Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Numbered Napping Days

Getting Daniel to take a nap has been really difficult lately. In fact, he usually doesn't end up sleeping anymore. I'm afraid my afternoons are about to change dramatically and I'm so reluctant to give up my "me time"! I guess life is all about adjustments right?!?!

Anyways, here are some fun pictures.


For family night we learned about Joseph Smith and the Restoration. We did stick pulling as an activity. It was so funny to watch!

Friday, January 25, 2008

You Turn Your Back for One Second

This week we had two social "incidences". The first happened Thursday morning. I only heard it as I was dressing in the bathroom. The second happened this morning...far worse than the first.

Thursday's event goes something like this. I had just gotten out of the shower when I heard the phone in the office ring. Some important information about this phone is it is a National Instruments line. It is in our office since Christian has a home office for the company he works for. I never answer the phone when it rings because it is either Christian's boss, or another engineer calling Christian for work related issues. I just let voice mail pick it up.

Daniel answered the phone and started talking. I'm sure the person on the other line didn't understand a thing he said because I could hardly understand what he was saying...but he did mention elephants taking baths to the caller. I knew the person was going to call back thinking they had initially dialed the wrong number, so I quickly got decent and ran out. Sure enough, they called back.

Our second incident happened this morning while I was at the doctors. I'm at week 29, so I had to have the gestational diabetes screening done. For those of you unfamiliar with the procedure, the expecting mom has to drink a very sugary solution, wait and hour, and then have her blood drawn and tested for its glucose level.

During our hour of waiting, Daniel and I decided to go exploring. My doctor is in a 4 floor facility full of other doctor's offices. While exploring, we came across a sick boy who was throwing up on the way to his doctor's appointment. No one else was around and so we helped him to the office and then cleaned things up afterwards. Naturally, I wanted to wash our hands after the whole incident.

As I was washing my hands, the fire alarm and strobe lights start going off. I turn around only to find Daniel with his hand on the emergency fire alarm lever! What two year old wouldn't be tempted by a bright red lever on a plain tan wall? Now I know why most have covers over them.

I ran to the nearest office and explained everything hoping they had the facility manager's number, but the alarm went off for a good 10 minutes before it was shut off and the 4 floors of the building were evacuated! The manager was very kind and understanding about the whole thing and luckily we didn't get fined for tampering with the fire alarm.

I didn't dare mention anything back at my doctor's office. Daniel and I were the first ones in the office (because we didn't evacuate the building). I felt badly watching all these very pregnant ladies huff and puff at the top of the 4th flight of stairs as they shuffled back in. Maybe it sent one of them into labor...which I would have been happy about!

Jell-O, Jungles, and Jumping

This week we focused our activities around the Letter J. Since I really love seeing others' pictures, I thought I'd show you what we did instead of making you read what we did! Here is our "J" week in photos.

Cutting Jell-O Jigglers for a fun snack. Daniel didn't even want to try the jigglers, he just wanted to cut them.

Our jungle adventure started with making leopard binoculars which we play used to find and run from snakes, monkeys, hippos, elephants, and tigers while going through our obstacle course. Daniel is crossing the river that "has" piranhas snapping at his heals.

Hoping through the swamp

Fighting off the snakes

What's a jungle without monkeys?

Finally, for a fun "J" activity, we went to a place where they had a bunch of inflatable bounce toys for Daniel to jump on. This was a great hit! They had some other fun toys. He was exhausted afterwards and fell asleep on the way home...a great hit for mom too!

I spent a lot of time climbing in and chasing Daniel in the inflatable toys. Chasing him on the toys was much easier on my knees. Maybe my living room floor should be a trampoline. Daniel loves being chased, chasing him is pretty fun too.

I know these ball pits are really germ pits, but I loved them as a kid. Watching Daniel play in it brought back a lot of fun memories. Besides, soap and water clean things up nicely.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm...

While cleaning up after Sunday's dinner I found this on the window in our eating area...

Soup, that evenings meal

Christian sits in front of the window, but I don't think he was the one who tossed the soup over his shoulder because he likes the soup. I most definitely didn't toss the soup at the window (because I'm the one who would have to clean it up anyways). That leaves one other person...Daniel, who sits about 9ft from the window!

Daniel's high chair is on the right, the window is on the left!

Money Matters

In December I finished reading Alan Greenspan's book "The Age of Turbulance: Adventures in a New World". I would recommend this book to anyone. I found it very interesting and insightful as an economic history of the United States and commentary on government's role in the economy. I also enjoyed the last couple of chapters that expressed Greenspan's opinion on the economics of social issues in the United States and abroad.

A couple of weeks ago I finished reading "The Fair Tax Book: Saying Goodbye to the Income Tax and the IRS" by Neal Boortz and John Linder. I need to do some more research on the fair tax before deciding where I stand on the issue, but I am thinking more about the US economy because of it. I would also recommend this book to anyone.

So, if you are beginning to think I am a bit of a nerd, you are right. I have my undergraduate degree in finance which translates into having taken several economic classes. I really enjoyed the economic classes I took and have found the information I learned in them to be very useful for our personal financial decisions as well as understanding the world around me.

All this intro on economics was to come to this...I'm a little nervous with the economic happenings of the last couple of days (the plunge of the DOW, the emergency slashing of the federal fund and discount rates by 3/4 of a point, the state of a large percentage of American's personal finances).

With that nervousness however, I can say I am very grateful for the state we are in with our personal finances. I'm so grateful we bought a smaller home with a small mortgage. I'm so grateful we have been so frugal in our spending. I'm so grateful for Excel and Quicken that help us manages our money. I'm especially grateful for the years supply of food we have sitting around our house. It really does bring a sense of stability even though the markets are jumping all around.

Today as I was getting ready for the day, I thought about our year's supply of food and how daunting of a task it seemed to be to acquire it. Thankfully my grandma is a food storage guru and she helped me every step of the way. I would love to help anyone out there who is trying to put theirs together. If you have any questions, email me (I think most of our audience is young families like ourselves who are at a point where they are starting to get food together...that is if we even have an audience...we try and lure you in with cute pictures of Daniel).

So I thought I would include a couple of boring pictures of some food storage ideas we've had that may help.

Don't stack your buckets this high. I think they recommend stacking them 3 high. It takes up a lot of room. We still have about 8 other buckets throughout the house, but this is how we decided to store a year's supply of the basics (wheat, oats, beans, rice, etc.)

Besides a years supply of the basics, we have 3 months worth of canned goods for more variety. For a space saver, we put this makeshift pantry in front of our stack of buckets. The white board on the right is where we track what he have eaten so we know what we need to replace.

If you don't live in UT or ID, I think it is near impossible to find a drum to store water in. So we just bought the water and the containers from the local water distribution company. This was Christian's idea and I thought it was great!

I'll step off my food storage soap box now! And no, I'm not currently reading another nerdy economics book.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Shout Out to My Bro

My brother, Tim, graduated in mechanical engineering last April and took a job in Iowa. He called last night with great news...He passed his eight hour engineering licensing exam!

This is the only recent, solo picture I have of him! Sad!

Way to go Tim!

Last Week in Review

Daniel had a great week. He learned all about the letter "I", had 4 separate play dates, went to the Children's Museum, and got to tour the fire station. Here are some fun pictures from the week.

Daniel and Hunter in their fort (play date #1)

Ice cream for the letter "I"

I think Daniel admires fire trucks more from a distance.
He was a little timid around the truck and fire fighter who gave us the tour.

For all you moms out there with fire truck loving kids, the fire fighter at our station said they will take the engine to your child's birthday party for free. You just have to call in advance. They also will give tours of the station even if you just walk in. I don't know how it is in other cities, but I thought that was pretty neat!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

You Know What They Say...

I have lived all over the North and South American continents. Although language and culture have varied extensively depending on where I was living at the time there has been a consistent "saying" in many of the places I have lived. The saying goes something like this...

"You know what they say, if you don't like the weather in _____, just wait an hour."

Of all the places I have lived, South Florida is the only place where the weather really does change dramatically in an hour consistently. I don't think any other city I have lived in can claim the saying.

With that said, Richmond did have a dramatic change in weather over the last week. Last week we played outside nearly every day in near 700 weather and this morning we got to play in SNOW! It was a fun change.

We built a little snowman (the snow was great packing snow!), but then I got a little carried away and we built a bigger one.

Daniel trying to pick up part of our snowman

I still had some fallen leaves in my yard, but they make great snowman accessories!

The snow turned into rain by the middle of the day but it is still chilly out. Since Christian is out of town and Daniel is in bed early tonight, I'm going to curl up with a good book and mug of warm Postum. What a great day!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Taking the Plunge

With child #2 scheduled to arrive in a couple of months, we thought it would be a good idea for child #1 to be as independent as possible. I keep pushing back the launch date of our official potty training day. I'm not sure if Daniel has mentally connected with all his body's physical demands. It seems playing with toys and exploring is more of a priority right now. However, we have taken a few initial steps.

1. We bought a potty seat
2. We made a training video

I'm afraid I have the hardest part left!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Skin, An Important Organ for Non-Specific Immune System Defense

My dad collects hats. He has some really neat WWII military hats as well as authentic hats he has collected during his world travels. However, I don't think he has this gem of hat....

You can find this hat in the toddler potty training aisle at your local Walmart for $12...a real steal!

So What's a Caucus Like Anyways?

I'm pretty new to the political scene and I'm still getting the lingo down, but in talking to my peers, I found I'm not the only one who is uneducated about a "caucus"...and especially a democratic caucus. After I read about caucus' on Wikipedia and CNN, I was still confused as to how they worked logistically.

My brother moved to Iowa almost a year ago and my sister happened to be visiting him in Iowa at the time of the 2008 Iowa caucus.

Here are some video clips to show what a cuacus is like. The whole process begins with an initial count, followed by a 30 minute debate amongst peers to persuade inviable voters over to your side of room followed by a final count for each viable candidate.

The method seems a little archaic, but very grassroots level. I wish Virginia had a caucus instead of a primary ballot.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Last Couple of Days in Photos

Just a couple of pictures that hopefully capture the thing we have been doing recently!

I wish we had a wall in our house so spare my furniture some wear and tear!

Twister gone wrestling!

I told Daniel I used to plug my noise to eat things I didn't like as a kid. Now Daniel plugs his nose even while eating meals he likes!

Helping himself to a snack.

Friday, January 4, 2008

New Years

On New Years Eve, we did something very new to both Christian and I...we campaigned for Ron Paul. We went on a four mile walk up and down Cary Street (the New Year's mecca for Richmond). I must admit I felt a little silly at first, but I believe in the cause, and felt quite patriotic while doing it.

Political indoctrination?!?!?!?!? And yes, he is in his pajamas!

Most people are unfamiliar with Ron Paul's candidacy. He is a 10 term congressman from Texas who is currently running for the Republican presidential nomination. I guess if I were to briefly summarize what I like about him it would be the following:
  • His track record (the bills he has supported, introduced, and fought) parallels my beliefs and understanding of the proper roll of government. They resonate truth.
  • His years of political experience and service. He's not a young political whippersnapper.
  • His specific answers to political issues (a rare encounter in politics these days).
Overall, Ron Paul is in favor of a limited government, a strict interpretation of The Constitution, and individual rights. His website is very useful. You should check it out before your state's primary elections! I think the next president is determined more from the primary election results than the final election there is my political plug!

I feel a little obligation to address the "Mormon" issue since I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I like Mitt Romney and I think he is a very capable and intelligent person but I don't feel obligated to vote for him because we are members of the same faith. I just think Ron Paul is a better fit for the job.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Christmas in Park City

I finally feel like my life is under control again after returning from our Christmas vacation in Park City. I always feel I am playing catch up for a couple of days after returning from a trip. Normally I do the laundry once a week. Although we were only gone for a week, it seems my loads of laundry were double their normal size (I think we unpack into the laundry basket). The refrigerator was barren and the bills and correspondences piled up while we were away. Returning from the trip was a lot of work, but I would go again in a heart beat.

I loved being around our families! I loved the spur of the moment activities with fun people! I loved the atmosphere! I loved acquainting Daniel with everyone! I loved having Christian around all day! I loved the in depth and analytical discussions we had! There was a lot to love about the trip and I feel more invigorated about life now.

The next couple of posts are my attempts to capture parts of our vacation. There are two more posts I need to write up but I'm waiting on a video clip edit and photo before posting them. I wish my posts did a better job at capturing the great moments. We are merely 353 days away from next years adventures.

Daniel's Snow Adventures

Next year we are going to take Daniel skiing. This year Daniel had fun just playing in the snow and didn't seem to mind the cold even with wet jeans and shoes.

Not Your Typical Swimming Haven

The resort had an outdoor pool and a couple of outdoor hot tubs. The pool was 85 degrees and each hot tub ranged in temperature. Being pregnant, I was banned from the hot tub, but I did venture into the pool once for a game of glow in the dark volleyball, but no one else showed up. 85 degrees was not hot enough to keep a pregnant woman warm when the air outside was 7 degrees.

Daniel was always the last one out of the hot tub. He loved it and kept wanting to go back. Thankfully Christian was able to take him in a couple of times. Here are some of my favorite pictures of Daniel in the hot tub.

It was snowing the first night we swam

The water wasn't as hot as it looks, the air was freezing though!

I love this picture!

Tim and Christian both grew up in a family of girls and it seems both still need a manly outlet every-once-in-a-while. I don't know if it was the altitude or the lack of sleep, but skiing down black diamond slopes was not crazy enough for either of them. There was some one-uping talk going on in the hot tub and before I knew it, I was videotaping this!

As if that wasn't enough, they all went out again so I could take this picture!

Should I be worried about having two male children back to back? Especially if they are genetically linked to the gene pool pictured above?

Prodigy Children

Christmas evening we spent karaoking and the decision was not eggnog induced. I don't know why any of us spent money on tuition and stressful college years to get engineering and business degrees. Here was the evening's line up and photos/videos:
  • Tim and Joan "Breaking Free"
  • Tara and Daniel "The Wheels on the Bus" Buddy style
  • Christian "Eye of the Tiger"

He really has the "Eye of the Tiger"

Christian definitely had the best moves!

Christmas Morning

I don't know if I enjoyed Christmas morning more as a child or now as a mom watching a child.

Bluey (pinky's replacement) was an instant success and immediately became a tent.

The "Choo"

Setting up the train (Fisher Price should send us some marketing money)

No time for breakfast or other presents...just the "choo".

Daniel was too distracted after opening his train to open any other presents. We saved the other presents for later in the day.