day and Leif was starting to get fussy. He told me he didn’t want lunch and wanted to go sit on his bed. We went in to check on him 15 minutes later and he was out. Naps are a real hit or miss with him right now, he has even stopped napping at daycare about 50% of the time we are told.

That night I was putting him to bed. He was sitting on my lap as we were getting ready to read Sam I am, I am (aka Green Eggs and Ham). He looked up at me, completely unprovoked and said, “I love my Skadi”. I told him that was so special and how much it meant to me to hear him say that! He replies, “I really love Skadi”. Awww. Melt my heart!

Oh and the best thing about using baby monitors? Sitting in your bed at 10pm and hearing him talk in his sleep. Too funny! And also reminds me why the baby monitor will remain in his room until he graduates and leaves my house. ;-)

Skadi Bean

The things we do for our kids. I love dairy. I really, really do. I drink milk (which is funny since I refused to as a child), I love cheese. Everything I like to eat has dairy in it. Or so I discovered in making an attempt a few weeks ago to pull dairy out of my diet.

When Leif was about Skadi’s age he struggled with his tummy also. I cut out dairy, it resolved, and I slowly reintroduced it and all was well. Apparently Skadi is just a little more sensitive. Everything was better until I had my little wine and cheese snack on the back patio under my wonderful pergola Saturday evening.

We paid on Sunday when she would.not.calm.down. Ok, then *I* paid on Monday when she had the explosives at one of the high ups house. Her cute outfit lasted 10 minutes tops and I am telling myself that spot on my leg was mustard…

Skadi is great though. She is very wide-eyed. And oh my goodness, the child sleeps! She went to sleep last night about 9pm, woke up at 4:10am to eat and was out again until 7:30am. (Leif otoh, was up three times.)


Airplanes and more airplanes. That is going to be our life for the next two weeks it appears.

My 84 year old grandmother arrives on Thursday. She already has her suitcase packed and sitting by the door! (Apparently this was completed last week.) She is coming up to visit and to attend her 60th reunion of cadet nurses training. It will be a good, but trying week that I am preparing myself for in advance. It is hard seeing her age. It is hard seeing her shrink, and knowing she just thinks of herself as “little” and doesn’t see the hump on her back. And sometimes… ok, much of the time… she is just hard mentally. It is all those senior antics… like leaving a restaurant devoid of sugar packets. (She really CAN afford a bag of sugar.) Or leaving a friend’s house with desserts wrapped in napkins in her purse. (Apologizing in advance for book club night V!) The all too common senior moment of ignoring ones personal hygiene… or forgetting to put her teeth in. (Reminding myself to insert “do you have your teeth?” into my vocabulary between the 14 times I ask Leif if he has his shoes when we leave the house.)

But what do I get in exchange? Time that my grandmother will value forever. Those long talks where I pick up tidbits about our family. A fierce dominoes competitor (is it luck or sheer genius? We will never know). Time that I may never have again with her. Or not… we all wonder if she won’t outlive us all. I will be singing “the patience song” a lot in the next week. But it will be worth it.

Friday I am taking her to get her hair done (see personal hygiene note above). Then she and I and Skadi Bean are driving to Spokane. I am dropping her off at her friend’s house who will ferry her around and is hosting three other women from nurses training at her house. A place I will be happy to not be on Saturday morning when they are all getting ready for their free lunch. I am secretly coveting the trip to Cost Plus World Market with Skadi after the dropoff Friday. Sunday we will all head back to Spokane to get her. My plan is that we leave early, grab her and head to the River Park for a few hours.

Then next Monday is the day my husband and son are packing up and heading to Alaska for five days. I have mixed feelings on this. It was a last minute decision made last night. AB needs to go up and help his mom with some stuff, but he didn’t dare do this and leave me with both kids and my grandmother. Fear of the raving lunatic he might return to prompted him to suggest he take Leif with. Surprisingly I think to him, I told him to go and have fun (secretly coveting the one on one time with Skadi).

This could be a good father/son experience. Or it could be a disaster of epic proportions. Leif is very mommy attached right now. The novelty of going on an airplane will entice him through the security gates at 8pm Monday night, but the fallout will hit Tuesday morning when he wakes up at Papa’s house.

AB will have a fabulous time no matter what and I AM glad that he is taking the time to do this now while he has the time off. (Selfish reason? Maybe some fresh salmon.)

It will be good for me to have a few days with my grandmother and Skadi. And good for a few days with just Skadi. Then I will be eager to welcome my boys home!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Spouses make for good blog fodder

AB: "There's a hole in my irrigation line dear NM, dear NM, a hole in my irrigation line, dear NM, a hole."

NM: "How did it get there dear AB, dear AB, how did it get there dear AB, the hole?"

AB: "With a shovel dear NM, dear NM, with a shovel dear NM, a shovel."

NM: "Why a shovel dear AB, dear AB, why a shovel dear AB, a shovel?"

AB: "I was digging dear NM, dear NM, I was digging dear NM, a hole."

NM: "That would have to be a big hole, dear AB, dear AB, it would have to be a big hole, dear AB, the hole."

AB: "It's a huge hole dear NM, dear NM, it's a huge hole dear NM, the hole."

NM: "How big is the hole dear AB, dear AB, how big is the hole dear AB, the hole?"

AB: "It's two feet deep dear NM, dear NM, it's two feet deep dear NM, the hole."

NM: "How wide is the hole, dear AB, dear AB, how wide is the hole dear AB, the hole?"

AB: "Six feet diameter dear NM, dear NM, six feet diameter dear NM, the hole."

NM: "That's a huge hole dear AB, dear AB, that's a huge hole dear AB, in my backyard."

AB: "It had to be that big dear NM, dear NM, it had to be that big dear NM, my lovely wife."

NM: "For why is it that big, dear AB, dear AB, for why is it that big, dear AB, lovely husband?"

AB: "For my bamboo dear NM, dear NM, for the bamboo that I ordered online."

NM: Silence. Fear.

AB: "The bamboo from my gift certificate dear NM, dear NM, my bamboo from my gift certificate that you bought me."

NM: Note to self... think through all scenarios when buying gift certificates in the future.

AB: "There's a hole in our irrigation line, dear NM, dear NM, a hole in our irrigation line, dear NM, a hole!"

Friday, May 25, 2007

Dun dun dun dun - dun - dun dun dun dun - dun

Thirty years ago I was five years old and was blessed with a trip to Denver (a nearly 6 hour drive) to see a new movie that was coming out. I remember standing outside the theater on Colorado Blvd., not really knowing what all the hype was about.

I don't remember details of watching the movie, however, I remember loving it. Afterwards I picked out a cassette tape with a book that went with it of the story. We also bought the vinyl soundtrack and I couldn't wait to get home to put it on the turntable.

I wanted my name to be Leia.
I wanted droids.
I wanted my hair to be like big cinnamon rolls on the sides of my head (mine were little cinnamon knots on either side thanks to my very fine hair).
I wanted a wookie - my dachsund (Inga) had to fill the role.
I wanted to be rescued by Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, but to also show them I was just as good as they were.
I wanted the scary Sand People to go away. (I still do.)

I remember uttering the words, "Help me Obi-Wan, you're my only hope" over and over. (My poor parents.)

Guess what's playing tonight at NM and AB's house?

Big babies rule!

Skadi had her 2 month appointment.

Length: 24" (88th percentile)
Weight: 14 lbs 6.5 oz (97th percentile!!)

Apparently I make pure cream! To compare, Leif was straight across 50th percentile at 12 lbs 15 oz and 23".

She is my chunky baby! Love that!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Miss Pink turns

Remember her? Miss Pink Post-Doc?

I showed up at teleconference this morning, my first since coming back and was happily greeted by everyone. There have been some changes during my time gone, mostly project changes I am scrambling to keep up with. I don’t have to scramble too hard since my two hours a week on the project for teleconference are purely for consulting. Still I try to keep abreast of what is going on for other tasks on the project.

After 1.5 years of being a post-doc here, Miss Pink has become Mrs Black. Yes, she did get married.

So either marriage has killed her cheerful pink nature, or it is work. She no longer hauls her 4 year old (minimum) pink cell phone with her dog’s picture on it to teleconference. Nor her big pink plastic water bottle. Those pink fake nails are gone - likely due to performing real work in the lab. And you know… she wasn’t wearing a spot of pink today. Black shirt, black pants (camel toe remains) and black shoes. Demeanor likewise.

A revelation hit me this morning. She fits in.

Apparently too well. Her last day is Friday.

I was saddened by this. I actually grew to like her over the last year. She is smart, helpful, pleasant to be around, even if she does giggle at the most inappropriate times.

Then my savage wolf side kicked in and I was no longer sad. I, at least, made sure she was happy (alright, that she was fine) about her move to a private analytical chemistry company probably making less as a staff member there then she did as a post-doc here. Then I jumped in there with the two other wolves vying for a bite of her (not by choice) abandoned project. The competition… ‘tis fierce!

Monday, May 21, 2007

A week of smiles

Leif has had so many moments this past week... moments that are happy and nice and not stories of screaming time outs. Let's start with the turkey baster...

The turkey baster:

Scene takes place at 6:30am with a groggy mom sitting at the dining room table devouring a bowl of Cheerios.

Leif: "Mommy, is this Skadi's?" (Holding the turkey baster up.)

Me: "Nope, it's daddy's." AB's the one who cooks most all of the meat (after he buys all the meat). Brain quits functioning then.

A few minutes pass.

AB screams.

AB: "Any reason my son is shoving the turkey baster up my nose while I try to sleep?"

I suppose a turkey baster does resemble a bulb syringe. I am just happy I told him it wasn't Skadi's!


Little Bunny Foo Foo take two

Leif: "Little bunny whoo whoo hoppin' through the forest, scooping up mice, pop on heads. Down came the blueberry and she said..."


What are you trying to tell me?

Leif: "Look mommy, a lion cookie. I eat it!"

Me: "Yep, that's a lion."

Leif: "Look mommy, here a hippo cookie for you!"

Me: "Thanks Leif." I eat it so I don't disappoint him... this is why the pregnancy weight is still lingering.

Leif: "Here mommy, another hippo for you!"

Me: Repeat above.

Leif: "Mommy another one of your hippos! Here you eat it!"

Me: Starting to wonder why hippos are suddenly associated with me...


Things we don't need to fib about...

AB and I were cooking in the kitchen when Leif came in.

Leif: "We having broccoli for dinner?"

NM: "Yep, sound good?"

Leif: "Yeah." He walks off.

Leif returns with his slimy bathtub whale.

Leif: "Whale wants piece of broccoli."

I hand him a raw floret. He returns two minutes later and plunks the bare stem on the counter.

AB: "Leif did you or the whale eat this broccoli."

Leif: (looking shameful) "Whale ate it."

AB: "Did he? Well I guess whale gets ice cream for dessert tonight for being a good eater!"

Leif: "No, I eat it!"


And now for an "ahhh" moment

NM: "Leif why did you throw away these books?" (Panda Bear, Panda Bear and Clifford)

Leif: "I don't want those books. You leave them in garbage."

NM: "Leif, we don't throw away our books. If you don't want a book in your room, bring it to mommy and we will decide what to do with it."

Leif: "I don't want in my room!!" He starts squealing.

NM: "Ok, but let's come up with a solution. Would you like to give them to a child who doesn't have books?" I cringe at the thought of giving away Panda Bear, Panda Bear, but who am I to discourage charity.

Leif: Silence while he looks at the books. "I want to give to Skadi."

NM: "Let's go take them to Skadi." I was testing to see how serious he was.

Leif: "Here Skadi, these books for you to read." And he walks off after depositing them next to her.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Filed under things that almost make me feel bad for the younger siblings out there

My little sister has a list of my transgressions as the older sibling... among them the time my mom told us no more water in our bedrooms for tea parties. So I came up with a remedy! I was always very innovative. I very patiently filled up a little tea cup with my spit so we could have a "real tea party". It wasn't my fault... she was never forced to drink it! And really it was my mom's fault for making such a silly rule.

Then there was the time we were going through the Robo carwash and I told her that the flappy wipey things were old Sesame Street monsters... instead of there being a retirement home for the elderly muppets, they were sent to carwashes. My mom wondered for years why she would cry when we would go through the carwash.

One I remember distinctly is when I was about four and she was a few months old. We were leaving KFC (then actually called Kentucky Fried Chicken). My dad was driving, mom was in the front seat of our VW bug holding my sister. (These were the days before carseats.) My sister stuck her finger out to be "biten". It was something she did regularly and we pretend bit her finger, and she giggled. I remember thinking I was SO tired of her getting all the attention. I bit her finger. I bit it hard completely on purpose. She started crying and I knew I was in big trouble. I wasn't though. My mom soothed her and told me not to bite hard in a very calm voice. My little sister obviously doesn't remember this.

It has started in our house... the teasing/tormenting of the younger sibling. And poor Skadi, she has a big brother, a mom who is a firstborn and a father who is a firstborn. Poor thing is destined to never be understood.

Yesterday it was a normal evening as we hung out in the backyard after our walk. Leif was watering the garden, AB and I examining the progress of our gardens, Skadi in the bouncey seat on the shaded patio sound asleep.

AB and I were discussing what to do with our plum tree. For many years since it was planted it has been my favorite tree yielding about 2 small bags of plums a year and being nearly maintenance free while providing screening from our apartment neighbors. This year something has gone awry and we have literally a thousand or more little cherry sized plums on our tree. Something needs to be done... now.

Suddenly we hear Skadi scream! We whip around to see our son standing in front of the bouncey seat spraying her with the hose (nozzle and all)! AB takes off running and grabs Skadi, gets her calmed down and changed. I grab Leif, nearly by the ear and dragged him inside where he stood in a corner screaming at the top of his lungs, where in typical parental fashion was never given a chance to explain his actions.

It has started. Everything that goes into what defines us as the typical oldest/middle/youngest child is now in play in my house.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Preparing to leave my lair

I have been a huge recluse the last 8 weeks, but it is about to come to an end. On Monday I return to work. I am really trying not to dwell on the inevitable, but that is nearly impossible. I have really enjoyed the last eight weeks at home with my little girl. Sitting on the couch for an hour every afternoon with her asleep on me, taking pictures at every opportunity, and sitting around in my pajamas until noon if I want.

I got a sign early this week that it was time. I was working on cleaning out my closet - one of the goals I had for during my leave - it is about 1/4 done. I discovered that I have exactly five pairs of dress pants that fit me. And three pairs of jeans - unfortunately one pair (my favorite) are way too holey to wear to work and another pair of jeans that are just bad (Goodwill pile). So really only one pair of jeans that fit. None fit really well mind you, but all are acceptable. I guess that means I need to go back now?

There are a few things I am looking forward to at work, fostering some new contacts that I made in the last few weeks, the ability to write a complete e-mail in one sitting, and seeing my friends again. But more things I am not looking forward to, like trying to fill my time without running my project bone dry before the end of the fiscal year.

I don't have many issues with leaving Skadi at daycare. It is close to me, I get to go see her at lunch, and she has Leif's teacher who is absolutely fabulous. Plus she sleeps every minute that I am not there... she will... I know she will. We dropped her things off yesterday and the new director told me that with as excited as the teachers are about her, she must be the baby of the year. She gets the "Number one baby" crib.

This maternity leave has also been further special to me because AB has been home the entire time, not necessarily by his choice as he looks for work. He told me the other day that as disturbing as it is to be out of work, the timing was really fortuitous that he was able to be home with me as I recovered and during those early weeks with Skadi. We are trying to be optimistic that he will have a new job in a few weeks at the most.

What are our plans today? AB suggested we head out after lunch and do a little wine tasting at some new tasting rooms we haven't been to yet. Then we plan to pick up Leif and take him to feed the geese at the park (shhh, I know, you really shouldn't feed the wildlife...).

I am, by nature, a quiet person who is just fine to stay holed up at home, a recluse. But those days are over. Time to put on a little make up (I think I remember how)... time to put my feet back in my good shoes and out of my Birks (I did surrender the socks with Birks though and move out of the grunge era - reluctantly)... time to put a big smile on my face and walk into my building where people will come up with a sad face and say "oh, how are you doing coming back" and I will lie and say "I am just fine! Glad to be back!", lest they see the weak side of me.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Why I don't buy fish

It started out something like this yesterday:

"Why don't you pick up some more halibut," AB asked me as I was headed to the grocery store.

I paused and thought about this. Me pick out fish? After 13.5 years of being together he trusts me to have learned the nuances of picking out the fish? This is knowledge that is born with you and cannot be learned. Particularly by someone who was raised near the mountains, i.e., days of driving to an ocean.

Part of being a true Alaskan is having an intimate knowledge of fish and/or wild game that no one from the lower 48 can possibly possess.

One of the worst moments in mine and AB's relationship goes back to when he first met my mom and stepdad. Not only did my cat attack his head and he hit her (my stepdad cheered, I nearly cried), but my mom made salmon. Pink salmon, chum, dog food that is. AB didn't touch it and I was so appalled. My boyfriend was a salmon snob.

My mom and stepdad have long since been schooled in salmon (thanks mostly to AB) and have achieved the near Alaskan standards for selecting quality salmon varietals. They too can be classified as salmon snobs. We wear our Salmon merit badges with honor.

I got to Albertsons and went to the fish counter. I knew enough when the fish monger started pushing the fresh Copper River salmon for $12.99 a pound to turn my nose up at the way they were tossed willy nilly in the cooler looking as though they had been hacked in half with a rusty blade. For shame... the best salmon you can buy here locally treated so poorly.

I saw the goods, the halibut. I balked at $15.99 a pound, but it was perfect looking, white through and through, layed out neatly, and no bruising and fresh this morning the fish monger informed me. I didn't stop at one pound, I bought a whole two pound filet at just over $30. AB would be so proud and maybe I would be one step closer to earning my merit badge in Fish Selection.

I hauled it home happy with my purchase. I encouraged AB to open the package and examine the awesome looking fish I bought. He trusted me he said. I walked around all afternoon with my head held high!

We were making fish tacos for dinner. This is an excellent make ahead meal. If you are going to spoil your freshly cleaned kitchen by frying fish, you might as well do as much as you dare and freeze it, as it freezes excellently. And since I am returning to work on Monday (booo) we decided to stockpile by frying up about 3 lbs of halibut. All that we had left in the freezer and the big two pound filet I just bought. AB does the first pound and then opens the package I bought.


"This is cod," he tells me.

"It is not, it's halibut," I respond defensively.

"No it isn't. It's cod."

I am nearly to flipping my lid. "I am NEVER buying fish again, ever!" I say to him in a fake cheery voice so that Leif doesn't realize my displeasure.

"It's not your fault," he tells me, "but you were screwed. How much did you pay for this?"

I tell him.

Fireworks as his face drains of blood.

I held steadfast to it being halibut, they look similar. AB fries up a piece of this mystery fish and hands it to me.

Damn, I think. He's right. It's cod I announce. I may not know the difference raw, but I certainly can taste the difference.

Thankfully cod is our second choice for frying. AB fried the rest of it up without another word of displeasure though I know there were two things going through his mind... 1. I am buying the fish from now on. 2. Once again we are boycotting Albertson's fish counter, the remodel did nothing for their fish quality.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Congratulations AB!

Anyone have a job for a new graduate with a Masters in Environmental Engineering?

AB graduated on Friday and actually decided to march! I didn't march for my graduate degree. I never really regreted it... at the time. I had to get up here and start my job - or so I thought. If I knew then what I knew now I would have hung out in Reno and started the job in mid-May. They didn't need me asap as I had been lead to believe. Anyways, this post is about AB and not me...

AB decided to walk across that stage, shake the governor's hand (despite the fact he can't stand the woman) in full graduation and hood regalia. I had Leif and the Bean. That was a challenge and I finally relented on actually sitting/playing around the seats and we moved to the grassy area where Leif could run around and I actually got better pictures anyway.

I am just so proud of AB. It took him 7 semesters to complete his Masters in Engineering all the while working full time and adding two children to our family. He rocks!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Fleeting thoughts from Nuclear Mom on Mother's Day

Will my couch cushions ever remain properly placed on my couch?

Can I just freeze this moment in time?

And can we just fast forward through this tantrum.

It's 3:40pm, wine is perfectly acceptable now.

Exactly what other options are there for rinsing shampoo out of hair?

How in the world did poop get there?

A bath is just easier than 14 wipes.

The blowdryer on the changing table advice offered the other day might be worth considering.

Whoever invented bubble blowers is evil.

A real Mother's Day present, both kids napping.

When are they going to wake up? I miss them.

My husband is the best, flowers and chocolate and a cat card whose paw waves when you open the card... (I will never get to see said card again, Leif picked it out for a reason).

I am positive that was a giggle, positive.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! (Regarding the story of AB taking Leif into a Hallmark store... chaos.)

My mom is really cool. I'm so lucky.

I understand that statement that you never know how much you are loved until you have your own kids. I really do.

What is it about my husband's sweat that puts my daughter to sleep?

The white balls from the Hungry Hippos game really do fly far. (And the plastic is amazingly painful to toes.)

Can I just eat those cheeks up?

A nearly three year old making a decision? Painful.

Independence? Also painful.

What can I bribe my husband with to start sitting to pee so that my son emulates THAT?

Wow I love being a mom.

I am the luckiest mom ever.

Filed under things that Leif says that slay me

Leif: "Mommy, I want to do tree pose."

NM: "Ok, let's stop and do tree pose." (Yoga in the kitchen time...)

Leif: "Mommy I need yoga movie. It makes my insides feel good."

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thoughts on two

Two kids is great. Ok, so it is insane at times. But seriously the best thing I could have done for Leif is to give him a sibling.

I have seen Leif evolve in so many different ways in the last seven weeks. It started out as 100% jealousy and a complete lack of understanding of what happened to his former life. I would get tears in my eyes when he would scream, "no, that's my mommy!" when I would nurse Skadi. It tore me apart to have AB drag him off my lap screaming as he would jump on it an inch from Skadi's head.

About 75% of the jealousy has abated. It might decrease a little more over the years, but I think we are at a settling point in the pond. A tantrum will occur if I dare bring Skadi into our bedtime routine. His going to bed time is one on one time with AB or I, and that needs to not change for the time being.

What has replaced that 75% of jealousy is love in many forms. He is protective of his little sister - as shown by the growling that has ensued when strangers stop to admire her. Growling followed by "my sister" and then growling again until they leave. (It hasn't helped that AB edges him on in this behavior.) I only hope that his protective nature grows as she grows. Isn't that the dream for all little girls is to have at least one protective big brother?

Tenderness has also entered Leif's life. We were riding home from daycare tonight and Skadi was doing her usual fussing in the car. I turned up the music (hey, it used to work with Leif!). Leif on the other hand showed genuine concern.

"What's wrong boy?" (He still calls her "boy" regularly.)

"Where's your pacifier?"

"Mommy, where's Skadi's pacifier?"

"Anything I do make you happy?"

"Oh don't cry, it's ok!"

All things I heard from the backseat in the most tender little boy voice. Tears.

And his favorite book right now? Ok, second favorite behind "Sam I am I am" is "I'm a Big Brother". Of course you have to substitute his and Skadi's names in for the little boy and gender neutral baby.

When I had Leif I would cry at the thought of him growing up. I wanted him to stay tiny forever. I wanted to savor every minute. I still want to savor every minute with Skadi, but I look forward to watching her grow, I am not fearful of losing the little baby because I know that there are so many fun experiences just around the corner and that it only gets better and the love only grows stronger. Oh and maybe since I think I have a good shot at selling AB on having a third...

Little sponges for learning

AB: "Do you want to go for a W-A-L-K tonight?" (We spell this to prevent our dog from tearing our house apart upon hearing the word "walk". Pavlovian response.)

Leif: "I want to go for a walk!!"

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Quick note

If anyone has e-mailed me through my blog (i.e. my spam account acarman72@yahoo.com)... sorry, I didn't get it. I usually check it every few days and I got so far behind while being out of town. I had over 1000 (99% spam) e-mails and so I just dumped the whole thing. Post here and let me know and I will contact you if you don't have my other e-mail address.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Probably just what I needed

A few posts ago I expressed a very not ready to go back to work sentiment as I bemoaned the fact that my maternity leave was closing in on being 75% finished. Most all that I have really heard about work in the nearly eight weeks I have been off has been bad. How awful things are right now, the layoffs, life in the "lack of funding" trenches. Couple this with AB's growing discontent of this area (and no one pounding down doors to hire him) and I was nearly ready to call it quits. Key word... was.

I had even found a few jobs online to apply for. One of them, AB stated was a nearly sure thing. My qualifications were perfect and it is working for one of my major client's client. And so we started dreaming about what life would be like in Portland. (Among other cities.) Restaurants. Culture.

Then I checked my work e-mail today and had a five minute conversation with my mentor. Amazing what a little appeal to one's ego can do and knowing that I have someone pulling for me in a recent, and extremely political proposal call, can do.

My mentor talked to a division director (in the group I want to move to). She didn't know my name immediately though apparently stated she felt as if she should know who I was. My mentor told her what big (and extremely profitable) project I had been on and she knew me immediately and recalled me receiving my award for that project in March. When he told her I had a "really well written and intriguing proposal" to put out for this call she "suddenly became very attentive". The conversation ended with the division director stating she would contact a particular person and ask him to work with me on the proposal.

Note to self... next time I see her dropping off or picking her son up at daycare... introduce myself!

So 10 minutes on the internet and 5 minutes on the phone has me thinking returning to work won't be SOO bad. And it has me reminding AB of everything we love about the area... though the summer weather might have been a little forced and definitely garnered an eyebrow raising from AB (remember AB = Alaska Boy). He admitted that the shakedown of a reorg could definitely move me in a very positive direction and my four weeks paid vacation a year is a hard thing to walk away from. It probably also helped that he got two pretty positive responses from headhunters in the area today and sent out about 10 resumes.

For now, thoughts of jumping ship have been shoved onto the backburner. Talk to me in a month though.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Starfish continued

Starfish... found.

V phoned this morning to tell us that the starfish has been found.

Immediate confusion. They didn't come to the cabin with us... how did they find the starfish?

Turns out that she smelled something in the car that smelled like spoiled milk. Then noticed it was coming from the pack and play... the one we borrowed for Skadi to use at the cabin.

Yep. You guessed it. The starfish was put in the pack and play by one little somebody. Then evidently the pack and play was broken down and packed up by one big somebody. (Note, that was NOT me.)

This was a big and stiff starfish. How AB packed up the pack and play with this starfish inside I have no idea. Put some muscle behind it I guess.

Mortified. I think I would have rather it been at the cabin and be facing ribbing for the rest of our lives from family.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


On the whale watching trip... we saw no whales. It remains on my life list. (And I am seriously questioning the claim on the charter companies website citing whales seen 99% of the time during the April to May season... hmmm...)

Skadi smiles!

Leif and AB and a seal... AB tried and tried to get pictures of the seals that were playing around the boat and we left bummed that there were no seal pictures. That was until we were going through the pictures a few minutes ago. Apparently I got very lucky! See it? (Or is it too small here?)

Having fun on the swing!

How to pack for vacation and other stories

"Leif do you want to pack your bag for vacation?"

"Yes mommy!" and he runs off to his room.

A few minutes later he hauls back his little rolling suitcase packed...

with a roll of paper towels (where did those come from?), Green Eggs and Ham, and a matchbox car. "I ready now!" he announces.


And from the annals of where did he pick that up?

"I tell you what...." starts about 75% of sentences currently.


The story of the most unluckiest starfish... ever.

AB was retrieveing oysters (from our seeded beds) to haul back home and decided to bring a starfish up to the cabin for Leif to touch. It was a large purple starfish and Leif was enamored. He touched the spines and called them "little teeth". We looked at how the starfish ate and touched the little tentacle suction cup things. (It is SO fun showing a child a new thing.)

We manhandled the starfish for a little while and Leif decided he wanted to bring the starfish home. I found a bag to put it in. Leif marvelled and dragged the bag around the cabin.

We were driving home and Leif starts wailing, "MY STARFISH!!"

I calmly told him daddy put it in the back of the car. AB looks at me and raises his eyebrows, "I did?"

"Yes," I tell him, "I put it in a bag next to the cooler."

"Umm, no," he tells me, "I didn't put it in the car."

More wailing from the back seat. "MY STARFISH, MY STARFISH!"

"Leif where did you put your starfish?" we ask him.

"In the garbage," he says.

"Which garbage," AB asks hopeful it is the garbage bag that is in the back of the car to go to the dump on the way home.

"The garbage," he says between wails.

Lucky AB gets to paw through the garbage while dumping it. No starfish.

Yeah, we are going to NEVER hear the end of it if the cabin is stunk up by a starfish.

Six weeks already?

Today is the last day of my maternity leave. Six weeks, poof. Gone. I have opted to take another two weeks off unpaid and will go back to work on the 21st. As a currently single income family while my husband finishes up his degree and job hunts in his new field, I have to admit that this two weeks unpaid is painful. My vacation time is on the low side from holiday travel and I need it for upcoming family visits and a few things *I* want to do this summer. So I could use a couple days vacation, but not having sick time for another year essentially, and having a toddler and new baby... yeah, better keep the vacation time.

Before I had kids I tended towards the hard line... what's the big deal, go back to work and get over it. Having done this twice now myself I can officially say that six weeks maternity leave is unjust. I had eight weeks paid off with Leif, but my company has since then opted to outsource the administration of their disability program to an underwriter group who prides themselves on lowering the bottom line. To take an additional two weeks off paid I better have a damned good, documented doctor's excuse. This is despite the fact that I have an additional two weeks time banked that I could use.

I was always the voice of dissent on discussion boards when people would whine about how much better women in other countries have it. My response (as your typical fiscal conservative) was always "who pays for this? The people do! Look at their tax rates! How do you expect small businesses to survive?" Yadda yadda yadda.

Tune changed.

It isn't that I balk at leaving Skadi at daycare. I am truly lucky that I have outstanding infant care and that I have two women who are so excited to have her in their care. Maybe it's that I just am not feeling like going back to work. I am relishing how much I can get done in a day with just Skadi at home, while freaking out at how little I get done with Leif and Skadi at home. I don't know what it is, maybe my feelings of indifference will have abated in two weeks and I will look forward to going back and writing proposals and taking over my project again. Maybe.