Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Question for Worm Farmers

Just in case there are any worm farmers out there ... I'm pretty sure spontaneous generation/abiogenesis is about as valid a scientific explanation for the generation of creatures as Young Earth Creationism, so I'm a bit mystified as to where all the worms in our compost are coming from.

We have a Tumbleweed compost maker; it sits above the ground; we put grass clippings, kitchen peelings, etc., in, but no worms as far as I know ... yet the thing is full of worms. If the compost touched the ground, I could see how worms would make their way in, but it's (mostly) sealed and not touching the ground.

I'm glad; it's a sign that things are going well with the compost (in fact, we need to empty what's in it into the yet-to-be-planted tomato bed), but where did the worms come from?

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Monday, May 29, 2006

Old States, New States

(Map via World66)

For Evelin and me, there were no new states, but Celeste added one to her total visited (that's her map above; 16 states, 31% of the 50 States + D.C.) and Quinn (who, until Thursday, we're pretty sure hadn't been out of Maryland) now has five states (9%). However, during our trip down to Montreat, North Carolina, for a family wedding, I realized that I had not, in fact, ever been to Asheville before, so that was new for me. Also, we had a worry that we wouldn't be able to count Tennessee for Celeste if she slept through the entire state, but she woke up around Kingsport, giving her a good 15 minutes in The Dollywood State.

We left Thursday morning a little past 6:00 a.m. and the drive down went pretty well. Google Maps pegged the trip at about 10 hours, going though Richmond, VA. Mapquest, using the same route put it at closer to eight hours. Yahoo! Maps trimmed about 15 minutes off that by having us travel west to I-81 and going south from there. AAA offered a similar route, but pushed us through Tennessee to approach Montreat from the west instead of using I-77 to go to I-40.

Since our usual route toward Atlanta had been via I-95, Richmond, and I-84, we decided to go the western route — both for a change of pace and because my folks had come up from Louisiana that way and said they liked it better than the trip down I-95 to Atlanta. I also thought AAA might have some insider knowledge about construction on I-40 though North Carolina and was routing us west to avoid that.

It turns out, AAA's issue was that they were taking us to Asheville. During one of our stops for Quinn to nurse and Celeste to play, I looked over the maps and had the sudden remembrance that even though Montreat was on the AAA Asheville and Vicinity map, it wasn't in the database when I ordered the TripTik so I put in Asheville instead. If I'd put in Black Mountain, AAA might well have routed us the way we ended up going, via I-77.

In the end, it took about nine hours, about an hour-and-a-half of which was stops, with some good sleeping from both girls.

My mother's family spent bits of some summers in Montreat, and we'd been there for a week or so once when I was a kid. I remembered it as being a lot bigger, but it still was really neat. The house we stayed in had a creek running through the backyard, and while Celeste was content to drop rocks and sticks into it from a small footbridge, my nieces splashed their way up and down it within minutes of arriving on Friday.

Part of the gang in Flat Creek

Ninoo & Quinn on the bank of Flat Creek

Thursday was unprogrammed as far as the wedding went for us, so Evelin, Celeste, Quinn, and I were able to visit with my folks for a while and then settle in for the evening. Friday was the rehearsal dinner — no kids allowed; so Evelin ended up staying home with Celeste, Quinn, A--- and L--- (our nieces), and the babysitters. Since we don't have great stores of pumped breastmilk and since we didn't bring the pump, it was easiest for Evelin to skip the dinner and to stay home with Quinn. She hoped to slip away to the party once Quinn went down for the night, but it dinna end up happening.

Saturday we had our first bit of tire karma. Flashing back to Thursday: On the drive down, we passed a truck towing an Airstream. One of the back tires on the trailer was either flat or at least 80% deflated, but the driver didn't seem to know. His window was down, so as we passed, we slowed down to match speeds and Evelin yelled out the window to him that one of the tires looked flat. He thanked us and pulled off at the next exit. We joked a bit about how that might be a not-too-efficient way get traffic off the highway long enough for us to pass, but then Evelin invoked the idea of tire karma — she'd want someone to let her know if she hadn't noticed a flat, and it could only help the person out.

Back to Saturday: We'd all gone down to the park, and because of all the kids we were in the T.R.U.C.K. and my brother's SUV. Celeste and her cousins did some playing together, but we all ended up at different places and different times. As we were all leaving, Celeste was distracted by a playstrucutre and the others went ahead. By the time Evelin, Celeste, Quinn, and I got to the parking lot, we saw my parents — on their way to a brunch we were skipping — and one of my cousins talking. Apparently, my brother, A---, had noticed we had a flat tire. My folks had stopped to talk to him, and they decided to wait by the T.R.U.C.K. until we got to the parking lot while he ran N--- and the girls back to the house. A--- planned to come back to help me with the tire once that was done.

I turned out we caught a nail in the tire, so with the spare on, I took Evelin, Celeste, and Quinn home and then headed in to Black Mountain to find someone to fix it. After a little driving around, I found a Chevy dealership that was open and had a free service bay. Within 45 minutes or so, I was on my way home ... which was a good thing because Celeste had left her Blankie in the car and was overdue for a nap.

With the excitement over, we got ready for the rest of the day: the 4:00 p.m. wedding in Black Mountain followed by the reception in Montreat.

The wedding was beautiful, at least what I got to see of it; Celeste was getting more and more fidgety and while she might have lasted a bit longer, I took the opportunity of everyone standing during the first hymn to move her to the lobby. It was a very well-attended ceremony (and I really should mention that R--- and S--- make a wonderful couple), and there was an overflow crowd in the lobby, so after a little while and a few outbursts about "Mumma car!" we ended up moving to the library. About 15 minutes later, I thought I heard Quinn and, a moment after that, she and Evelin were ushered into the library. After getting them settled for a diaper change, I slipped out to pick up the carseat/bucket were we'd left it in the lobby and (almost literally) ran into the happy couple.

Since Quinn was ready to sleep, we decided to not head directly to the reception; instead Celeste, Quinn, Evelin, and I headed out to the interstate and cruised an exit or two toward Asheville before turning back and heading to the reception.

At the inn, there was a little area of the party set aside for kids; Celeste zoomed in on the gluesticks and foam shapes and went into some very focused play. Sleeping Quinn was put in a back corner of the area where the person in charge promised to watch over her. It wasn't too long before she woke up and ended up being passed from relative to relative, and Celeste eventually came out looking for something to eat, too. As the reception went on, Celeste really got into the jazz trio; sitting down in front of the saxophonist and occasionally getting up to dance. She also walked me around and around and around the inn looking for I'm not sure what. She also managed to deliver her congratulations to R--- and S---: "Happy Wedding Day!" [MP3].

After the reception, we headed back to the house only to find that the repaired tire was flat again. After some discussion of tire karma and whether or not it was worth it, Evelin and Celeste took the stroller and walked back to the house while the sleeping Quinn and I stayed to swap out the flat tire for the spare. Of course, Quinn woke up part way into the changeover. As I tried to bounce back and forth between soothing Quinn and loosening lugnuts, I hear a familiar voice, S---, my cousin A---'s husband, and his youngest daughter walking back to their house. Since they were just two houses away from our place, S--- offered to walk Quinn up to Evelin (apparently, she fell asleep within a few minutes of getting out of the car). I finished swapping the tires in enough time to see S--- and L--- walking back down the street.

Once I was home, it was time for Celeste's bath and a bit of a discussion as to where she would sleep that night. She was in her Pack 'n Play in the room next to us, but that room also opened up to the back porch, which was where a lot of family would be after the reception. After debating our room (but what if Quinn needed to go down when Celeste as in the in-bed-but-not-asleep stage of things); or my folks' room (but my mom was staying to the bitter end of the reception and would want to change and what if Celeste was in the in-bed-but-not-asleep stage of things); or her cousins' room (but they would rather play with her than let her sleep, and what if they needed to get into the room when Celeste was in the in-bed-but-not-asleep stage of things); ... so she ended up back in her room and did fine.

One prebath incident: Since we are working on potty training, we brought Celeste's potty with us and were offering it to her throughout the weekend. One time she even stopped eating to say she needed to use the potty and we made it there successfully. Saturday, before her bath, I asked her if she needed to go before getting into the tub and she said yes. Afterwards, she excitedly got up and grabbed the bowl to dump the urine into the toilet to flush (she loves the flushing) and ended up dumping it right on me. Sigh.

On Sunday, we decided it'd be better to have a day at home to try to reestablish routines for the girls, so we packed up and headed out around nap time. I was getting some worry about not having a spare tire (and the spare that was on the T.R.U.C.K. did look a little low), so we tried to see if there was anyplace open on Sunday that might be able to fix things. In the end, we shaped up a plan — we'd go home via Asheville and Tennessee, stopping at a Sears to have the tire fixed. We also made sure to check the pressure in the spare and other tires before getting on I-40.

Of course, as we exited from I-240, Celeste nodded off and Quinn was fast asleep. Since the spare was looking fine (and since I'd filled the flat tire with air, thinking it would hold without the weight of the T.R.U.C.K. on things, so that we could hopefully make it to the next exit if there was a problem with the spare), we decided not to wake the kids and continued on our way. Good decision, and the view coming in to Tennessee at Sams Gap was gorgeous.

The rest of the trip home was pretty uneventful. It did take longer than the way down, in part because of a slightly longer route via Asheville and Tennessee, but also because we had to make more and longer stops for the kids. Around the half-way point, Celeste started saying she didn't want to go home; instead saying "Celeste, Ninoo house," which was how she referred to the house we stayed at in Montreat. (This was pretty much the reverse of our first night in that house, when Celeste kept telling my folks "Bye. Celeste. Home. Home.")

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

On the Road Again

I didn't end up taking off for lunch until around 1:00 p.m. today, but I did manage to get in another bike ride. Instead of rehashing the same path I rode Monday, I looked over a few Google maps, found a way through some neighborhood streets I've never been on to a park with a hiker-biker trail and headed out. Pretty soon, I remembered why I hate the Virginia suburbs. Actually, it's probably a good use of land — fairly dense development that fits the topography of the land while preserving some close-in green space — but I have a lot of trouble with cul-de-sac after cul-de-sac after cul-de-sac.

Needless to say, I got lost. I eventually found the trail I was looking for, but I'm not sure what part of it, because it dinnae connect up with Holmes Run like I expected it to, and I ended up twisting through another bit of circa-1975 suburbia. I eventually saw the back of a tall building near my office and found my way back to a road I knew, but I'm going to have to either (a) stick to routes I know I know or (b) find (and bring with me) a better map ...

Still, taking some rough guesses as to what roads I traveled on, I think I only went about 4.5 miles and since I was a bit skittish about heading off in a different direction, I ended up only going out for about a half hour.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Things are a bit hectic, but here's a little of what's going on ...

On the potty front ... Celeste has now gone five times (all number 1) in the potty; the promise of a sticker has proved beneficial. The most recent time, not only did she go potty, but we were downstairs and she signed TOILET and started running for the stairs. We got up to the potty, and about three pages into A Potty for Me! she popped up to check out what was in the potty. (And between when I started this entry and now, we've had bathtime and a sixth potty success ...)

On the head front ... Quinn is doing well with no signs of ill effect from her fall. However, on Sunday afternoon, Evelin noticed a giant goose egg on her head (on the side opposite the one that hit the floor in the fall). We were perplexed and worried, but decided to wait to call the doctor on Monday since she was acting normal. We still don't know for certain, but best I can figure is that she may have gotten it when the flung herself forward and headbutted my chin. (On Monday, the doctor, via telephone, agreed and said that we needn't come in or get a CAT scan.) Hopefully this will be Quinn's last head blow for a long time to come ...

On the bike front ... Yesterday, I managed to get out for a midday ride, about 634 miles (according to the really cool USA Track & Field running routes tool). I think as I better figure out where some of the roads and paths connect up around work, I can find some longer/better/different routes, but that stretch of the W&OD Trail was nice; in addition to a bunch of cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) and other birds, I saw one rabbit (eastern cottontail Sylvilagus floridanus) along side the trail (which isn't as cool as Evelin, Celeste, and Quinn's sighting of a common gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) on the trail to the Anacostia, which despite its name isn't too common ...)

On the baseball front ... (fantasy baseball, that is) after a few swooft trades, I have pretty much assembled the 2006 Red Sox as my fielders (with Orlando Cabrera at short). I can't pry Schilling, Papelbon, or Beckett away from the other teams, so my pitching is a hodgepodge of Sox, former Sox, and other guys who can get me some points. However, Evelin insists that if I'm playing fantasy baseball, I should have a more mixed team — plus, if I did that, I wouldn't feel obliged to start them every day and do risky things like keep Foulke in the lineup every day for fear of jinxing the real world Sawx.

On the non-fantasy baseball front ... how 'bout them Sawx?

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

They Love a Parade ...

This morning, our town marked it's 120th anniversary with a parade. There were several marching bands, some fire trucks, a few clowns, a step team, a lot of politicians (two of who were already getting my vote, two of whom there's no way I'm voting for, and several others who I haven't made up my mind about), and — best of all — a doggie drill team.

Evelin and Celeste headed down there close to the start time, while I stayed home with the napping Quinn. About 11:30, as the parade was reaching Evelin and Celeste's spot on the sidewalk, Quinn started to wake, so I put her in the BabyBjörn and headed out to meet them. (She fell back asleep on the walk.)

The doggie drill team was from Greenbelt Dog Training and they had the dogs and people marching in formation and doing turns and tricks in unison. Evelin remembered them from the previous year's parade; I hadn't seen them before, but it was pretty funny.

Sadly, there were no Shriners or synchronized lawnmowing teams ...

Big Girl

Not only is Celeste getting bigger, she's acting bigger and making some strides towards toilet training. We got her her potty a while ago, but she's only had passing interest in it.

Last night, while in her bath, Celeste said she was going to the toilet, so I asked her if she wanted to use her potty and, surprisingly, she said yes. Nothing happened, but she happily sat naked on it for a little while, reading Mimi's Toes (the book that helped coax her back into the bathtub). This morning, after breakfast and as I was getting her dressed for the day, before putting on her diaper and clothes, I asked Celeste if she wanted to try sitting on her potty. She said, "Mimi's Toes?" and I said sure, and she ran to the bathroom. It took her a moment to settle (and she signed BATH a few times), but pretty soon there was some action in the potty. Much praise and a sticker later, she was dressed and ready for the day.

As Celeste was getting ready for her nap this afternoon, I heard Evelin say that her diaper was dry, so I yelled up the stairs to try the potty. A few moments later: A second instance of potty use, more praise, and another sticker.

The 50,000th Visitor

And on a more ridiculous note: I've been watching my site meter knowing that the 50,000th visitor was due soon. As Evelin fed Celeste a post-parade/pre-nap snack, I clicked on my site ... and, voilà, I have met my 50,000th visitor and he is me. There's something perverse about that.

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Friday, May 19, 2006

Take Your Bike to Work Day

Actually, it's National Bike-to-Work Day, but mine was already there ... where it is being as sadly neglected as it was in the basement.

Years upon years ago, when I started working where I do now, I took that paycheck from my previous employer that crossed over with the first paycheck at my new place and bought a new hybrid, an Iron Horse model that's no longer made (although the Adventure looks like it might be comparable — I'll have to check more closely when I'm back in the office Monday). It was an indulgence, but the old Huffy I moved up to D.C. with was way too heavy, awkward, and stolen.

I never was a hardcore (or softcore for that matter) bike rider, but I did enjoy going out for a cycle and the D.C. area has a lot of good bike trails. I even commuted from my old apartment to work a few times, but the roads between there and our current house aren't conducive to bicycle commuting and the trails head in the wrong direction.

Since Celeste arrived, I think I'd had one opportunity to go for a ride, so while I was on paternity leave I cooked up what seemed like a good plan: I'd leave my bike at my office and I could go for a ride during lunch on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (Tuesday and Thursday being the days I leave early to watch the girls). It'd give me a chance for some exercise and, since we don't have showers in our building, I would stink so much no one would want to bother me/drag me into a meeting in the afternoons. Bonus.

As soon as I started back at work, I brought the bike in and dropped it off with the shop across the street for a tune up/clean up. Last Friday, after 4:00 p.m., it was finally ready and I took it for a short spin (basically about 10 blocks out of my way to get back to the office).

Since then ... nada. Monday, raining; Wednesday, hospital; today, rain. Hopefully, the weather will straighten out soon so I can stop looking like some poseur with a bike in his office ...

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Ambulance Ride

So, yesterday ... that was an adventure. Around 11:30 a.m., I'm in my office trying to finish some write ups of products that won awards at a recent convention when my cellphone rings. It's Evelin, calling to say that she'd dropped Quinn on her head and that they were going to the hospital.

That's the sort of thing that doesn't quite register at first.

She actually sounded fairly calm (she later said she'd worked hard to compose herself), and I thought she was joking or something. I paused waiting for the punchline. Then, I asked if she needed me to come home.

It only took a second to realize how stupid that was — simultaneously, I started figuring out some of what I was being told — and I was quickly off the phone telling the one or two people who were near by that I was leaving and then running out the door.

As I got to I-395, I realized I wasn't sure where I needed to go. When Celeste had the dislocated elbow, we took her to Holy Cross (where our pediatricians are affiliated), but this time I had Children's Hospital in my mind. I called Evelin, but got her voicemail, so I next called G---, who'd been tapped to help watch Celeste while Evelin and Quinn went away, and she didn't know where they were going. About that time Evelin beeps through and confirms that they were en route to Children's.

About 25 minutes later, I pull up next to the Hospital for Sick Children's* and realize I'm not in the right place. Ten minutes later, I'm not-quite-yelling at the parking attendant to tell me where to park and then not-quite-yelling at him to tell me how to get to the lobby.

I get through the gauntlet of regular lobby and the emergency room lobby — I was told to "calm down, dad; you are dad, right?" twice while the triage nurse called back and asked someone if the dropped baby she had was a one-month old — and the associated security guards to find Evelin nursing Quinn in one of the exam rooms. They'd been there a little while, but hadn't been formally examined yet.

A little later, a resident showed up and ran through a bunch of questions and a basic exam. Her verdict was that things looked okay; that Quinn was acting like a normal newborn at a newborn exam, but that the doctor would be by later to give his opinion. About an hour later, he showed up, was a little concerned about some of the swelling above Quinn's eye, and then said that he wanted to observe her for another hour or two before deciding if we should go home or for a CAT scan.

Long story short: Quinn is fine (although I guess we won't know 100% for certain until she takes her SATs); babies are pretty resilient; infants cannot get concussions (per the resident); a fall from waist-high (Evelin was taking Quinn out of the sling and she slipped) even on to hardwood flooring is scary and potentially dangerous, but not automatically so; and Quinn is fine (that one's important enough to mention twice).

As I mentioned earlier today, Quinn had her one-month check up already scheduled for this afternoon, so our pediatrician had a look at her today and affirmed the ER's verdict: Quinn is doing well.

Evelin is also doing well, although in my bone-headed attempt to be funny I made an inappropriate baby-dropping joke last night that dinnae go over well. Today, Evelin was cracking wise, so she's doing better, too.

Oh, and for those keeping track, this was Eveln's second ambulance ride and Quinn's first. Neither Celeste nor I have ridden in an ambulance.

Now I just need to figure out how to better organize in my mind where all of the area hospitals are ...

The Wary Quinn
*Apparently the Hospital for Sick Children just changed its name to the Health Services for Children Pediatric Center (although the signage outside the place still has the old name). The new name sounds pretty clinical, and while it's "nicer," it's hardly as evocative as the old name.

Me going to the wrong hospital is also reminiscent of a long time ago, before Evelin and I were dating, when she ended up in the emergency room with a broken clavicle after a car-door collision while biking. D---, her boyfriend at the time, called and left a message on my answering machine asking if I could pick them up at the hospital (neither of them had a car).

However, D---'s message said "the hospital by Howard University." I had no idea what hospital he meant. I drove to Howard and checked the ER there; when Evelin wasn't there, I asked the nurse what other hospital was around there. She wasn't much help. I went home and started calling around, but Washington Hospital Center (where they were), Georgetown, George Washington, no one had a record for her. I went and sat outside Evelin's building, hoping they'd show up, but no luck.

After I finally went home, I got another call saying they'd taken a cab home, but we never figured out why WHC didn't have a record when I called ... after going through Children's (which is on the same campus as WHC, but I don't know if they're otherwise affiliated), I'm guessing the desk I was talking to couldn't patch in to see the ER records or something ...

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Big Girl

Evelin just called from the pediatrician's office (I'm home guarding over Celeste's nap): At her one-month check up, Quinn is: 10 pounds, 4 ounces; 22 inches long; and has a head circumference of 15 inches. All is well (which is good considering yesterday ...)

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Diff'rent Strokes

It violates my New Year's resolution about not post-dating blog entries, but I started this on Tuesday and didn't get to post it until now ...

Not that there's anything wrong with it, but Quinn and Celeste are really different little kids — how they eat, how they sleep, how they generally get through the day. I know it's no surprise that a toddler and an infant are different creatures, but I'm thinking of how Celeste was when she was an infant vs. how Quinn is ...

Sleeping in Cars: Celeste was never a fan; Quinn ... well, today I got home, she was fussy, Evelin said to take her for a ride and before I was outside of the Beltway, she was asleep. About 5 minutes after I got home, she started to wake again, so it was back on the road and we made a big loop from Route 50 to the Beltway to the cloverleaf at the Baltimore–Washington Parkway and back south on the Beltway. As we passed Route 50 again, I called Evelin (who was wondering where we were) and we picked her and Celeste up to head off to Rockville Pike so Evelin could get the Skip Hop diaper bag she's been wanting.

In all, Quinn slept about 3.5 hours out of four in the car with the wakeups being during that first hour. Celeste on the other hand ... actually, she does a lot better now, not necessarily sleeping in the car, but she can amuse herself.

Burping: Celeste was never much of a burper; Quinn, however, could put a frat boy to shame. She needs a moment or three after eating, but you can hear her belches far and wide.

One cute thing on the Celeste side of the equation is that she's picked up that we need to burp Quinn, and she's started play burping. She'll pick up Tim or Dee Dee or some other stuffed animal and pat it on the back while making a cough-cough noise, and she likes to whack Evelin and me on the back to do the same. In typical gross boy fashion, I will oblige Celeste's efforts with a good burp, which elicits a resounding chorus of "More!" Evelin, on the other hand, is less willing/able to burp, much to Celeste's consternation.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Cleaning Up Her Act

First and foremost, Celeste not only had a bath tonight; she also had her hair washed ... and (at the risk of jinxing things) it all went pretty well.

I'm having trouble remembering the entire sequence of events, but suffice to say it's taken a few days, gradually getting her to stand happily in the bath (albeit upset when any actual washing takes place), to sitting of her own volition in the tub, to enjoying the bath.

The big difference maker was the bath crayons, but some bubblebath and blowing bubbles played a role, as did, I think, my letting her walk around the tub without being held ... and risking a slip. Evelin had been holding her firmly whenever Celeste was standing in the tub, but she was busy with Quinn one night and I kept a hand hovering but not on her. That seemed to free Celeste up to move around with the crayons more and made her feel unsteady enough (a 101-ism on my part) to feel more comfortable sitting down.

Last night, we pulled the bubblebath from the equation — seeing the floor of the bathtub expanded Celeste's canvas for drawing — and she did great. Tonight, I "accidentally" had Dave Penguin Head wet her hair, and then explained I was going to put baby gravy on her hair.

This will probably be one of those things that ends up surfacing in therapy years later, but I've always referred to Celeste's toothpaste as "bear grease" because she refers to it by signing BEAR. (It's Orajel Toddler Training Toothpaste, which has a Maurice Sendak picture of Little Bear on it.) Similarly, Celeste points to her shampoo/soap and says "Baby," so I started calling it "baby gravy." Hey, if it gets her to take a bath ...

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Other Stuff

SHEEP: On Saturday, we took the girls to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. Quinn slept through much of it, but Celeste was interested in the sheep so long as she was in the backpack. When I took her into one of the show pen areas outside of the backpack, I think the sheep were a little big and noisy for her. I was also surprised that she wasn't very interested in the sheepdog demonstrations.

CUTE 1: This afternoon, Celeste and I went out into the yard to pick a flower for Evelin. While Celeste was looking at one of the azaleas, I noticed a bee hard at work gathering pollen and pointed it out to her. Celeste said "bee," but otherwise didn't pay too much attention.

After going back inside and giving Evelin the little pink rose we picked, Celeste ran over to her bookcase and pulled out Buzz-Buzz, Busy Bees, excitedly shouting "Bee! Bee!"

CUTE 2: Early Monday morning, Celeste had a night-waking episode that needed attention. I soothed her and sat with her for a while, and she eventually fell asleep again. When I went to put her back in her crib, she woke enough to say "No. More Daddy, 'leste ..." before falling back asleep.

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Friday, May 05, 2006

Learning New Words

Me, that is, not Celeste (although she seems to be adding a new word or three each day).

While having a conversation with L--- this morning about kids and funny stories, and she started to say something about her daughter-in-law's parents and all of the sudden paused. The word she wanted to use was mekhutonim, but she was pausing to think of the simplest way to explain her relationship to these people and in English it was either "my daughter-in-law's parents" or "my son's in-laws." Yiddish, however, has the single word מחותּנים to describe that relationship. Similarly, if she wanted to talk about her son's father-in-law, she could say mekhutn (מחותּן); or for her son's mother-in-law, mekhutnste (מחותּנתטע). (Transliterations via Yiddish Dictionary Online – ייִדיש װערטערבוך אויפֿן װעב)

The other new word popped up a week or two ago while reading The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winklegoffer. Finding one of Lucie's pinny, "Mrs. Tiggy-winkle ironed it, and goffered it, and shook out the frills." Two nights ago, the same word popped up while Evelin was reading Daughters of Britannia.

A goffer is both a pleated ornamental frill and a type of iron [picture] for goffering. And, just as to iron is a verb for the act of using an iron, to goffer is the verb for goffering.

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Loosing Track of Time

While on paternity leave, I had trouble keeping track of what day of the week it was. I might remember it was the 23rd, for example, but I couldn't remember if it was Friday or Tuesday or Sunday or what.

Going back to work, I knew that today was Wednesday and that when I dropped off my bike for a tune-up on Monday that the guy told me it'd be ready Wednesday the 10th. For some reason, I honestly though the bike would be ready today (the 3rd).

Needless to say, the mechanic was a bit confused when I presented my claim slip and asked about my bike this afternoon. "Uhm, it's not ready." "No big deal. When do you think it will be ready?" "Uhm, not until the 10th at least" (pointing toward the calendar). "Yeah, that's ... oh crap" (I descend into a rambling apology ...)

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A Picture Share!

Evelin and Quinn

Mumma and Quinn

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Back to the Grind

Two days out of paternity leave and I'm still trying to sort out what I need to be focusing on. Quinn came at a very good time: I had an extra week between issues, we'd moved my francophone quarterly from Juin to Mai because of a trade show, and a big trade show in the States had everyone from my department and most of the rest of the company in Las Vegas, so even though I was out two weeks, I don't have as large of a pile of things to do as I might otherwise. Plus, I was able to keep on top of some of the niggling things remotely during naps ...

Still, I do find myself realizing that at times workplace situations can be about as reasonable as a 19-month-old who doesn't want to take a bath. And thinking of that, a bubblebath did not help entice Celeste into the tub tonight.

Celeste is showing a few other signs of the Terrible Twos manifesting early. There's a picture in her room that we had to move away from her crib because she was trying to swing it; tonight, she pushed it when she was supposed to be shutting off the light. She also took two chomps on my finger; I was trying to see if her two-year molars are coming in early (she's drooling a lot and keeping a finger or three in her mouth all the time) and she obligingly opened wide only to nip me good. I gave her a warning, but she did it a second time and then made little chomp-chomp-chomp motions with her mouth. Evelin and I need to figure out how to nip this in the bud, so to speak.

Other than that, she's being well behaved. We went out with Evelin's mother to the Calvert House Inn for dinner tonight. M--- wanted Turkish coffee, but when we figured that the only Turkish places nearby weren't that close, she said she wanted fresh seafood. Celeste was a little noisy, especially after a firetruck passed down Route 1 and she joined in with the sirens, but otherwise well-behaved. Quinn slept through much of the meal. M--- and Evelin both had the trout (catch of the day) and pronounced it very good; I had a capellini dish that was also tasty. Celeste tore into my side of carrots and garlic mashed potatoes, as well as the hummos appetizer we ordered for her.

Quinn is growing like a weed, I think. She's heavier and longer, although I haven't weighed/measured her to be sure.

One funny thing is that Quinn gets hiccups a lot. Sometimes it's after a feeding; other times they just appear. Celeste thinks it's a riot. Sunday night, she made a fake hiccup noise and then ordered Evelin to do the same. She then pointed at me and I hiccupped like a fool. Then Celeste paused for a moment and said "Baby!" and pointed at Quinn. Quinn didn't perform on command, but she did hiccup a little later in the evening ...

Go Sawx!

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