Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Skadi Stats

Skadi had her “well baby” appointment last week. Or she was supposed to be a well baby… she wasn’t really… she was sick with a cold/cough/fever baby. But she didn’t need shots, so that was great. The whole appointment was funny.

We arrived and Skadi bee lined for the toy area. Kinda old, icky, crud laden toys. But since they aren’t hers, they are ultra-fascinating. Whenever a nurse would come to take someone back Skadi would get up and walk to the door obediently. I would return her to the toy area. Then our nurse came to get us – who she knows – and she sat there playing and didn’t want to come back.

Fickle child.

They put us in the “procedure room” since one of the other rooms was having a light replaced.

Yep, that’s where you put a toddler, in a room with LOTS of exciting things sitting around.


The nurse got her stats and leaves. Skadi gets down from the table and says, “okay, all done now!” And she walks to the door.

Umm no. The doctor hasn’t come yet, that was the nurse. Then we did the wrestle the toddler in a so-not-babyproof room for 15 minutes. Not actually a bad wait.


Her doctor comes in and we talk. We talk new houses. We talk about our boys (she has three, I have one) and compare notes. Then we get to the girl at hand.

I answer all the questions, “yes she seems to be healthy”, “yes still in daycare”, “yes, she is pointing to items and saying what they are”.

“Skadi what is this?” Kristin asks her pointing to the chair next to me.

“I want to sit in the green chair!” she exclaims plain as day.

Kristin’s jaw dropped open. “She is VERY verbally advanced,” she tells me.

I think with the second child you (or at least I) quit looking at the metrics. I have forgotten for the most part when Leif hit little milestones, big ones I remember or I wrote about. But I am thinking, “really? She can talk well, yes, but that advanced?”

Kristin decided to push it a little, “Skadi what do you like to do?”

“I swim in the water with daddy,” she says.

“Ok then!” Kristin exclaims, “that was a 7 word sentence!” She goes on to tell us that with second children you often see extremes in language development. They are either more verbal because they listen to their older siblings and learn from them. Or they are less verbal because they don’t get a word in and the older child speaks for them.


It was a good appointment. Skadi was happy as she got a sticker and lollipop (yellow). She is taking after Leif in that her favorite color is yellow. The Peeps this year? All yellow. (I did buy orange and green for their baskets – maybe that means *I* will get to eat some!)

Oh and stats…

Weight – 27 lbs (she is finally up a few pounds instead of losing!) and 57th percentile

Height – 35” and 81st percentile.

And if the old wives tale is true… Skadi will grow to be 5’10”. I was a tall child too though – and height didn’t pan out for me.

Being PC

I had a funny thing happen at work today.

My team has been very busy. We have a demanding client who we love. In one year we have seen our $500K project with 5 people working on it balloon to a scope of between $6 to $10M and a team of about 20 people. It is a great team for the most part and they are busy working their butts off keeping our client happy.

I like keeping a foot on the technical side even though my main role is in management. So today I e-mailed one of the task leads and asked him if he wanted me to tackle a document that needed to be written up?

My phone rang about three minutes later and I picked it up.

"I love you," he says.

Then he stammers and says, "I can't believe I just said that, oh my goodness!" He goes on to tell me about another project he has and how busy he is (which I knew) and stammers through the 15 minute discussion while we agree that yes, I will tackle the document.

I didn't think much else about the conversation.

Then my phone range about 3 minutes before I was walking out the door and he admits that he has been preoccupied and upset with himself for what he said earlier and wanted to know if I was totally freaked out?

I told him that I took his statement as I thought he had intended it, i.e., a huge relief that I was going to take something off his plate that needed to be completed. And truth be told I didn't think anything otherwise until he started correcting himself. And even then - I knew what he had really meant, I didn't suddenly start thinking "J loves me!"

That 5 second comment from a stressed out person in a work place had him so worried about being fired that he had to clear the air. Which was fine. But for a second there I wondered what we are coming to - or what we have become that we have to worry so much about context.

And then I remember back to another project I worked on. Sigh. The one where the guys would walk in the lab and announce to me, "hey honey, I am home". And how tired I got of being "the woman of the group" and when it started dawning on me that as a post-doc my role should have never been "procurements".

So maybe the rules there are for a reason. Even though my former group toed that line far more than my task lead did today through purposeful comments.

Shades of grey.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Skadi got up this morning and the very first thing out of her mouth was, “I want hot cocoa and go swimming!”
Apparently one of us says “just a minute please” fairly often because Skadi has taken to replying “minutes pees” whenever she feels rushed.
“I DID IT!” is Skadi’s exclamation. I think she gets this from Dora. She is very much into her independence, we routinely hear from her, “my do it” when she doesn’t want any help.
And when she says that you may as well get up and walk off and leave her, because it may drive you insane not to offer an eensy bit of help to her, which will just result in a complete body flailing meltdown. After a little while she will give in and come request help.
Occasionally though she surprises us and manages to get herself dressed or do complicated tasks that we think no 2 year old should be able to do.
Then she exclaimes, “I did it!”
And then she does the “I-did-it-dance” whereby she wiggles her body around, bobs her head up and down and rotates her right arm in a circle (as though she was stirring a bowl).
And it is quite addictive. AB and I both find ourselves declaring “I did it!” and you may even get a glimpse of the dance out of one of us.
(Must stop providing source of entertainment for coworkers.)

Not so mysteriously absent

And the packing continues, and continues…

Actually this weekend I got a lot of packing done, not much else, but a lot of packing. I am actually finding the packing to be somewhat cathartic. I like the process of cleaning everything out, of sorting and purging. AB has even gotten in trouble a few times for packing things that I wanted to tackle.

But okay, that phase is nearly behind me. Now I am to the just dump it all in a box stage and my mother in law is working hard on that aspect for me today.

Nearly nothing about this process is going smoothly. Once we surmount one hurdle we have another thing pop up. Last week we finished off the inspection documents and the whole water damage thing only to have an appraisal pop up. After being told for weeks that we didn’t need one, the underwriter changed their minds at the last minute. Seriously last minute. Like as in send my husband reeling over the edge last minute. Like last minute in may not be able to close on time, last minute.

All the ranting at least resulted in one thing good, we at least don’t have to pay for the appraisal now.

Our biggest issue that no one seems to get is that we don’t want to move on the weekend. Yes, we have wonderful friends who we can shuttle our kids around to. But we value our time with our kids and want to be in the house getting them settled in, not moving.

We will see what happens.

In other news, I am driving to Oregon to pick up “Skeeter” on Sunday. Her new name is tentatively going to be Freya, named by AB. We keep repeatedly nixing “Obi Wan Kenobi” as her new name. (That one really isn’t bad though compared to the prior options.)

Thank you Leif.

One day at a time. Today I have successfully made it through work obligations. We will see what tomorrow holds.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Adoption proceedings

We have been so busy lately with readying ourselves for our new house that my blogs have been few and far between. I hit on a number of things to blog about nearly every day, it just seems to be a matter of having the time to sit down and write about it. Our house is a mess of boxes and whatever time I have in front of the computer is quickly translated into a need to get up and put things in boxes out of fear that the day is going to arrive that the movers will be here and we will not be prepared.

In the midst of all of that some of you know (those of you on Facebook mainly)… and some of you don’t know… that we will be adding to our family.
And this will be happening potentially this weekend.
We have one last hurdle to clear in our adoption process… a home study.
I can't help but compare this process to our friends’ adoption process of their daughter from India and am happy it is moving quickly. But at the same time I am amazed how long our process is taking given that our addition to the family runs on four legs and not two.

Looks like Winny, huh? But it's not.

Meet "Skeeter".

My mom told me about picking her cat out at the pound and the works of art who came in to adopt at the pound and how no one is checked thoroughly – like a couple who brought in a dog to surrender it and left with another dog they “just couldn’t resist”. Umm hello. You dropped a dog off. This isn’t Blockbuster movie rentals.

I can understand why the process to adopt a child is ridiculously long as far as dealing with lawyers and sometimes other countries and all the hoops and hurdles. We are talking about a person here. But when it comes to a dog? Really, how much worse can adoptive wannabe doggy parents be comparatively? (Hoping that doesn't make me sound insensitive to dogs.)

About a year ago we filed application with the BSCA (Belgian Sheepdog Club of America) for a Rescue dog. We filled out the paperwork and then did an hour long phone interview with a volunteer from BSCA. She also talked to our vet and Vargasgirl confirming that we were up and up people. Not the type to take a dog and abandon or abuse it.

I don’t think I ever really thought anything would come of our application. We were told Rescue Belgians are few and far between because as a purebred, they are a sought after breed. They are not a common breed and people who seek out Belgians as pets most often have experience with the breed and not to mention the copious amount of money a purebred Belgian puppy costs. You know those wasteful spending reports? The ones that cite your city spending ridiculous amounts on a police dog? They aren’t that far off base given that many are Belgians.

This one is Winny. We bought her for $50 out of a box of puppies at 10 weeks old. She isn't purebred - she is 75% Groenendahl and 25% Siberian Husky - or at least that's what we were told. Her Belgian stands out big time, even people who know Belgian's don't usually pick up on her bit of Husky until told and then you can see it in her face, she doesn't have nearly such fine features of a Belgian.

We were told there are more people who want a Rescue Belgian than there ever will be dogs. Plus the fact that we requested strict screening of any potential dogs – they have to be friendly with children, other dogs and a big nearly 20 lb cat. Rescue dogs often have issues and so the likelihood of all this coming together might require an act of a higher power.

So I guess when I saw Skeeter from just outside Boise, Idaho on the BSCA webpage last week I thought she was a long shot. There for about a millisecond I told myself we have so much on our plate right now, how could we adopt another dog too? Then the whole act of a higher power thing kicked in and I knew I had to at least try.

I e-mailed hoping to get our name in the queue and was told our application must have been lost, she couldn’t find it (which was why we hadn’t received a phone call). At this point I admitted my husband what I had done and waited to have him roll his eyes at me. But he agreed that it seemed right and if we don’t jump on this now, we may not get another opportunity. It wasn’t long before they found our application and we had phone interview number two.

That was almost as long as phone interview number one.

This Saturday after swimming the coordinator for the Pacific Northwest phoned and chatted with AB. Her concern, that was not really addressed in our phone interviews, was about our dog Winny. How will Winny handle a new dog?

AB tried not to laugh, remembering that none of them has met our big soft hearted lump of a dog. They don’t see how invigorated and happy she is to meet other dogs on our walks. They don’t see that at nearly age 10, a companion would do her a world of good and may reinvigorate (we hope) our old girl. AB talked about how well Winny will do with a companion and agreed that yes, certainly she could surprise us and reject another being moving in on her turf, but it is unlikely and something we would have to deal with regarding any dog, like one of these furrballs that was born about 4 weeks ago instead - whose webpage kept beckoning me.

This one looks JUST like Winny did as a puppy.

I guess he satisfied the coordinator since our next phone call was to the foster mom in Boise.

This call I made. She told me about "Skeeter", she is crate trained, but not housetrained. (Ugh.) Was probably a malnourished backyard dog and really just needs some love. She strives to please and to interact with people – to the point of chewing through her tie to go be near people a few weeks ago. She is very intelligent, learned to sit and heel within about 30 minutes. She told us they had rejected one adoption request to ship her to the east coast and another adoption request from 100 miles away because the woman didn’t have a fence. She also then asked if we could take her this weekend?

I wasn’t quite ready for that since I was hoping to be in the new house before taking her, but since that package was presented to us and includes transporting the dog here to minimize our travel, we will take it. Dogs are resilient, I am sure moving into a new home and then into another new home in less than a week will be the least of what "Skeeter" has been through in her 15 months.

We had our home study this evening where Winny was tested at the new house with another young dog. She passed with flying colors and the home study volunteer said a few times he wasn't quite sure what he was doing there, the house was great, yard was great and Winny obviously loved companionship. Now Winny will have a sibling… or a daughter… or best friend... hopefully not nemesis.

The last bit to figure out (aside from what color of collar to buy her) is her name. One of my coworkers (who does dog rescue) insists that we change her name from "Skeeter" saying she will learn quickly her new name and the poor dog should not be known for the rest of her life as an annoying bug. I kind of agree, it would also symbolize a new start for her. “Skeeter” isn’t a name I would have picked out, but is better than some Leif has come up with so far. (Ba-doopa, Parumba and this morning found Leif very obsessed with genitalia in coming up with names… lovely.) AB and I discussed Freya this evening as an option (sticking with the Nordic theme).

Any name ideas that do not involve references to genitalia (aka four year old potty humor) would be most appreciated!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

4.5 going on 14

NM: "Look Leif, your new shoes are here!"

Leif: "Cool! Open them!"

We open them up.

Leif: "Are they Skechers?"

NM: "No, they are Keens."

Leif: "But I wanted Skechers."

NM: "Well Keens are better then Skechers."

Leif: "No, they aren't. Bridger has Skechers and they are black and orange and I want shoes like his."

NM: "Well I am sorry. I thought you would like these."


AB: "I hear you got new shoes?"

Leif: "Yep, but they aren't Skechers."

AB: "Well maybe when you wear out these shoes you can get some Skechers."

Leif: "I am going to go find some on the computer and find some Skechers."


NM: "Leif what are you doing?"

Leif: "Reeelaaax mom."

AB: (stifling laughter.)

Beefing Up

I don’t think we had really paid attention to the fact that beef has been dwindling in our diets until last night. I cook a lot of fish and chicken during the weeknight. However, beef, aside from one or two standby dishes each month (mainly tacos), is mysteriously absent.

Part of it is the fact that I do most of the weeknight cooking and aside from browning up ground beef on occasion I don’t tend to buy or cook beef often. It isn’t that I don’t like beef – I actually love beef, far more than chicken, which given complete power over my family would probably also become a rarity on our plates. But AB likes chicken breasts and the kids will eat chicken. So I cook chicken.

My husband tends to be a touch obsessive about how meat is cooked. By meat, I mean beef in general, large cuts of pork, chicken breasts (only ever grilled) and fish (though I can get away with searing tuna and halibut inside on my grill pan lately). Not only should most meat be cooked over hot charcoal according to AB, but it should also be of a certain quality and have a yet indescribable appearance to it - an appearance that I will likely never understand. I have only a touch more success picking out beef at the grocery store then I do fish.

Anyways, getting a meal on the table that came from a charcoal BBQ takes time – and my kids don’t like to wait for dinner on weeknights. I don’t like them to wait for dinner either because then I find myself being forced to say “No” repeatedly. “No you may not have fruit snacks”, “No you may not have cookies”, “No you may not fix soup or eggs”. Etc.

Last night I was making a quick jambalaya (Zatarains) for AB and I. My kids are wusses and cry when they eat anything hot. So tonight was a night when they got to pick their dinner. I asked Leif what he wanted.

“I want rice, corn, two crackers and a steak,” he declared.

I nearly stopped in my tracks. So just to confirm, I asked him:

“You want steak?” I asked.

See Leif is not a protein kid at all. He has never cared for meat and in the past couple years we have resorted to holding his dessert (i.e., his before bed snack intended to get food in his tummy so he doesn’t wake up at 2am hungry) hostage until he has eaten his meat. It is a battle every single night.

“Yes, I need steak,” he declared.

I picked up the cell phone knowing AB was on his way to Albertsons to get Andouille sausage.

“Hey, would you also pick up a small steak we can panfry for Leif, he says he wants steak,” I relay to AB.

“NOT a SMALL steak,” a voice came from the back seat of the car, “a BIG steak, I need a BIG steak.”

“Ok,” I tell AB, “you heard him, he wants a big steak.”

My kid was asking for a food he normally won’t eat well, I was going to indulge him.

AB also apparently decided that HE was going to indulge Leif as well. He brought home a 0.8 lb Ribeye. A big steak. And not only that, but a good steak. I tell you, AB has standards.

We then spent the next 20 minutes debating on how to cook the steak for Leif – seasonings and method, because we weren’t starting charcoal for the BBQ’er.

In the end it was seasoned with Alder smoked salt and pepper and then pan fried in my grill pan (which AB balked big time when I bought it from IKEA, but we actually use pretty regularly) with a little olive oil for about 1 minute on each side and finished in the oven for a nice medium rare finish.

And it was tasty! I almost wished I was eating steak instead of jambalaya.

Ok, I did wish I was eating steak instead of jambalaya.

Leif chowed his slices eating probably about a third of the steak. Another third AB and I nibbled at and we tossed the last part into the fridge. We talked briefly last night wondering if Leif was craving steak because he needed it, was he maybe anemic? We have fought anemia with Skadi for the last year. Maybe we just need to eat more red meat?

This morning when we got up I asked Leif what he wanted for breakfast today.

“Steak, eggs and a banana,” he answered.

So he had steak, eggs and a banana.