Friday, February 27, 2009

Star Wars decor

Things are actually moving forward with our house right now. The former owner was apparently on vacation and since getting back from 2 weeks basking in warmth out of reach of technology has jumped on providing us with all sorts of information on the water damage of the house.

This has renewed my enthusiasm and optimism that we ARE going to be moving and I have gone back to thinking about decorating.
We promised Leif a room decorated how he wanted since he feels that his Safari themed room is a touch baby-like. I beg to differ, but I also have no problem enticing him into his new room and creating excitement for the new house with a brand new room themed and decorated how he wants.

See how I have matured - I actually kind of like themes! I am really showing my age when I admit that I am considering wallpaper in this house too.

Back to Leif... his choice is Star Wars The Clone Wars. (And I am eternally thankful he didn't pick Transformers or Spiderman.)

About the only thing Leif seems concerned with is that General Greivous is painted on the wall.

We have asked him to pick out a color, from the many, many paint chips I have accumulated. This garners frustration and a declaration from him, "I just want General Grievous colors!"

Of course what you could take from this is that he wants the same colors as General Grievous - and then take to matching up chips to Grievous. But if you took it this way, you would be wrong. He JUST wants General Grievous painted on the wall.

Umm no.

I did paint an elephant on his wall in his current bedroom and yes, I did actually major in art for a little while. But no. I am NOT painting General Grievous on his bedroom wall.

In some effort at meeting at a halfway point AB and I have found cardboard stand up posters of the characters for his room for not terribly expensive. At least not the prices of the vinyl wall clings.

So AB and I have finally reached a compromise on wall color - he wanted bright blue and I wanted grey. He declared grey not a "kid's color" while I said, "blue? Like on all the walls?" We have found a blue that I can live with nd matched it up with a paint chip and AB finally has agreed to let me do one wall grey - pointing out the fact that Leif will also have the blue dresser and there is a very real thing known as too much blue...

Those of you out there who whine that your husband's don't have an opinion on anything? The other side of the fence isn't so rosy either. Try decorating with a husband who fancies himself a decorator! (Those of you guys who know AB didn't know this, did you? Tease him, maybe I will get the decorating in my domain.)

So we have the wall color, we next addressed these cardboard cutouts... Which ones?

My vote is of course for Ahsoka - she rocks. And Yoda. Because you just HAVE to have Yoda. And while I love Commander Rex, he is toting a gun and since I am on the no play guns band wagon (slowly being pulled off by my son), I would rather stick with the light sabers.

Of course AB is the rational one and suggests we ask Leif.

"I want Obi Wan Kenobi," he says upon finding out there is no General Grievous.

"Amazon doesn't carry Obi Wan," I told him.

We left it at that and later I decided to search for other characters outside of my "go to seller" Amazon with my Prime shipping.

Sure enough I did find Obi Wan...

I made the executive choice to stick with the cartoon cutouts and not the photograph because I am sure that either Leif (or more likely me) would turn around and nearly pee my pants routinely seeing someone real behind me.

The real reason though? The Obi Wan photograph one would maybe have to go in our bedroom...

I kind of have a thing for Ewan.

Ok, so our Star Wars bedroom is well on its way to being planned out. I have the duvet cover I ordered from the UK because it is so much better than the ones you can get domestically. I have Clone Wars sheets - cheap rough things, but Leif will love them. And I have ordered the duvet insert (from Amazon).

Decorating kids rooms? SO very much fun!

(Skadi is much more adept to picking out pretty colors on the paint chips -- she gravitates to yellow and bright red.)

**For pictures of the completed room - alas without General Grievous since nobody carries the cardboard cut out of him much to my son's disappointment, check it out here.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Silver Mountain

Skadi riding the gondola. She loved the "airplane" and asked to go on it repeatedly.

AB and Leif skiing.

Skadi "helping" Leif ski.

AB is still smiling.

Wow... off the "moving carpet" all by himself! (Oh and btw... love the moving carpet!)

Hugs from Exi, consoling Skadi after discovering there are no bunnies on the "bunny slope".

Hangin' out by the black diamond runs.

Skadi lives up to her namesake - "Norse goddess of skiing and snow sports." She kept exclaiming, "Skadi ski now".

The water park was fun too.

The creature from the deep... (Leif likes to put on his snorkel and mask and float the lazy river - and he is freakishly good at it.)

Yes, my camera IS waterproof.
Leif and J

Skadi floating the lazy river. She ditched the tube shortly after and decided it was best to just float in the life jacket - and yell at mommy everytime I touched her. "SELF!" (Meaning, "I do it myself." This is all I hear out of her lately.)

"This is so much fun!"

"This is so neat!"

Going down the baby slide together.

Skadi and Exi at the water park.

It's raining, it's pouring

The rain was really coming down this evening when I went to get the kids. Seriously pouring.

NM: "Hey Leif, why does it rain?"

Leif: "Because it's cold."

(Ok, he didn't say "because it does" - moving in the right direction...)

NM: "Do you know where the rain comes from?"

Leif: "I do mommy! It comes from the rain forests. They are forests of trees full of rain and when you chop a tree with your ax, it rains. Lots of people are chopping trees with axes right now."

NM: "Where are these rain forests?"

Leif: "Well there's one in Apple Tree." (His daycare room.)

Okay then...


NM: "Skadi who did you play with today?"

Skadi: "Exi."

NM: "What did you play today?"

Skadi: "With Exi."

NM: "Did you play with Maddie today?"

Skadi: "And Exi."

NM: "Did you play with anyone other than Maddie and Exi?"

Skadi: "No, Exi."

NM: "Who is your best friend?"

Skadi: "Exi."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

An update of sorts

We have been a house of sickos since Sunday. Skadi spent Sunday afternoon throwing up, then it hit AB on Tuesday and finally landed on Leif and I last night late. He and I hung around the house today and recovered. I am hoping now that we are all on the mend and able to escape with healthy bodies this weekend. We have been talking about putting Leif on skis for a year now and if we don't take advantage of the snow now, it won't happen this year. We are meeting some friends with children of the same ages at Silver Mountain for a weekend of ski and water park. The plan is to put the boys in ski school Saturday morning and do a variety of things with the girls, go out and play in the snow and play at the water park and parents will rotate kid duty with skiing.

We are poor right now... or at least we don't want to spend money, so aside from the condo and the ski school for the boys, we are going budget style and cooking meals at the condos instead. I have a big list of stuff to get at the grocery store tomorrow. AB and I really need a mental break from both work (since we have both been high stress with work lately) as well as dealing with home stuff.

First things first though - thanks for all the thoughts and prayers for my mom. The tumor on her liver was cancerous, however was surgically removed in its entirety with clean margins. The cancer was the primary cancer and no other sources could be found. She will spend the next 5-6 weeks recovering and will be closely monitored from now till eternity for more tumors. We are praying that it was a single episode and not another will ever be found.

Speaking of praying, apparently we have been saying a lot of prayers for grandma. Skadi has taken to walking around and saying, "Grandma A-MEN!"

I am sure I speak for the collective that you don't realize how lucky and blessed you are to have people in your life until you are faced with the fact that we are all mortals. Really makes you step back and put things into perspective.

The last thing we are stressing right now about is our new house that we are to close on in a few short weeks. We have been working hard to pack our house up and get ready to move.

Of course wouldn't you know that SOMETHING had to pop up. When we first met with our agents they told us that "something different always pops up that you have to work through on a house, it never fails". Or something like that. My house was going to be the first for them that went smoothly.


Nearly two weeks ago I phoned our insurance company to get a quote on insurance. They phoned me later and asked that dreaded question, "did you know there was a claim filed on the house last July for water loss?"

I replied that I didn't know this.

And not a minor claim either, $21.8K.

This isn't just a pipe breaking, this is either major excavation for a ruptured main or complete removation of walls inside.

And not on the disclosures either.

The relo company we are purchasing from denies knowing anything and has said they would attempt to find the former owners.

Supposidly they have attempted, though we are skeptical since they keep responding that they can't find them when in the stack of documents we got from them has their names (which I Googled and found their current locale) as well as his business e-mail. Once I had our agent's blessing I popped an e-mail out there to him asking what the situation was.

We really want the house. AB who was once on the fence with the house is now in love with it, I have always thought it was the right house for us. So we want the house, we just want to know what happened and what we need to watch out for, who made the repairs and any warranty information.

So far, no news. This is not one of those cases where no news is good news. No news for us right now is a big red flag. What is being hidden?

We are stressed about what we are supposed to do now? Proceed with caution? Or jump ship?

Stay tuned.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Skadi counting to 10

Ok, so she was a littie distracted. Really she can do it. We had practiced a few times and I didn't realize she could do it on her own until we were at the doctor's office the other day and she sat in the waiting room and counted to 10 loudly so everyone could hear her.

Monday, February 09, 2009


When Leif was 2 years and 4 months we moved him into a twin sized bed. In order to entice him, my mom bought him Nemo sheets for his new bed since he was HUGE into "Finding Nemo".

We put the sheets on and I remember him being happy. But more of a happy like, "oh look someone put material with Nemo painted on it onto my pillow, neat."

(Nothing like the skis today.)

I was shopping at Target and found a set of Dora twin sheets on sale for $10 and grabbed them. Skadi doesn't have a twin yet, she is sleeping in the queen sized bed in her room. Because all second children get to do things earlier and get bigger, better things.

Ok, so the doing things earlier part is generally true. But she will be getting a twin bed when we move.

I washed the pillowcase and threw it on her pillow.

"DOWA!!!" She squealed. "DOWA PILLOW!" She pointed repeatedly to Dora.

Then she took her pillow and layed on it in the middle of the floor and slid around the floor. Praised Dora a little more and then hauled her new prized possession off.

Leif is a pretty even keeled kid. He is happy go lucky most of the time with a few dips and a few peaks. His dips don't last long and he quickly returns to his happy kid place.

Skadi has mood swings like a pendulum. She is way way up and way way down. I asked my mom if she got this from me - was I a moody little red haired girl?

Short answer? No.

Time to blame my husband's side of the family!

THE best

Getting into the car:

NM: "Hey Leif, there's a surprise for you in the back of the car."

He peeks over the seat.


NM: "Yep, they are for you." (Purchased used from my field services rep after his two kids plowed their way through them.)

Leif: "I LOVE THEM!"

Hitting our strides

I had to check our horoscope tonight. AB and I are both Cappies and when big things happen I like to go back and retroactively check to see if I should have seen it coming.

This is ours today: "Your vision is as clear as a bell today. It's time to finally make a big decision."

Ok, that says nothing. Because everything today had nothing to do with either of us making decisions. It's all about the fruits of our labor coming to fruition.

AB called to tell me that he was moving back into his old group and that yay, he didn't have to be the one to make that decision, it was being made for him. As it turns out, while he will be in his old group, he also may bump his head on the moon. He won't go back to working as a grunt in his group - nope he will be in a very visible position near the top of the ranks where he will "get to know upper management very quickly". He will be the final check for all the safety, industrial hygiene and environmental work on the entire site. It's huge.

Today I managed to hit eight of eight. Today mid-day I got an e-mail announcing that one of the concept papers I submitted to the client I swore I would never work for again made the cut.

Then five minutes later I got the second one. The second concept paper I sent them made the cut.

Five minutes later the last one arrived. All three concept papers I submitted made the cut and are now on the list for full proposal.

Three full proposal packages due March 13.

Two days after we close on our house.

Convenient, eh?

Oh and my eight of eight comment? This fiscal year I have submitted eight concept papers and all eight have been accepted for full proposal.

My funding stats aren't so pretty. The only two I have heard on weren't funded by the client. I will hear on the next three sometime in the next few weeks. And these last three? Sometime this summer. But if a couple of them make the grade than I will need to hire at least one post-doc.

My last kudo came when I got a phonecall from a manager with NASA who would like to come visit my team in the first part of March to discuss an opportunity to work with them on the upcoming proposed moon and Mars missions.

Yes, I did dance in my office.

And my team leads' use of profanity was strictly in a positive sense. "F---- YEAH!"

We rock.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

A Skadi Funny

We were having breakfast this morning when Leif decided to divulge what he got everyone for Valentine's Day.

"Daddy, I got you chocolates," he said. "And Skadi I got you candy."

Skadi pipes up:

"I want money," she says.

We all bust up laughing.

"You cannot convince me there isn't something in those girl genes," AB says.

Skadi reveling in the attention continues on...

"And jobs too!" she exclaims.

"And you can't tell me that the kids don't pay closer attention to the TV than we think!" I said to AB.

Fox News Sunday was on with ongoing debate on the economic stimulus plan.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The other child

So many of my recent blogs have been about Leif. Yes, I do have another child, a girl child, named Skadi.

She will be two in about a month and a half and has fully embraced the terrible two's.

I fear this is one of those times when I said repeatedly that the terrible two's didn't exist for Leif and that I didn't know where that statement came from - that karma is biting me hard. We will see what happens when Skadi hits two officially. I might be pleasantly surprised. Or not.

Skadi is at that funny stage where she is developing her own statements and mannerisms. She has this way with telling you something very important where she opens her eyes wide and nods her head as she tells you as if it is the most important thing she will ever say. And it is too freaking adorable.

She has a few trademarked statements, one that has stuck with

"NNnnnnnnnnnnO!" You have to really string out the "nnnn" part (for about three full seconds) and then a short but loud "O".

This is most often used in conjunction with another word.


"NnnnnnnnnnnnnO Weif!" is the most common phrase to hear leave her little lips. And she has to point her finger and shake it when she says it.

None of us can say no normally anymore.

There are two other words that she utters regularly:

Elmo. This one she has down pat and has for some time. She loves the furry red monster and for some reason even likes the mime's Mr Noodle and his brother Mr. Noodle. She regularly laughs at them and sighs, "Mr. Nooooodo!"

The other one is a new one - DoWa.

Leif kind of lived in his own world and didn't soak up much from other kids his age were into for a long time. I did say he used to right - because this isn't the case now. Leif went OCD with Curious George for well over a year. Before that it was Nemo. Then Monsters. He would watch one thing and one thing only forever, repeats and all. Then one day he would be done with it. And his preferences never had a bit to do with what other kids liked.

Skadi is a different beast. I put a Disney Princesses t-shirt on her that she received from family friends for Christmas. She actually smiled once the shirt was on her, pointed to her belly and said, "Princess shirt!" I didn't know she knew princesses.

Same thing with DoWa. Leif was playing Deigo and Dora games on NickJr the other day. Skadi walked up and quite loudly squealed, "DOWA!!"

So apparently she likes Dora. Leif has some competition for his TV time (finally) - maybe there will exist some balance with Transformers.

(Transformers, more than meets the eye. Transformers robots in disguise. Autobots rage their battle to destroy the evil forces of the decepticon! Transformers!)

Monday, February 02, 2009

Crafty Craving

Leif has been asking for a new blankey. He still loves his current one that I made him sometime before his first birthday. Around the house he is blankey attached hauling it everywhere with him.

My little Linus.

He used to occasionally haul it to school with him until the day a year or so ago when I got a note in my box telling me not to allow him to bring it anymore from his former teacher. So now it doesn't leave the house except when we go somewhere to spend the night.

He has been asking for a Star Wars blankey to go with his new Star Wars bedroom in the new house.

I am sure I can find Star Wars fleece at JoAnn's.

I just need to mentally prepare myself for this trip to JoAnn's. Fabric stores are my serious undoing.

I will go straight into the store and walk straight to the fleece. Pick out a Star Wars fabric with a grey fleece for backing and go straight to the cutting counter. Anyone have a pair of those horse blinders that race horses wear? Can I borrow them?

I will not walk by the embroidery floss and look at the fabulous colors and all the neat cross stitching gadgets (I have been aching to cross stitch big time).

I will in no way go look at yarn and knitting needles along with a "How to Knit" book to satisfy my current need to learn to knit cute little hats and scarves and maybe mittens too.

I would never flip open a pattern book to the page of cute little girl summer dress patterns.

And no I don't need any funky buttons for my old Pea coat that I just dug out.

And the last thing I need to think about making is a new quilt.


Maybe it is best if I just found Star Wars fleece online and ordered 2 yards??

Frustratus Maximus


I haven't been so frustrated in a long time.

I woke up this morning unable to speak. I squeaked instead. I couldn't order Leif to move quicker with any effectiveness so he missed TumbleBus. Oh well, he has two more opportunities to catch it.

I dropped Skadi off and yes, got to explain to the teachers that I could not speak.

I got to work and one of the guys on my project came to my door to find out why I had e-mailed instead of walking down the hall.

"Oh that's why!" he says within minutes. And proceeds to talk. And expect responses.

AB called and laughed when I answered the phone - then recommended that I not answer the phone anymore. I took him up on that suggestion. I ignored the phone ringing (pretty sure my neighbors wondered what was up with me) and then got messages and e-mailed people right back.

I had a teleconference at noon. THAT was going to be interesting since I phone in from my office. I e-mailed and let my coworker and the organizers that yes, I would be phoning in, but I had no voice.

They didn't really believe me or something. Normal protocal is that I phone in and after the beep you announce your name and company. I couldn't do it.

Suddenly the booming voice on the speaker says, "who just signed in, announce yourself".

I squeaked, "it's NM from XNL."

Of course it couldn't be dropped and a couple of the others on the telecon decided to ask me all sorts of questions then.

My afternoon was quiet.

Then I went and got Leif who thought it was HI-LARIOUS that I still couldn't talk. He took to whispering too.

"Speak up honey," I would squeak, "I can't hear you."

"You speak up too mommy," he would say, "I can't hear you either."


The worst of the whole day was going to get my haircut. I needed a haircut bad so I didn't want to cancel it. But try sitting in the chair unable to speak a word! My stylist took pity on me and made an effort not to ask too many questions.

AB got to do both bedtimes tonight since my reading abilities are on hiatus.

Hoping for a voice tomorrow!

Oh and I AM blaming this on my girlfriends, we yapped and yapped yesterday!

I really don't let Leif watch Big Love...

Leif told me this evening he is going to marry Cate, Niranjana and Sophia and they are going to have 146 babies.

"How are you going to feed all those babies?" I asked him.

"Well," he said with his hand on his hip, "they will just eat carrots."

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Where Darth Vadar lives...

There is this certain denomination that is pretty prevalant in my town. Other places I have lived you could allude to the denomination without risk of offering offense. Not here. I have absolutely no problem with the religion. I am not in the group that would declare "cult" or not be friends with someone from this religion. I am a somewhat religious person myself and I believe strongly in freedom of religion. I just don't happen to be on the side that shares their beliefs, not a big deal.

This particular religion built a large temple strategically located with the intention that it could be seen from any point within our area. I worked with a guy a few years ago who prided himself on the fact that their temple coule not be seen from his home. As I have said before, no problem here with the temple really and no problem that our new house is two blocks from it. You probably couldn't ask for better neighbors than a church.

See the problem comes though in that a few weeks ago I happened to mention in passing in the car, what one of Leif's best friends declared about that building:

"Darth Vadar lives there."

This one little statement has taken on a life of its own.

And it is only going to be worse now that we live right behind the temple.

This may be the reason that Leif's bedroom faces the opposite direction into the hills and NOT down the street towards the temple.

Now whenever we drive by there, we hear statements like, "did you see Darth Vadar yet?" or "Daddy and I are going to take our light savers and go find Darth Vadar" or "Darth Vadar lives there and he isn't going to scare me!"

(And AB rolls his eyes at me.)

I suppose someone will tell me this is how religious intolerance happens.

Really, I didn't mean to start this. And I am trying to nip it in the bud.

But it is sort of funny.