Saturday, March 31, 2007

Tea Party!

Celeste, Stripy Pink, Ripley, and Sid have a tea party, which Quinn crashes ...
Tea Party!Party Crasher
Benefits of Drinking Teateh cut3!

Talking to Toys

This morning, we did a little rearranging of furniture and ended up putting a bookcase and a bunch of books back into Celeste's room. Last year, we had to move the bookcase out of her room because the books were too big of a distraction for her at naptime/bedtime. We're giving it another go now that she's about 90% stopped napping — if nothing else, having a steady supply of books in her room may make quiet time more palatable even if she doesn't nap.

Of course, more than just books are ending up on the bookcase. Celeste was referring to it as Poodle's house and having one of her stuffed dogs play on it, and she had her pink purse, which is full of Little People dogs, on it.

After reading to Celeste, I went to try to get Quinn to sleep. While rocking her, I heard a loud scream from Celeste's room. I put Quinn down (much crying on Quinn's part at this point) to make sure Celeste was all right. It turns out her favorite stuffed animal, Ripley, wanted to play with pink purse ... and when she opened it a sea lion was in with all the dogs. Thus the scream. When I got into her room, most of the Little People dogs were in the bed with Celeste and her stuffed dogs, but the sea lion had been thrown to the floor.

I picked up the sea lion and got Celeste to put all the other dogs back in her pink purse, and I started to move pink purse from the room. Celeste insisted that Ripley wanted to play with pink purse, so I tried talking to Ripley: "Ripley, Celeste needs to get to sleep, so do you mind if I move pink purse and you can play with it later?"

Celeste is sitting in bed looking at me like I've lost my mind at this point. "Daddy, Ripley is a toy dog."

The First Camelia of 2007

The First Camellia of 2007
I took this pic last week, but only just now got the new camphone working to post it. Our camellia (Camellia japonica var. ????) finally started blooming!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Postcrossing: 304

With work as crazy as it's been of late, I've neglected a lot of things, most obviously my blogging, but also Postcrossing. This morning, I took a moment and requested and sent off four new postcards and then ran the math on things. I have sent ±304 cards thus far to 32 countries.

Most of them continue to come from/go to Finland. Here's the breakdown:
121 cards (39.80%) involve Finland; 42 (13.82%) involve Germany; 20 (9.87%) involve the Netherlands; and 19 (6.25%) involve the United Kingdom.

France and Portugal are tied with 10 cards (3.29%) each, as are New Zealand and Brazil with nine cards (2.96%) each. Eight cards (2.63%) involve Canada and five (1.64%) involve Spain.

Austria, the Czech Republic and Japan involve four cards (1.32%) each. Three cards (0.99%) have come from/gone to each Belgium and Russia. Two cards (0.66%) involve Australia, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Singapore and Slovenia each.

I have gotten from or sent a card (0.33%) each of Croatia, Estonia, Iran, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Switzerland and the United States.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Digging a Hole

Yesterday, while emptying the new dirt from our the compost bin and pile to fill in some of the garden beds, I remembered my brother's hole to China. When we were kids, he spent a bit of time working hole in the side yard with the aim of tunneling through to the other side of the world. It ended up being only two feet or so deep, but had he made it through to the other side, it would have been a bit of a surprise where he'd've ended up.

According to Zefrank's "If the Earth Were a Sandwich" tool, directly opposite our old sideyard is a spot in the Indian Ocean, about 1,500 miles due west of Cervantes, Western Australia. (Via Keywords)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Scene: This Evening

We were at the park a bit late and saw I--- and P--- with their kids, B--- and F---. B--- is crazy about pirates, so I told I--- and P--- about Piratz Tavern, which I'd only just heard of a few days ago (via DC Baby). They said to e-mail them the info and they would definitely check it out.

After they'd left, Evelin realized she was a bit peckish and suggested we give the tavern a try ourselves. It was late, but Quinn had had a good nap and Celeste seemed in fine spirits (and has seemed ready to push her bedtime back a half hour or so of late). So ... we bundled everyone back into the BOB and went home to drive to Silver Spring.

On the way there, everyone was happy. Celeste was very keen to get some macaroni and cheese (as a two-year-old, her food adventurism is on the decline). When we arrived, however, we were greeted with the dreaded: "Do you have reservations?" Since we dinnae, it was a 30–40 minute wait. Apparently, they don't usually accept reservations, but the maitre d' suggested that, in the future, we call ahead, especially with the little ones, to get on the waiting list before we arrived.

Instead of waiting, we tried to interest Celeste in Ethiopian or Indian, but she wasn't interested. We ended up at a so-so Mexican place further down Georgia Avenue. Both girls had a good time, and Quinn did a great job spooning up beans and rice and spinach from my enchilada to feed herself.

On the way home, Celeste kept insisting she wanted to go "somewhere else." (Not an uncommon plea when she doesn't want to go straight home.) But it was around 7:30 p.m. at that point, which is the outside edge of Celeste's bedtime and well past Quinn's. On the drive home, Quinn chattered and cried much of the way; Celeste was talking and playing and suddenly dropped off soundly to sleep.

Scene: Earlier This Afternoon

Evelin is upstairs napping. I am upstairs trying to get Quinn settled for a nap. Celeste is playing happily downstairs. Just as Quinn seems to tip over from resisting to giving in to sleep, a scream rises from downstairs. I pop Quinn in the crib (and crying commences), holler for Evelin to see if she can help Quinn, and then run down the stairs to find ...

... Celeste's butt and legs poking out from under the couch. (The proof that I am a good father is that I didn't even think of taking a picture until hours after she was extricated from the situation.) She was fine, just a bit scared and freaked out, but still worried about the Matchbox race car she'd crawled under there to get.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Water Cycle

The girls each have their bathtime water "thing."

Quinn gets herself into a splashing frenzy, slapping the water until her head is soaked and she's sputtering. Celeste things this is a riot. The first time it happened, Celeste pointed and said (with volume): "She making hot water!" And ever since then the Quinn splash-o-rama has been dubbed "hot water" ... and now it sounds like Quinn is trying to say "hot water" whenever she's about to start splashing.

Celeste, who usually gets to enjoy some solo bathtub time after Quinn gets out each night, has taken to lingering while the water drains out of the tub. One time she did this, I told her how the water flowed down the drain, through the pipes in our wall, out to the sewer under the street where it was carried to the water treatment facility and cleaned before being discharged back into the environment where it goes back into creeks and streams that make their way into rivers that feed the Chesapeake Bay from where it flows into the Atlantic Ocean. I also told her that all along the way, sun and wind act upon the water, causing evaporation, which makes water droplets go up into the sky where they condense into clouds and eventually cause rain and snow, which comes back to earth to recharge snowcaps and aquifers and fill rivers and lakes and reservoirs, which are eventually tapped by the water company to fill the pipe under our street that connects to the pipe in our house, which then fills Celeste's bathtub!

Now, pretty much every night, as the water drains, Celeste says: "Daddy, say those words again!" as she pulls the plug.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Daylight Savings Time

All in all, the girls seem to be adjusting to the early changeover to Daylight Savings Time fairly well. On Sunday, everyone was good and tired by 5:00 p.m. EDT, which made the normal 6:30–7:00 p.m. bedtime work out well. As the week's progressed, however, we have had a bit of slippage at least for Celeste.

Last night, I kept her up a little later than she should have been because she'd had a short nap and because I was hanging up the Iris roman blinds to replace the curtain that fell down in her room.

Once she'd been read to and tucked in, it wasn't long before she popped up, climbed on a chair and turned on her light. Over the monitor we hear: "Celeste woke up now!" So I go up and put her back in bed and move the chairs out of the room. After some protestations and crying, she fairly quickly ends up going to sleep.

Around 9:30 p.m., I'm on my way to bed and I peek in to check on her and Celeste is curled up, on top of her covers, sans pyjamas, and no diaper.

It was a little warm in the room (it got up to 81°F yesterday and it was humid), so I can understand the being out from under the covers, but I can only think of one or two times that she's taken off her own diaper like that. We managed to get a Pull-Ups on her without waking her and tucked a blanket or two around her.

This morning, Evelin said, she went in to the bathroom and pulled down the Pull-Ups to go to the potty without a second look. (Normally, she hates the Pull-Ups and the mere suggestion that she wear one for a nap or nighttime is greeted with scorn.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Given our location in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, I don't like to use chemicals on our lawn or sidewalks — in fairness, if we lived in the Death Valley Watershed, I'd feel the same way — so I use a light hand with fertilizer on the ogräs and I don't use salt or ice melt on the sidewalks. Instead when it snows I shovel and toss a bit of sand over things. It does help the sun melt things a little bit, but really the sand is beneficial for the added traction it provides.

That's why we have a bucket of sand on the front porch. A bucket that Monday Celeste discovered. And that yesterday Quinn discovered.
Sandbox!Sandbox, Shared

The second picture was quickly followed by an admonishment that Celeste found quite funny: "Quinn, don't put sand in your sister's ear ..."

ADDENDUM: Video from Thursday afternoon

Sunday, March 11, 2007

My Little Existentialist

This afternoon, Celeste came over to me telling me all the noises that dogs can make. I complemented her on it and asked if she was going to grow up to be a puppy dog. Usually this sort of statement is responded to with a look that says "Daddy, you must be crazy" and the comment, "Celeste is a little girl." Today, however, Celeste responded with a head shake, no, and a slightly worried look.

I next asked her if she was going to be a veterinarian. She said no. And then I asked if she was going to be an astronaut, channeling a bit of Great Lake Swimmers's "See You on the Moon. She said no.

So I asked, "So kiddo, what do you think you want to be when you grow up?" Very earnestly, Celeste says, "Nothing."

In all seriousness, I told her, "No, you are going to grow up to be something." The pressure was too much for her, and Celeste just started bawling.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Dog In My Throat ...

Celeste explains in a first-ever "Lifechanges ... Delayed" audio blog post (click on the button to play):

[direct link for MP3 file]

This evening, on her way to bed, Celeste paused and said, "Maybe daddy can go do the doctor to get the dog taken out of his throat!"

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Apparently, a love of blueberries is a familial trait...

Celeste at about 50 weeks:
Blueberries With Dinner

Quinn at about 46 weeks:
Blueberry Girl

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Howling at the Moon

This morning, a little before 6:00 a.m., Evelin was feeding Quinn in our bed and I sat up thinking I heard something. Evelin said, "Celeste." It sounded like a little sleep whimper or maybe a cry, so I got up to check on her ... and there was Celeste sitting up in bed with two of her dogs — Ripley and Stripy Pink — on her lap howling at the full moon that was shining in through her window.

On Thursday night, we ended up having to take the curtain down off that window because of some structural failure of the plaster around where the curtain rod attached to the wall. We thought about tacking a blanket over the window or something but instead decided to just leave it open. (This morning I finished patching things, but instead of putting the curtain back up in the patched spot, we're going to find some other sort of covering for the window.)

Celeste was especially happy to see the moon this morning since it was too cloudy Saturday night to see the eclipse of the moon. We hadn't told her about the eclipse, so she wasn't bummed about missing it; she just likes going out to see the moon every night before bed.

Because of the repair work, I had to move around Celeste's crib and dresser, but that's not the only thing that's making her say "Everything looks different" when she walks in the room. Last weekend, we went to Ikea and picked up a new light for her ceiling: a Smila Sol. It gives everything a yellowish cast, but it's fun for her room. She wanted to also get Smila Måne and Smila Stjärna wall lamps, too, but Evelin and I stood behind our only-the-sun policy.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Come On, Come On!

Sometimes Celeste pops out with something that makes me wonder about my own language use — not interesting things like popping out with bits of Japanese or French or Cherokee or anything or even really bad things like dropping the F-bomb. Instead it's things like this:

Today was a good day potty-wise: No accidents means Celeste gets to go through three vignettes of Elmo's Potty Time or three letters of Me Can Only Eat ... with Cookie Monster. Tonight, after her bath, Celeste and I came downstairs to play Cookie Monster and when the screensaver cleared I saw a couple of work e-mails that piqued my curiosity.

Instead of going immediately to, I opened a few of the e-mails to try and figure out what the discussion meant for the issue that I am working on. Celeste got a little impatient after the third e-mail in the series: "No! Celeste want Cookie! Come on!"

"Come on!" was delivered with the perfect inflection of irritation. I burst out laughing (probably the wrong thing to do, but she smiled), and then asked her if she picked that phrase up from me or mumma or from one of the grand'rents. Evelin and I were both implicated as was one grandmother, but the other grandmother was cleared of any connection to that phrase.