Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bend It Like Quinn

The lighting isn't that great, but this video does show the mad goaltending skillz of the little one ...

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Stories About Language

Two stories, one about each of the girls and language development.

First, Quinn: This afternoon we had her first sign. It may have been accidental, but she signed MILK while I was trimming Celeste's nails. I caught the sign out of the corner of my eye; Quinn was playing with a ring toy, but it sure looked like she was saying MILK. I asked her if she wanted milk (combining the word with the sign), and she gave a big smile and full body thump. (Aside: At this point in time, Celeste started demanding soymilk.) By the time, I had some milk thawed and ready for her, Quinn had moved on to something else, but she was happy when I brought her the bottle and she drank more of it than she has in a long time.

Second, Celeste: A German family with two boys a little older than Celeste and Quinn moved to the neighborhood a little while ago, and the girls sometimes play. One time, at the park, Evelin said "Gesundheit!" when Celeste or someone sneezed and I---, the mother, commented that it was nice to hear German being spoken. On Saturday, Evelin and the girls were at the park when I--- and her older boy, B---, walked up. Celeste, being her usual sociable self, immediately said "No, I---. No, B---." Later, Celeste was walking up to them and saying, "Bye-bye, I---. Bye-bye, B---."

Thinking back to when we taught Celeste to say არა as a joke for ხ---, I thought it be cute if I could get Celeste to say "Guten Tag" and "Tschüß" to I--- and B---. This morning at playgroup, with a little prompting, Evelin got Celeste to say "Guten Tag," but she couldn't remember "goodbye." I--- offered "Auf Wiedersehen," but Evelin knew that wasn't it. Then I--- offered "Tschüß." Celeste picked it up and said, "Tschüßie!" which I--- noted was very colloquial usage.
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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Weekend Chores

There's plenty still not done, but here's a rough list of things done this weekend:
  • Five hours of yardwork, including raking, pruning, mowing, shedding leaves for compost, and I'm not sure what else.
  • Ripped out the spent tomato plants
  • Picked all the basil
  • Made a quart of cheese-less pesto
  • Put the county pride stickers on our license plates and Evelin's Wesleyan sticker on the T.R.U.C.K.
  • Bought diapers
  • Refilled bird feeder
  • Fertilized apple tree
  • WD-40'ed Quinn and Celeste's bedroom doors
  • Update blog
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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Conversations With Celeste

Tonight, as I was carrying Celeste up to bed with Good Night, Good Knight and A Present for Toot as her bedtime stories: "More pages in these."

Pretty much everyday for the past two weeks or so: "Celeste, what do you want to be for Hallowe'en?" "No." (Celeste has expressed a little interest in Hallowe'en, but she is adamant about not wanting to dress up.)
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Friday, October 20, 2006

Out for Indian Food

This afternoon, Celeste had quite a nap. She went down around 2:00 p.m., and at 5:00 p.m., Evelin called to say she was trapped in an extended nursing session with Quinn, but there'd been nary a peep from Celeste. Usually, she'd be up around 4:00 p.m. (or we'd be looking to wake her by 4:15 p.m. or so), but not today.

Given her long nap (and Quinn's resting while nursing, even if it wasn't a nap), we decided to try going out for dinner — at Udupi Palace.

Things started off pretty well: Celeste loved her mango lassi (so much so that she didn't want to put it down to try a samosa), and both Evelin and Celeste enjoyed their uthappams. Actually, Celeste's tomato-pea uthappam had quite a nice flavor and was a little more satisfying that Evelin's pea-onion one.

When Quinn started getting fussy, we shifted her from her carseat to my lap, which worked well, until she tried to grab a handful of chana palak, which wasn't hot enough to burn her, but it was uncomfortable.

That was the start of the end of the evening: Celeste was getting bored (and despite her late nap, tired) and Quinn was getting fussier and fussier. So we asked for the check and packed up the rest of the food to go ...
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Two Things

I have an entry begging to be finished on a USB flash drive (it's up now), but I'm going to use up the rest of my lunch hour on these two things: Hunter S. Thompson and change.


Every now and then a press release is done up in a way to gin up maximum attention. This morning, it was cardboard typewriter that came to one of my sister magazines to promote Starz's upcoming Hunter S. Thompson documentary Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride. Along with a screener and digital press kit, the typewriter included a Gilligan hat, aviator glasses, and a Dunhill cigarette with a holder/filter. Someone else claimed the typewriter, but I ended up using the rest of the props to inject a little gonzo into my editing.
Actually, it was interesting that while most of the people in the office groked the Hunter S. Thompson look right away, there were a couple of folk who asked why I was dressed up like Uncle Duke.


During lunch, I went to the local branch of Chevy Chase Bank to use their no-fee Change Express coin counting thing. During Celeste's first year, I dropped some $374.62 in change aside; this year, I took the set-aside change and the 200-plus rolls of pennies that have been in the basement for years (long story short: I filled a 10 gallon carboy with pennies over the course of a few years; Evelin made me roll them; I never took them to the bank), the result was $499.73, along with a 10 pfenning coin, a German €0.02 coin, a 20 pence piece, a U.S. penny that someone cut an angel from the center, and a two-headed nickel. Of the total, $127.48 was from pennies.

Naturally, with all the change, I broke the machine. I noticed it was spilling quarters on the floor and the bank staffer who was nearby assured me they were just bouncing out of the reject slot. I turned out the quarter bag had split and it was spilling coins through the gap by the door. And one of the penny slots in the internal counter had jammed. They ended up needing to get a new quarter bag, and to replace all three penny bags, along with the nickel bag. In all, I had 37 dollar coins, 1,048 quarters, 574 dimes, 317 nickels, and 12,748 pennies.
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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Catching Up

I've been a bit swamped at work of late, but hopefully things will improve in the next month or twelve or something. Still, life goes on and the girls are both doing well. Evelin, however, may well have broken her pinkie toe when she stubbed it on the highchair. She has it taped and elevated.

On Sunday, Quinn turned one-half; no big party or anything, just some sweet potato — she likes sweet potato even more than pumpkin. On Monday, she had her six-month check up. She's 27.5 inches long (90th percentage); 17 pounds and 12 ounces (75th percentile). Her head circumference is 17 inches.

On Tuesday, it was rainy and icky, so once it was obvious that naps weren't going to happen, I took the girls to Ikea. At first, Celeste wasn't sure she wanted to be there, but she started racing from arrow to arrow to arrow on the floor, and then we got to the Småland ballpit. But the real big draw was the slide that separated the adult furniture from the kids stuff. She kept circling around, climbing the stairs ("like at open gym!") and then sliding down. Eventually, she moved on to the furniture and Celeste started trying some of the beds. She really liked the Kritter bed (or as she called it the "doggy and kitty bed"), but when I said we could get that bed for her, and Quinn could have her crib, and some other little baby could have Quinn's crib, well, Celeste said she wasn't interested. She did keep interspersing slide runs with short naps in the bed. In the end, we didn't get a bed, although Celeste did leave with a set of Kalas flatware.

Celeste and the rings"Open gym" refers to one of Celeste's most favorite activities. When Jack Kent Cooke was working out his deal to move the Washington NFL team from D.C. proper to Prince George's County, part of the agreement was that he would build a sports and learning complex for the county near what is now FedEx Field. Wednesday mornings, that facility is open to toddlers from across the county. Although she also uses the trampoline and other gear, Celeste is particularly fond of the foam-block swimming pool (although Evelin says it smells like feet).

Today, after Celeste and Quinn's naps, the three of us headed out to the farmers market. While we able to get lima beans, we were too late to get pawpaws; apparently, a woman who had grown up with a pawpaw tree outside her kitchen door when she was a kid and in fit of nostalgia bought all the pawpaws the guy had on his stand. New at the market, however, was a crêpe guy; given Celeste's fondness for pancakes, of course we had to have a strawberry crêpe sucrée while we waited for the train.
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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Pictures (Not of the Girls)


Our one and only apple from our little apple tree. It was a bit on the green side, but after getting six flowers, only two of which grew into apples, one of which was damaged by something and then disappeared, I was willing to take this one before the predation from birds, bugs, raccoons, whatever, got worse. I was about halfway through it (sharing with Evelin, who liked it, and Celeste, who didn't) before Evelin said we should've taken a picture of it. (Ergo the knife propping the apple up.)

Haunted Gingerbread House Haunted Gingerbread House

For years now, Evelin has wanted to make a haunted gingerbread house for Hallowe'en: This year she did. Celeste even helped with the decorating yesterday. (Left is a fully-lit shot; on the right is one I tried to make "spookier" by playing with lighting and exposure times — check the EXIF data on Flickr, if you care about the details.)

Of course, since this is the time of year when the temperatures swing and we have no artificial heating or cooling going on, the humidity levels inside were causing the roof to sag a bit, so Evelin took Celeste's suggestion and they started eating it this morning. When I got home, a good bit of the roof was gone. Sadly, I have single handedly done much graver structural damage to the house since then ...
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Monday, October 09, 2006

None of Me

Maybe this is the problem TSA has with me ...

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

If I try just Carter (instead of "T. Carter"), it says there are 13 Carter Rosses in the United States.
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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Fun Fun Fun …

... until someone takes her hammer away.

Ours is an older house. Built in 1940 (according to the papers we signed when we bought the place) or 1941 (going by the information the city submitted to the National Register of Historic Places when it was seeking to expand the Historic District — surprisingly, our house is considered as contributing to the historic nature of the area), it has lots of little things that need attention upon occasion and more than a few things that are hard to repair/replace with off-the-shelf gear from the hardware store. Therefore, I was quite interested in the Festival of Building Arts (FOBA) at the National Building Museum. I figured it would give Celeste a chance to pick up some plastering skills or something.

Actually, it was a rainy day, so it made sense to find a good in-doors thing for Saturday, and the FOBA fit the bill. Since the National Building Museum is right outside the Judiciary Square Metro exit, we took the train, which Celeste was quite thrilled by. Quinn (who spent the entire time in the BabyBjörn) also liked watching the scenery along the Red Line roll past.Evelin & Celeste on the Metro

Once in the museum, Celeste was a little overwhelmed, running around (and nearly into more than a few people) from exhibit/station to exhibit/station. The only hands-on thing she did, however, was using letter stamps to hammer letters into a piece of cedar. She actually really got into the hammering and the letters. She did take a look at exhibits/stations on green roofs, bamboo flooring*, pipefitting, and a few others. She also got a personalized Home Depot orange apron.

Celeste then moved us up to the second floor, where she discovered the Building Zone exhibit. "Looks like playgroup!" she said when she walked in and saw the toy house and blocks and other construction play gear. While Evelin and Celeste played in the Building Zone, Quinn and I took in the "Investigating Where We Live: Anacostia" exhibit.

Carter & QuinnMeeting back up, we all took in a few more exhibits/stations and then had a snack and a trip through the gift shop (Celeste wanted a book, as did I, but we only ended up getting a few postcards for me to send overseas via Postcrossing at some point. The train to Brookland got us back to the parking lot just in time to catch the end of the Brookland Day Festival parade.

*Maybe we were early enough in the day that the booth staff hadn't been asked before, but I did get a pretty good laugh out of one of the American Society of Interior Designers people if with the bamboo flooring you had to worry about termites or just marauding pandas. Actually, the woman who was talking to me started to answer seriously, but the guy on the stand with her doubled over.
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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Solo for the Arsenic Hour

Tonight was a big night for Evelin; she's co-chair of a big Mid-Atlantic educational awards thing and tonight was the red carpet and all that jazz. She's been part of this committee for several years now (our sorta-babymoon weekend in Amish country was connected to a meeting for this thing), but this is the first of the big to-dos that she's done.

And what all that means is that she had to leave for Annapolis around 4:30 p.m. … which left me getting the girls fed, bathed, and to bed by myself. Evelin suggested seeing if we could get a babysitter to help me through the arsenic hour, but stubborn me felt that would be a bit of a cop out or something.

I tried to minimize the pain of it all by scrapping any plans to cook; I ordered a pizza as soon as I got home. I don't know if calling it in would have been faster, but I used the Domino's online site, and it took about 75 minutes for the pizza to arrive. Quinn, Celeste, and I were doing pretty good so far, so I gave Celeste a slice, grabbed two for myself, and dished up some pumpkin for Quinn.

Quinn, it turns out, was more interested in chewing on toys than eating. But then Celeste wanted pumpkin, and then asparagus, and then dried plums* (although we were out of prunes, so she had to settle for some other mixed dried fruit).

While Celeste ate, I went ahead and gave Quinn a bath. Evelin and I had talked about scrapping baths for both girls, but the timing looking like it was working, so I went ahead with at least that normal part of Quinn's routine. One thing I did different was to let the sink fill up some with water: Quinn has figured out splashing and went to it pretty energetically.

After bathing Quinn, I left Celeste contained in the diningroom/playroom and took Quinn upstairs to try to feed her some milk and get her at least calm in bed so that I could work on getting Celeste to bed.

This is when things got ugly.

Quinn did her usual three-tugs-at-the-bottle-no-thanks-I'm-good-I'll-just-wait-for-mumma thing, so I tried to move her to her crib. At first it looked like she was going to settle down and fade to sleep, but pretty soon she started fussing. At first it was the normal sort of put her to bed awake sort of thing — I'd go in and reposition the blanket and Eeyore and her paci — but it gradually built up into something more. However, most of the time her eyes were closed, despite the thrashing and wailing.

In the middle of this, I'd keep running back downstairs to check on Celeste. Once or twice, I had to leave Quinn in mid wail to check on the bang I'd heard from downstairs, but for the most part Celeste did a fantastic job of playing calming and independently. She'd ask me to do a puzzle or read or to draw every time I came down, I usually had only a minute or two of playtime (some of it accompanied by Quinn screaming via the baby monitor) before I'd have to run back upstairs.

I tried holding Quinn, but that just made her cry harder. I tried feeding her some more, and she did eat some, but not too much. Eventually, she finally settled down enough to get herself to sleep, giving me a good 10 minutes to wash Celeste's face, brush her teeth, and then to paint some before it was time for bedtime stories: Night Pirates, Wilfred to the Rescue, and Bebé Goes Shopping. (We're back to trying books before bed; Celeste has her choice three books, three stories, or a mix — she usually asks for additional stories, but isn't getting too upset when she doesn't get them.)

It's 8:30 p.m., Bones is on; Evelin's probably on stage announcing award winners; and the girls are asleep. Quinn's made a few peeps, but <KNOCKWOOD>I think I might have made it though the worst of the evening</KNOCKWOOD>.

*Yes, the prune marketing board has gotten to her. It's my fault, but Celeste even refers to fresh plums as "wet plums" to distinguish them from "dried plums."
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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Lucky Airplanes

This afternoon, I'm pushing Celeste and Quinn on swings at the park. I point out the altostratus clouds and Celeste says: "Airplanes, helicopters fly up to clouds. Get num-num [food/eats]. So lucky!"
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