Saturday, November 29, 2008

We are officially a pacifer free family!

Ironically, S would not take a paci as an infant. It was only after she began to get teeth and I stopped breastfeeding that she took to a paci. And, man, did she make up for lost time. When T was a baby there was one paci that he would take. It was one the hospital gave us and somehow we managed not to lose it for an entire year.

Before you are impressed with us for only using one paci for an entire year, I feel the need to confess that we did manage to leave it the car of our friends as we left for Germany. Since they dropped us off at the airport, it wasn't like we could run to the car and get it back. Somehow, we made it through the flight, although credit for that has to go to T, who was exceptionally good and didn't cry much, even though we didn't have his paci. At that point, we had only been giving it to him at nap or bedtime anyway. More often that not, it would drop out of his mouth immediately after he fell asleep. For some reason, he would rarely find it and put it back in himself, which is why I think it was easier to break him of the habit. Since everything was in upheaval with the move, it turned out to be no big deal that we didn't have his paci and by the time Felicia sent it to us, T was over it. Such an easy baby!

Back to S, she was about six months old before she would take one and when she took it, it became her best friend. She is exceptionally strong willed and was finding and replacing her paci herself from day one. Priorities, I guess. At her one year checkup, the doctor expressed concern that her front teeth were a little forward. I was already trying to wean her off the bottle, which she actually adapted to really easily. But she wasn't about to give up the paci. Fast forward to several months later, and it's time to get rid of the paci. S will have that thing in mouth all day and night if allowed. Luckily, we were able to get extras, because we lost a LOT of them.

R and I started to talk about when and how to remove the paci from existence, and it just never worked out like we expected. Then she got a cold in October, and had to breathe through her mouth. One night we couldn't find a paci, so she had to do without. From that point on, she didn't ask for it again. HUH! Who knew?!? So I have to give credit to R and S, because I don't know that left up to me, she'd be without one at this point. Another interesting thing to note is that her teeth have moved back somewhat already, which I did not expect. If only the teenage years will go this easily. (Yes, I know that's not going to happen, but I can dream!)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Snow, glorious snow!

We had snow last weekend, enough to shovel! The kids had a blast, and so did we!

Chicks dig scars - on the men folk!

Following up with reason 1,385 why it's a good idea my parents did not name me Grace, I've got a two-parter for you all.

Part one -I've been taking the kids to the base daycare center on Wednesdays for part of the day. This allows me to do such wonderful things as clean the house, run errands, have lunch with the hubby, and go to the laundry mat without fear of having McWasherStealer pull my clothes out of the washer and put her stuff in. I have (mostly) forgiven her but I have certainly not forgotten it. Pause. Oh, who am I kidding?!? I would have to seriously restrain myself from wanting to step on her toe (or something) if I saw her again. Yes, I know I should get over it. It really only bothers me when I think about it or walk into the laundry mat.... okay. This is unhealthy. Back to the main point.

So yesterday I gathered up about two weeks worth of laundry including all the bathmats and small rugs from the kitchen and bedrooms. One of the great things about dropping the kids off while I do laundry is that I can then use the stroller to roll the laundry into and out of the laundry mat. Since there are no parking spaces near the laundry building, this is proving to be most helpful. The laundry mat was unusually busy for a Wednesday, but everyone was well behaved and friendly. It just took me longer than I expected to get it done. I came home to put away the laundry and straighten up, and before I knew it, it was time to go get the kids. So I jumped in the car and headed to base, only to pass R as I went around the big curve up the hill. I figured he'd want to come with me, so I turned around. Unfortunately, so did R so we both passed each other again. We met at a turnout and decided that we'd just drop his car off at the house since it was so close and he'd ride with me. I was in front of him, so instead of pulling in the driveway, I pulled to the side of our street, but then decided to be nice and back into the driveway so R could just jump into the car. And then I ran over him. JUST KIDDING!

Our landlords put a pole at the end of the driveway so that if someone was backing up (ahem) they wouldn't accidentally hit the bushes or the flowerbed beside the driveway. And, great news! It works. I hit the pole instead, even though I've backed up into the driveway a hundred times. Luckily, the pole just leaned a little and the van was barely damaged at all so we decided to go and get the kids and tell our landlords as soon as we got back. When we got back, they weren't home. R went first thing this morning and told them about it. Luckily for us, they weren't upset and were way more concerned about our van than their property. R asked if we could just fix it, which they said was fine. What a relief!

Part two -A couple weeks ago, we decided to have Thanksgiving dinner at the base dining hall. I'm still having irregular success with our German oven and we are trying to keep our oil and electric costs down. Plus, no dishes to do, no mess to clean up, and if the kids only take one bite of the veggies or meat, we are surprisingly less likely to mention the starving children around the world or the words 'clean plate club'. I think it has to do with having someone else decide the portion size or something. Don't really know. So noonish we head out to the car to head toward our turkey dinner. YUM! I decide that I'm going to just give the pole a little shove to see if we will be able to fix it. I shove, it moves, so I think that it will only take a sec to fix it completely. Woohoo! Only, shoving it fails to move it further, so I decide to pull. I pull and the pole is slowly moving into a vertical position. One more big tug should do it, so I yank and the freaking pole snaps in two, smacking me in the face as I fly backwards into the street. I have to admit this, if I had been watching it, I would have laughed. R, ever a better person than me, comes flying over not laughing at all. I'm guessing it looked pretty serious from his perspective from the look on his face. I first thought it hit me in the nose, because that what seemed to be hurting. Then I saw and felt the blood. Oh just great!!!!!!!! So I go inside to check the damage and clean up the blood. I take one look in the mirror and realize that I'm going to need stitches. Way to go, Gracie Lou Free-toSmackherselfintheface-bush. I grab a washcloth so the kids don't have to see and off we go. More good news. We can go to the hospital in the same town as the base where we live because they don't do pediatric emergencies, but apparently they do stupid people stunt emergencies. About two hours and three stitches later, we're out of there.

I do feel the need to confess a couple things. 1) Cleaning the wound hurt worse than the stitches did. 2) The stitches hurt - A LOT. I mean, seriously people - how can those of you who have facial cosmetic procedures stand it? Not that I'd ever have botox, but if I was ever leaning that way, this little hoopla put the kibosh on that idea. Ouch, ouch and ouch! The doctor tried numbing me with a shot, but the liquid hurt worse than the needle so we jointly decided (read: I begged, he took pity and agreed) that we'd to a topical creme to numb the top of the skin and I'd grin and bear it for the stitches. And while the stitches hurt, it was much more preferable to that freakin' numbing needle and solution. Yikes! 3) I have no idea how celebs who plump or fill their lips talk, eat, or keep from making strange and odd faces. 4) We still went to the dining hall because I knew the kids were starving and I really didn't feel like cooking now. And because I can be a bit strange at times, here are the top few reasons I thought of for why I had a huge bandage on my upper lip: laser hair removal gone bad, no time to shave the she-stache, a big ol' hormonal pimple, or step one of my Priscilla Presley lookalike process. heh!

So, after all is said and done, it was an...interesting...Thanksgiving. Here's the picture to prove it :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Give me strength!

As I think pretty much everyone knows by now, I am in grad school. I think it should be called 'only graduate it you are lucky and forgo sleep school'. Just a thought. So, this week is my final week of my current class which has been rough on me, mostly because of all the traveling we did. And, I'm just the teensy, tinest bit anal and obsessive about certain things. Okay, fine. I'm extremely anal and obsessive.

Moving on - in each class we are assigned to learning teams. I've been with two of my team mates through this entire program except for one class. We work really well together and each have very complementary strengths and weaknesses. The only problem is that we almost always end up getting one to two extra folks as well. We try to make them feel welcomed and included - no inside jokes or dismissing their ideas or ganging up on them. For the most part, each person that has been on our learning team has been pretty great to work with. For awhile, there was a fourth person that was in most of our classes and therefore on our learning team. Yet as time went on he kept doing less and less work and it was poorer and poorer quality. So, I finally called him on it. And I was nice about it. He got mad, dropped the team, and we haven't seen him since.

This class we had a lady assigned to our team that we'd been in class with before, but hadn't worked with on a learning team. No biggie. We progress through class and she does the absolute minimum (at least it seemed to me) required to get by. So this week we had a project due on day three and in the early morning hours of day three when she hadn't checked into the team forum in a week and a half, I emailed her to see what was going on and emailed our professor to see if our teammate had communicated with her in any way. Prof M said no. Hmmmm. Later on that day, which was also the day the project was due, team member four logs on and say s she's been sick with the flu. Having had the flu a time or two myself, I can sympathize with her, but I am disappointed that she couldn't or didn't think to let us know what was happening.

Here's where it gets sticky. Teammate 4 seems to think that because she read the project and changed a verb tense that that should qualify as equally contributing. To be honest, I appreciate the proofreading and I totally missed that error, so thank you teammate four. But to suggest that she (and this is a quote) 'did what she had to do to pull our team through' is, well...laughable. My other two teammates are simply not going to be confrontational, which I can appreciate. But since M and I did all the work, I bristled a bit that she actually thought she did comparable work. So, I send her an email to her individual email addresses letting her know that I was disappointed that she didn't let us know what was going on and why she wasn't online. This quickly started turning into a snark fest between the two of us, so I suggested that we agree to disagree. She sends back another snarky email and I realize that it's pointless to continue to converse with her.

Since it was the last week of class, I am hoping this will be the last I see of her for a while. I know that in life you are always going to meet people who don't do the work but will take the credit, and I can deal with that. But it never fails to amaze me when I meet someone with a deep-rooted intense sense of entitlement, like good ol' teammate four. I also feel sorry for her. She (and this is paraphrasing part of her bio that she posted in class) considers herself to have a natural gift for inspiring and motivating people. Man, did THAT take on a completely different meaning after working with her. LOL!!!!! Thanks for listening to me vent. Life moves on :)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pics of our little ankle biters

T and S - tuckered out and ready for bed, snuggled up in Papa's chair T strikes his Spiderman pose at Dad's station

T and S after a rousing round of trick or treating

Awwww.. this is one of my favorite pictures of the kids ever