Friday, August 31

Update Points

  • Last week Thursday (8/23) a huge line of storms moved through the area. Our next-door neighbor's house had a tree that was struck by lightning and there were a number of trees and limbs down, including many which caused damage. Thanks be to God, the only problem we had was loss of power for three days.
  • Because of the power outage (and the fact that when we lose power, we also lose water), the family spent three nights in a local hotel. Every time we have driven by said hotel since the storm, our daughter calls out, "'Otey. Baby otey. Go simming! Nee go poo'!" [Translation: Hotel. Baby's hotel. Go swimming! I need to go to the pool!]
  • With our house finally clean enough for company, we went whole hog and had people over for three separate occasions this week. Whew! What were we thinking? At least we're invited somewhere else to celebrate Labor Day.
  • Oh, yeah. We finally had that ducky birthday party. The cake didn't quite turn out how I'd been imagining. In fact, it turned into two cakes. You can click on the photos below to see larger images. I'm planning to write up a full description of all the pieces to post on my craft blog. I'll make a note of it when that's done.

Wednesday, August 22

The Indoor Naturalist

It was a hot and steamy Tuesday afternoon in the wilds of suburbia. Adam was headed on safari, camera in hand, hoping to identify the elusive predator before it made another lightning-fast get away.

Meanwhile, our daughter headed into the kitchen for another serving of peanut butter fudge--she was hoping to feed the critter, and maybe encourage it to make babies.

After several fruitless missions, and a number of fuzzy photos, Adam had our answer. We had a wolf in the bathroom!

I read the online descriptions out loud to the family:

Although non-aggressive, they bite freely if provoked and should be considered dangerous to humans .... [They have] a roving nocturnal lifestyle to hunt their prey and can move very rapidly when disturbed.1

They are robust and agile hunters ... usually considered harmless to humans.2

Nothing like a little consistency among websites. At least we finally had a good photo or two. Click on either of them to see the bigger, scarier-looking image.

We could have made a pet of our particular pest (find detailed instructions on what you'd need to do here), the consensus among the adults in the house was to find a good poison and kill it.

Unfortunately, neither Lysol® nor Formula 409® is recommended for that purpose. Probably because they're not very effective. They did put a nice sheen on the funnel web, though. So, off to the store we went, only to find an aisle of ant, roach and housefly toxins. A few of them, however, did have a little yellow notice to one side that said "also kills spiders."

The problem with toxic chemicals is, of course, they're not just toxic to pests. They also carry big warning labels about using them away from children and pets, in well-ventilated areas. I ask you, is your small bathroom well ventilated? Really, do they expect us to coax the spider out of his comfy hole and onto the back porch where the breeze is better?

We waited until after our daughter was in bed asleep. We figured this was better for her health, plus we wouldn't have to explain why we were trying to kill her new favorite pet.

So far today, we've not seen the critter again. Actually, it ran away back into the hole when I started Lysol-ing it yesterday afternoon, so maybe it really did move to a new house. At any rate, that's the story my daughter's going to hear if she asks.


Saturday, August 11

Are You Ready for Some Football?

It's that time of year again, when the heat of summer has gotten to be just about all I can take and baseball season is still not over yet: It's pre-season football!

Tonight the Bears played their first game against the Houston Texans. I was watching with some friends, but Adam and I had to leave with about five minutes left in the game. Apparently, I missed the most interesting few minutes of the game.

The short story is, the Bears managed to pull victory from the jaws of defeat. Just barely. Or should that be "Bear-ly"? They've had an awful lot of close games over the past season or two. I really can't complain, though. My team is winning the games after all, and I must admit, a squeaker is a whole lot more fun to watch than a blowout.

Here's to another exciting season of football!

Friday, August 10

Very Excited (and bonus kid funnies)

Lori over at Queen of Dirty Laundry has started a regular feature called "Advice Forum Friday." I must admit, I'm pretty excited about it. I often find myself wondering how other parents deal with certain issues, but I'm mostly too embarrassed to ask such things of the moms I know in person.

So, here goes. As I may or may not have mentioned lately, we are working at phasing diapers out of our lives. Yeeha! My daughter's doing pretty well at most aspects of remembering to use the bathroom for her expulsion needs, but we're discovering a disturbing trend.

Several times in the past few weeks, she has gone to use the facilities of her own initiative. While we are home, she can take care of things mostly all by herself and will often only tell us after the fact. That part I'm okay with. It's the Show and Tell (or worse yet, Hide and Smell) aspect of this little procedure that's beginning to get to me.

We have told her several times that touching her own waste is not a good idea, I may have even shouted it at the top of my lungs once or twice. Every episode so far has been followed by a trip back to the bathroom, a reintroduction to the functions of each plumbing fixture, a very thorough hand washing, and a reminder that she has made a bad choice and must learn to make better choices in the future.

Am I doing this right? Because it hasn't seemed very effective so far. Is she just so interested in what comes out of her that she can't keep her little fingers to herself? Honestly, not one of the parenting articles I've read covered this sort of thing. What do I do?

And for the promised funnies:

1) Adam has recently begun singing "Jesus Loves Me" to our daughter at bedtime. She's been really interested in songs and singing lately, and has been picking up the words incredibly quickly, albeit with a bit of a twist. Her version of the song goes, "Jesus yummy, sigh no!"

2) We were grocery shopping and she got a special treat: Rather than having to sit in the cart's fold out seat, we got one of the bigger carts with a two-seat bench that let her sit like the big kids. At one point on our way to the pretzel aisle, she twisted around in her seat and grabbed for the metal bar across the back. She held on with both hands. "What are you doing?" I asked. She looked up with a grin, "I pushing!"

Wednesday, August 8

Works for Me: Egg Salad

This post originally appeared on By Hook or By Cook.

Egg salad was not something I readily ate growing up. I didn't think I liked mayonnaise. Little did I know, my real problem was with that "salad dressing" people like to pretend is mayonnaise. Once I discovered the real stuff, there was no going back.

My biggest trouble in putting a good egg salad together (once I'm past peeling those suckers), is the actual crumbling of the eggs. I tried being a fork masher, but it took too long and seemed rather demanding (I hate to be picking half-mashed eggs off my counter).

Recently, I discovered the best egg salad helper: my pastry cutter! Drop my dozen eggs in the bowl, mash mash mash, and they're done!

Now, as far as my recipe ... I must admit I don't really use one. I tend to start with about a dozen eggs (or six or eight, however many are on hand), boil them, dip them in cold water before peeling, then mash.

I finely chop a stalk or two of celery and add as much mayonnaise as it takes to make it all stick together. Then I sprinkle the whole thing with salt and pepper, stir it up, and serve it on hard rolls or crackers.

Check out more tips and techniques to make life more sane at Rocks in my Dryer.

Tuesday, August 7

First Letter Meme

I recently read this meme on Jennifer's blog, Chronicles of a Night Owl.

The Rules
  • Use the 1st letter of your name to fill in each category.
  • You are not allowed to make anything up; each answer must be a real place, name, etc.
  • Use different answers if the person before you had the same 1st initial.
  • You can't use your own name for the boy/girl name category.
  • If you can’t think of anything, skip it.
Your Name: Amy

1. Famous Band: ABBA
2. Four-Letter Word: Alms
3. Street: Abbey Road
4. Color: Aubergine
5. Gift: Aspen Cologne
6. Vehicle: Accord
7. Souvenir Shop Find: Agate
8. Boy's Name: Adam
9. Girl's Name: Adrian
10. Movie Title: Anastasia
11. Drink: Appletini
12. Occupation: Astronomer
13. Celebrity: Abigail Van Buren
14. Magazine: Among Worlds
15. U.S. City: Albuquerque
16. Pro Sports Team: Avalanche
18. Reason for Being Late to Work: Amnesia
19. Something You Throw Away: Advertising Circulars
20. What You Shout: Ahoy!
21. Cartoon Character: Archibald Asparagus

Oh, and I came up with all the answers on my own. Google only helped me find some of the cool pictures and websites.

Saturday, August 4


I know, I know. Two posts in one day...what are you going to do with yourselves?

Really though, I was just checking out some of the updates I was doing today, and I noticed one post had a lot more comments on it than I had remembered reading. Sure enough, there were three or four there I'd never seen before.

I looked into my e-mail folder where the comment notices from Blogger are filed and I didn't have any of these comments. Hmmm.... A quick glance through the spam folder and I found half a dozen comments I never realized I'd gotten.

Apparently the various entities Google haven't been playing nicely with one another!

So, officially to everybody who's been commenting the last couple of weeks--THANK YOU!! I really appreciate your thoughts. As a writer, I often don't have any idea whether or not what I say means anything to anyone besides me. That's one of the nice things about blogging--it's really easy to tell somebody, "Hey, that was great!" or, "You know, I don't quite see it that way. Have you ever considered...." It's nice to know you're out there and still paying attention.

I guess from now on, I'll need to keep an eye on the spam folder to see if anything important has been misfiled among all the ads for cheap prescription drugs from other countries and pleas from soon-to-be exiled high-ranking officials in war-torn nations who want to borrow my bank account in order to launder some money.

Birthday Party Time (again...)

Some of my regular readers (can I still call you that--even though I haven't been regularly writing?) may have noticed that I've kept the ducky "wishlist" logo up in my sidebar, even though my daughter's birthday is now many months past.

Actually, the originally scheduled party never happened. The birthday week ended up getting a little bit crazy here at our house and we decided it would be in the best interest of our sanity to postpone for a couple weeks. A "couple" has turned into 20-some, but we're finally back on.

We've decided to celebrate her half-birthday this year. This way, we can still have friends over and party hearty, but we don't have to wait for birthday #3. And, since she was born in February, we can do an indoor/outdoor party, which just isn't as easy when there's a foot of snow on the ground. Plus, we can splash around with all the ducky bath toys in our backyard blow-up pool. Definitely not as nice an option in the snow!

The ducky theme is still good, especially since plates and cups have already been purchased, I think we'll call this the "birthday party re-DUCKS" (hee hee hee).