Thursday, June 28, 2007

My Favorite Spot in the House

favorite spot in the house

I love this corner of my bedroom. It is peaceful and calm, and comfortable.

Sometimes, that's just what I need.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

He Knows I Talk about Him

Elliott has gotten wise to this whole blogging thing and found out I talk about him all the time.

Here is his rebuttal.

Monday, June 25, 2007

"The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People"

There is a book sitting on my bookshelf with that title (written by David Niven, Ph.D. if you want to pick it up). As I sit at my computer every day, I see the spine, think about the book and then keep on working.

This afternoon, I took it off the shelf. Maybe because I am grouchy and ornery and feel like I am suffocating in my own life. Maybe because my best good friend of the time gave it to me and I felt like reading what she wrote in it. Maybe, because I feel like on the surface, everything is okay, but on the inside I'm a wreck? Hopefully, I'm not the only person who feels that way. I know my house feels that way, probably my carpets, car, and hot flowers in the front yard. If they could talk they would definitely curse me out for not being a very good house keeper, carpet vacuumer, car owner and gardener.

I really took this book of the shelf to read the list and evaluate my "happiness" here it goes:
  1. your life has purpose and meaning (um, okay, I'll try to remember that)
  2. use a strategy for happiness
  3. you don't have to win every time (I'm good at this one. I know I don't have to win, and I'm not too competitive. Score one for me!)
  4. your goals should be aligned with one another
  5. choose your comparisons wisely
  6. cultivate friendships (I try. Thank you book club girls for talking to me!)
  7. turn off the TV (piece of cake! The TV is hardly ever on.)
  8. accept yourself-unconditionally (let's pretend, for now, this one isn't on the list. A bit of a challenge at the moment)
  9. remember where you came from
  10. limit yourself to thinking about one subject as you lie down to sleep (I am definitely willing to work on this one.)
  11. friendship beats money
  12. have realistic expectations
  13. be open to new ideas
  14. share with others how important they are to you (not so good at this. Family, I love you all!)
  15. if you're not sure, guess positively
  16. believe in yourself (let's group this one with #8. I know I can cook dinner and take care of the baby, but other than that...let's not think about this for now)
  17. don't believe in yourself too much (okay!)
  18. don't face your problems alone
  19. age is not to be feared (Great! I don't fear age at all. I think getting older is pretty cool, actually. Except my knees hurt.)
  20. develop a household routine (I need help with this one. How does trying to do everything everyday count as a household routine)
  21. don't be overprotective (but, I'm the mama bear!)
  22. pay attention. you may have what you want (yeah, I pretty much do!)
  23. don't let your religious beliefs fade
  24. do what you say you are going to do (I do)
  25. don't be aggressive with you friends and family
  26. root for the home team (Go Utes! Go Wolverines!)
  27. don't confuse stuff with success (I've pretty much got this one figured out. Thank you mom for teaching me this important lesson)
  28. every relationship is different
  29. don't think "what if"
  30. volunteer (I need to do more of this)
  31. if you can't reach your goals, your goals will hurt you
  32. exercise (huh? Oh yeah, getting outside every once in a while probably isn't a bad idea!)
  33. little things have big meanings
  34. it's not what happened, it's how you think about what happened
  35. develop some common interests with loved ones (I don't want to play fantasy baseball)
  36. laugh
  37. don't let your entire life hinge on one element
  38. share of yourself
  39. busy is better than bored (once again, thanks mom! The "B" word isn't part of my vocabulary and it won't be part of the little monkey's either)
  40. satisfaction is relative
  41. learn to use a computer (Score! I can do this pretty well)
  42. try to think less about the people and things that bother you (easier said than done. I think that's where this whole blog post is coming from to begin with)
  43. keep your family close
  44. eat some fruit every day
  45. enjoy what you have
  46. think in concrete terms
  47. be socially supportive
  48. don't blame yourself
  49. be a peacemaker
  50. cherish animals
  51. make your work a calling
  52. never trade your morals for you goals
  53. don't pretend to ignore things your loved ones do that bother you
  54. get a good nights sleep
  55. buy what you like
  56. accomplish something every day (define "something")
  57. be flexible
  58. events are temporary
  59. be your own fan
  60. join a group
  61. be positive
  62. there will be an end, but you can be prepared
  63. how we see the world is more important than how the world is
  64. keep a pen and paper handy (I learned this from watching "blues clues" I always have my handy dandy notebook around!)
  65. help the next person who needs some minor assistance
  66. take care not to harshly criticize family and friends
  67. some people like the big picture and others like the details
  68. do things you are good at
  69. go visit your neighbor (I talked to one of my neighbors just last night. She gave me some crystal light)
  70. smile
  71. don't accept televisions picture of the world
  72. you always have a choice
  73. be agreeable
  74. don't ignore one part of your life
  75. listen to music (every day, all day long. My world is on "shuffle")
  76. let your goals guide you
  77. use your job positively
  78. don't forget to have fun
  79. believe in ultimate justice
  80. reminisce
  81. be conscientious
  82. don't dwell on un-winnable conflicts
  83. enjoy the ordinary
  84. focus not on the world's tragedies, but on the world's hope
  85. get a hobby
  86. envying other people's relationships is pointless
  87. give yourself time to adapt to change (this might be at the root of all my issues. How much time does it take to adjust from being "career driven" to "the mama"?)
  88. focus on what really matters to you
  89. realize that complete satisfaction does not exist
  90. surround yourself with pleasant aromas
  91. don't let others set your goals
  92. you are a person, not a stereotype
  93. know what makes you happy and sad
  94. keep reading
  95. we must feel needed
  96. say "so what"
  97. have a purpose
  98. you have not finished the best part of your life
  99. money does not buy happiness
  100. what does it all mean? you decide.

Maybe I'm not doing so bad after all.
How about the rest of you out there? How does this list work for you?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Who needs a bottle anyway?

The pediatrician told us to give Elliott water on days that are hotter than 90 degrees to prevent him from dehydrating. I've tried several times in the past week or so to give him water from a bottle and he not only has refused to drink it, but he's gagged more times than I care to recall.

Yesterday, Ross was carrying around his usual cup full of ice water and Elliott was eyeing it like the plastic cup truly held a wonderful prize. So, we decided to see if he could drink some water from a cup.

We were very careful to be slow and let him drink just a tiny bit at a time and the verdict: The kid seems to like anything that comes in a cup. We did have some spillage and a minor choke, but it all went pretty well.

drink from a cup004

drink from a cup003

We'll have to try it again soon.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I love...

the smell of babies wearning sunscreen

the quiet at grandma's swimming pool after the kids have all gotten out, and are worn out, eating their ice cream treats

lunchtime visits from cute girls and their mom

the girls

teaching people how to use their cameras

going out to get the mail and seeing this blooming in the yard on my way back into the house

pretty in pink

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

5 months old

5months collage

Well, Mr. Monkey, time truly does fly, doesn't it? January 23 doesn't seem like it was that far away and here it is June, and you are 5 months old this week. The last month has been a pretty good one for you with some major accomplishments and challenges.

At the doctor last Friday, you weighed in at 21.5 pounds and 27.5 inches long. This means that you are the size of an average 9 month old baby. No wonder all the 12 month size clothes you are wearing are getting a wee bit too small. The 18-24 month jammies that you've been wearing lately seem to fit just right.

As Hilary (Ross' cousins wife) said to me in an e-mail today, you are finally at an age where you will let me love you. We can laugh and play and you wake up happy to see me, instead of the constant screaming we dealt with for what seemed like an eternity. I am so happy to love you, and even happier to have you love me back. So what if loving me means you slobbering in my face and pulling my hair. As long as there is a toothless grin staring right back at me, it's just fine by me.


In the past month, your personality has gotten even bigger, your opinions more vocal, and you've definitely developed your voice. You are constantly yelling at me for attention, and talking all the day away. You giggle, and guffaw out loud at your dad, especially when he sings "Springtime for Hitler" to you in a falsetto I didn't know he was capable of. (Side note: The song is from the musical "the Producers" and it makes fun of Adolpho. Elliott joins in that thought.) Both of your grandma's think that your sense of humor is a little strange, but with the mom and dad you got stuck with, that is to be expected. You and dad have created lots of games and tricks to get you to laugh and scream from dad throwing you in the air, to having you pound your fists into his head.

This month you ate sweet potatoes and liked them, but didn't care for peaches. We tried to feed you apple juice the other day and it made you puke. Teeth are definitely in the near future and you have become a slobbering machine awaiting their arrival.


You have mastered the baby Einstein, now being able to spin yourself all the way around to get to whatever toy suits your fancy. And, you want nothing to do with lying down anymore, unless you are asleep. It is standing for you, all the time, no questions asked. How your little teeny, stubby legs can support your massive weight, I do not know.

Airplanes were on your list in the past four weeks and in retrospect, you did very well on your first trip. Vegas definitely wasn't your cup of tea, but hotel rooms seemed to suit you quite well. The relaxation of a hotel bed in your undershirt seemed to be just the fit for this growing boy.

camping out

Baseball and swimming pools also made the list this past couple of weeks. The baseball game, you weren't so fond of, but the pool? Oh yes, the pool is right up your alley. Grandma Judy had the right touch lowering you into the water and splashing with your feet. Just wait until we throw you in little monkey. That will be quite the sight.

grandma and the monkey

An even bigger milestone than swimming pools happened to you just last night. Dad, in an attempt to trim your itty bitty fingernails as you were waking up from a nap cut off your finger. Not your whole finger, but a good chunk of the tip. You bled for what felt like hours, but was more about 10 minutes and you didn't even cry. You were more anxious at the fact that I was holding you so tight and wouldn't let go of your hand, than the fact that you were oozing blood all over a dish towel.

sore finger

Keeping a band aid on your teeny tiny finger has been more work than I ever imagined. If you would just stop sticking that finger into your mouth, all would be well.

It is so exciting to see you get bigger and stronger. Maybe in the next month you will actually roll over and maybe even enjoy being on your tummy. Right now, your body mass seems to get in the way. And, why bother learning to loco mote on your own when mom and dad come running at the smallest squeak.

open mouth

We love you baby! You and all your slobber!


In the shower this morning, as I was trying to avoid thinking about my terrible headache that kept me up half the night with an ice pack on my head, I thought about the time a bunch of my high school students asked me where they should go eat before prom. I recommended several very nice, yet reasonable locations and genres of food, hoping that these boys would expand their horizons and take their dates out for a beautiful and extravagant meal.

The next Monday at school, I asked the boys where they had gone for that oh so important night.

They went to the Olive Garden.

Go Figure!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Haven't you watched Myth Busters on the Discovery Channel

This blog post is dedicated to the disgusting and most unhygienic person of them all: The anti-toilet flusher.

I had a lunch meeting today. At that meeting, I drank several glasses of water. As the meeting wore on, my need to use the restroom intensified. So, when the need was imminent, I excused myself and headed towards the bathroom. Now, I'm not handicapped so I always head towards the smaller stall. I did so this afternoon. Upon my initial entering of the stall, I realized that the prior stall occupant failed to do an important task in a public restroom. She didn't flush her poo-poo all the way down to sewer land.

Did she want to save water?
Did she not know that she had committed a #2?
Does she get excited knowing that the next person to attempt to use the stall will get a surprise?

Does she know nothing about the rampant spread of poo spores in this country?...nay, the world? Just think of all the bacteria being spread throughout the facility because she didn't flush.

So disgusting and lady, whoever you are and wherever you are...SHAME ON YOU!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Book Review: The Culture Code

I like novels, but I also like works of non-fiction as well, especially those that make me think. Recently, I finished The Culture Code by Clotaire Rapaille. If you like books like Freakanomics and Blink, then this is the perfect book for you. Mr. Rapaille is a psychologist/sociologist by profession and early into his career he started to analyze people, for big corporations to help these corporations market their products. The results of years of research and study are what he calls "codes". These codes, for people worldwide, determine what they buy, why they buy it, and how they live their lives.

For example, there is a chapter in the book about the codes for health and youth in America. According to the author, the code for health and wellness in America is: Movement; the code for doctor is Hero; the code for nurse, mother; and the code for hospital, Processing Plant. Based off of the research and sessions with group participants the fact that America is a new nation, a nation on the move, means that we are always going and our going in theory is what keeps us alive and healthy. In the US, we buy into doctors because they fix us when we are hurt and broken, and we love nurses because they are nurturing and care for us like our moms. (Insert personal comment: Except maybe for Nurse she was a piece of work.) This then explains the code for hospitals. We are a people on the move so when we are ill enough to be a patient in a hospital, the movement stops, and we are pinned down by protocol, rules, pain levels, and illness. Doctors and nurses keep us moving and hospitals weigh us down.

With this in mind, it's no wonder insurance companies, HMO's, doctors and nurses and hospitals themselves are all about getting us moving and keeping us happy. They are staying on code. After my c-section when Elliott was born, I wasn't bed ridden, but up within hours moving around, going to the NICU, and wiggling my toes. I had to keep moving and during the 5 days I was in the hospital, even though I was being "processed", I was able to come and go from the baby to my room as I pleased.

This is but one example from the book. If this example isn't enough, here are some more "codes" to wet your whistle, or get you excited to read the book.
Cheese = Dead
Seduction = Manipulation
Beauty = Man's salvation
Youth = Mask
Work = Who you are
Alcohol = Gun

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Eccentricity make you exciting, right?

I'll be the first to admit that my family is a little, well, different. Maybe, it's because we're all tall, or educated, or like college basketball, or have seen Billy Joel in concert several times and aren't ashamed to admit it (yes, I like myself a little "pressure" on occasion).

Ross and I like to mispronounce words and emphasize the wrong sy-lalbe because we're so smart and thin it's funny. I enjoy coming up with clever puns to help me through the day. I love puns! I don't like to be touched by people that aren't my immediate family and Ross uses the phrases, "The deans peanuts", "the cats pajamas" or anything else he hears on that stupid Don and Mike radio program fairly regularly. Every morning when Elliott and I go downstairs for breakfast, I count our steps, 17 of them, just so he knows. And maybe so I can turn him into an obsessive step counter like his mother.

Well, I'm not sure what the cause, but it seems that my little baby has, at nearly 5 months old, decided to develop his eccentric side as well. In the last week or so, he has decided that he does not like to be held, especially when he is tired. Last week, as he was yelling at me, I gave up trying to rock him to sleep and just laid him on my bed. I stuck his pacifier in his mouth and threw the blanket on top of him. What happened next? Magic I tell you! Elliott grabbed the blanket, put it over his face, and fell asleep. What a fascinating discovery!

The monkey falls into an almost hypnotic state, especially when we swap the blanket for a dishtowel. He drags it over his face until he reaches a state of apparent nirvana because he sleeps peacefully, sometimes for two or more hours.
sleeping with a dish towel

Why this happens, I don't know, but this baby is strange. I love him, have tons of evidence to prove that he is mine, and he has definitely picked up on his parents (and extended families) oddities. Good for him.

And finally, if nothing else could prove he is my boy, this does:
He crosses his feet when he sleeps, just like me.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

What Baseball Game?

what baseball game?, originally uploaded by bookemdano1978.

My mom got Ross tickets to four baseball games as part of his birthday present. Last night was the first game and the whole gang went.

At home, Elliott was fine. At dinner, he played in his car seat while Ross and I ate. Driving to the game, perfect. Walking into the ball park, happy. Then, it all went to pot. To my best guess, the little guy got overwhelmed by the wind (it was very windy), the people, the noise, the loud speakers, the ACDC and just lost control of his emotions! He screamed like a bat out of Magna for the first several innings. I took him from Ross pretty early in the game and we started walking. We found a nice bench behind the ballfield and sat there for almost the entire 9 innings (The game went 10 but baby couldn't take it anymore so we left).

Once Elliott knew we were on our way home, he was calm and laughing on the way to the car. However, once we stuck him back into the evil car seat, he screamed the entire 30 minutes home.

On a good note, one of the security guards walked by and asked if it was Elliott's first baseball game. When I replied, "yes it is!", this nice guy pulled a baseball out of his bag and gave it to us. The kid got a pretty cool souvenier even though he wasn't too interested.

We've got tickets to three more games. Anyone want to babysit?

Monday, June 04, 2007

5 days in Sin City

We are back from Vegas, baby and very happy to be home. I didn't put a single penny in a slot machine, though I had good intentions (I just never got around to it)and I only spent 1 evening on the strip. This was a very different Vegas trip than most would take. We spent our days out in the dessert, seeing a side of the city I've never seen in the Red Rock Canyons hiking and taking a jeep tour. We spent our evenings at banquets with fancy dinners, dresses, and drinking. Ross' and I skipped the drinking, but did our boring best to be dressy and have a good time.

We met a lot of people Ross works with from all over the world. We spent some time w/ KJ and her daughter from Korea and 2 couples from Mexico City. Ross got to speak Spanish for hours! He loved it. We hob-nobbed with the biggest at American Express, and stayed in a very cool resort.

Elliott even had a good trip, though the heat was way too much for the little monkey to handle. Every time we took him outside and especially in the car, he had a major meltdown (literally and "pun=ley"...get it major meltdown. It's a pun. I love puns). He was pretty good on both flights and slept very well on a hotel bed for all the nights we were gone.

We were able to visit some friends of Ross' and drive out to Overton to see Melinda and her family. Family and friends always make trips worthwhile.

I didn't take too many pictures, or even many good pictures for that matter, but I did take some. The best can be viewed below.

In the end, I'm not sure that we'll ever go back to Vegas. Ross and I really can't stand the city. It has In and Out burger, but not much else to offer.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Viva Lost Wages

We're in Vegas, baby! Ross won a very important and major award at work and as part of the award, we got an all expenses paid trip to vegas. We brought Elliott and his nannies (Ross' parents graciously agreed to come down and take care of the Monkey) and have been having a very busy, "vacation".

The resort we are staying at is very cool. The Red Rock Casino and Resort is off the strip (yeah) in Summerlin and is brand new and very beautiful. (I'll post more later when I have access to my computer and all my pictures).

We've been very well taken care of on our stay and will be coming home on Sunday. Just to give you a small sampling of our experience, here's the menu from our first banquet on Wednesday night.

Yukon Gold Potatoes & Frissee Salad, Smoked Scallop Ceviche, Sevruga Caviar, Creme Fraiche

Cantaloupe & Prosecco

Main Course:
Filet Mignon & Lobster Tail, Seared Foie Gras, Roasted Shallotts, Truffled Potato Gratin


Lemon Oregano Chicken Breast & Lobster Tail, Rasted Asparagus, Truffeled Potato Gratin

White Chocolate Mousse, Coconut Nougatine, Passion Cremeux


Rasberry Linzertorte, Raspberry Coulis

How about that?!


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