Thursday, February 23, 2012


One of Emmy's favorite things in the world is to shred up her food on the sly and then surreptitiously drop it off her tray when I'm not looking. Little git.

So it's now her job to pick up the floor around her chair after mealtimes. This solution has somewhat backfired. I don't have to painstakingly pick up every last chunk of food off the floor anymore, but she now thinks she's being rewarded for her little habit, and it hasn't deterred her in the slightest.

Well, today it was a tortilla. I was cleaning up the dishes, Grace was doing calisthenics or something in the living room, and Emmy, as usual, was still eating. Or so I thought. Something registered in my brain at some point, and I looked over to see her picking the tiniest pieces off her tortilla and peering intently over the edge of her tray as gravity did its thing. (This sort of nonsense had better mean she'll be a scientist one day) It looked like a bag of rice had spilled on the floor.

So I came over, got her out of her chair and told her she had to pick ALL OF IT up. She looked at me like, "Well... duh. Why do you think I did it?"

But there were probably a hundred of these little tiny pieces, and after about ten, she started losing interest. Mainly because she likes to pick up one little piece at a time and trot back and forth from her pile to the garbage can. Which is really funny when she has a full belly and has been forced to dine shirtless.

And I stood over her like a taskmaster and pointed to each one that she had to pick up. Honestly, it was more work for me than it was for her. But she eventually stopped enjoying it and was all, "Nnnnngh! This is work. Why are you making me WORK?"

I think from now on I will allow her to make a really huge mess before getting her down and making her pick it up. This will work, right?

Friday, February 17, 2012


Grace's sense of humor has taken off recently. It's still pretty juvenile, but hey, it's a good thing I have the mind of a 12-year-old. Earlier today:

Grace: You're funny!
Me: No, you're funny.
Grace: No, you're funny!
Me: Well, you're funny... smelling!
Grace: *hysterical giggles*
Me: You're funny... looking!
Grace: *more hysterical giggles* You're funny... ROGER! *SHRIEKS OF LAUGHTER* You're funny... BUTT! *begins to choke on her own saliva*

It was probably funnier if you were actually there. But I so love this age. The last couple of days were rough, due to a very whiny, mopey Grace, but we think she was just on the tail end of a growth spurt. She's eaten like a half-starved bear for the last week, while she normally eats about five molecules a day, mostly bread. Two mornings ago, for breakfast: two scrambled eggs (and I mix them with Greek yogurt), a cup of milk, an orange, five pieces of toast, and two more pieces of bread when I got sick of making toast. That's more than Jeremy normally eats. She also ate a pretty sizable lunch and dinner. She grew half an inch and weighs what feels like ten more pounds. She's not very waif-like anymore.

Emmy is now two. VERY TWO. Everything she does lately is VERY. She is VERY HAPPY. Or VERY WHINY. Or VERY GIGGLY. Or VERY AWAKE. Or, my favorite, VERY DEFIANT. I do not bend to her will, but man is it hard sometimes. I think that kid will go far, so long as she doesn't turn to a highly lucrative life of crime. She doesn't care what you think of her, THANKYOUVERYMUCH. She doesn't even follow Grace around anymore. I do not see this one succumbing to peer pressure or idiot boyfriends. So that's good.

I have gotten to the point where swimming is fun and not completely drudgery after the first 200 yards. It feels amazing. My endurance is still not the greatest, but I love the feeling of getting into the water and just slicing through it. Compared to other real swimmers, I'm still pretty terrible, but there aren't a lot of real swimmers around her, so my ego goes mostly unchecked.

There was a lady in the pool last week who was faster than I, and it drove me CRAZY. I got in, and she was in the lane next to me, and I practically sprinted all of my sets, which was a really dumb move. She finally got out (thank goodness; I would have eventually given myself a heart attack), and I did a very short cool down and got out with shaking arms. I felt amazing the next day, though.

I have also been doing the 100 Pushups program for the last several weeks. I've always been terrible at pushups. Even at my most fit, I never topped 50, which is pretty sad considering the amount of arm and chest strength swimmers are supposed to have. I love this program because it tells you exactly what you should do, and it takes less than five minutes a day.

I'm starting very, very slowly to avoid injury. I do each day three times. I just finished week two. Doing knee pushups. It's kind of embarrassing. But I have noticed that everything else has gotten easier since I started this. And once I complete it with knee pushups, I'll go back and do it with real pushups, and hopefully someday I won't be a total weakling anymore.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I bet they'd NEVER steal my credit card number

I got this email today:

Subject: About your - blog. Please read.

Hello Dear, we saw your blog at and wanted to get in touch with you. We like your blog and would like to offer you a cooperation. Here is a Coupon with a 5% discount on all orders at our fashion online store (coupon: blogspot2012). You may use it for your personal use or make a article about at your blog. I hope you like our gift. Yours

Okay, I thought, so I shouldn't discriminate just because someone doesn't have a perfect grasp of English. You should hear some of my Spanish. Doesn't mean I can't properly serve drinks to a bunch of Spanish-speaking restaurant patrons, right? Well, usually.

Also, 5% off! I will take 5% off! Sure! Even if it is odd that you're peddling your wares to a blog that hasn't been updated in forever.

Instead of clicking on the link itself, I typed in the address. You know how spammers can be tricksy. I didn't get a virus, which is good. It's pretty much goal in any sort of interaction (having low standards makes life a lot more enjoyable).

The tagline is "Risingtaste - Where taste meets fashion." Which... seems redundant. "Risingtaste - Where pain meets terrible burns." Or, on a more positive note, "Risingtaste - Where humor meets comedy." But, again, grasp of the language doesn't necessarily mean anything, right?

Then I went to look at their clothes. I found a few cute things, but they all have the same size: "Free Size" I don't know what that means. But I also noticed that everything was under $15, which sounded crazy to me. Then I noticed in fine print under the tagline: "Wholesale clothing from China." Which got me all suspicious, so I went to their "About us!" page. And it seemed rather, well, defensive. Some choice quotes:

We are legally registered as a private company in ZHEJIANG, CHINA, and have received business license from CHINA government. Purchase at indicates safe and well-managed trade.

Translation: We're totally shady and suspicious, but please buy from us anyway because the CHINESE GOVERNMENT is okay with us.

We have our own factory in Linhai, Zhejiang. also, in order to provide more styles(more than 6000 styles ),we ally with many clothing manufacturers specializing in producing export clothing in SHANGHAI,GUANGZHOU and ZHEJIANG of China, which enables us to provide trendy styles in massive amount and in remarkably low wholesale price. Now we are the best supplier to wholesalers, retailers and boutiques online or entities shops all over the world.

Translation: "We're a gigantic sweatshop. We rip off styles from manufacturers around the world and pay minuscule wages to provide you with thin, jersey-knit shirts at ridiculously low prices."


What? It looks like prison? Nooo. But look at all the natural light that these hundreds of women have to work in, with their nice sewing areas. We also feed them twice per day!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

We can breathe again

We are all healthy. We are all home. We are all (relatively) happy. Finally!

After Jeremy got home from his second trip, I went away to Moab for the weekend with some friends from church. It was like an extended high school slumber party, except with no parents nagging us to go to bed. Which, I know I'm getting old because I went to bed by midnight both nights even though I could have slept as late as I wanted.

Arches National Park. Is stunning. Lodging is really cheap in the off-season, especially if you go with some friends. You can look at pictures on the Internet all day if you want to, but nothing even comes close to the real thing. I got some pictures on my phone, but I haven't looked at them on a computer yet. My camera is not the most fanciest ever, so they might be garbage. If not, I'll post some.

I'm so tired I could probably pass out right now without any Ambien. To illustrate: I typed "assistance" four times before I got it right.

I did a longish workout video this afternoon, and THEN I went to the pool and swam 1700 yards. Okay, no, that's not very much. Not at all. In high school, we'd swim three times that in one practice.

But now? Well, six months ago, I could barely swim 100 yards at a time. Tonight I made up a workout as I went along, decided to do my cool down when I started feeling lousy, and then my cool down turned into 700 yards of nonstop swimming. A month ago, I got all excited when I finally broke 500 yards at the BEGINNING of a workout.

I love feeling strong and energetic again. I don't feel like I'm constantly lugging an extra carcass around on my shoulders. There's a long way to go yet, but I crossed some kind of threshold in the last few weeks. A little more muscle, a little less dead weight, and all of a sudden I have enough energy to get through the day, keep the house clean, be nice to the kids, and then voluntarily go work out at the end of it all.

My sister has been helping a lot. We post our respective weekly schedules on each others' walls on Monday, and then hold each other accountable. Or, rather, she holds me accountable. She doesn't appear to need quite as much motivation as I do.

And on Mondays and Wednesdays, I do water aerobics with a church friend. It's actually pretty hard work, if you push yourself. It's also way more fun than swimming laps, if you're a social person.

Speaking of my sister, a friend of hers works for a cloth diaper company (Sustainable Babyish). My prefolds were starting to get ragged (thanks, hard water, for requiring me to launder the snot out of my diapers), and I was thinking I'd have to buy more, but hey, my sister says, I have a gazillion of these diapers to give to you for free. Merry Christmas!

And they are so great. It takes them a while to get to their full absorbency potential, but once they do, you could just about soak up a small pond with one. I really recommend them, if you have the funds. I'm thinking about getting some REALLY good covers and giving nighttime cloth diapers another go. It's been a complete failure with everything else we've tried except for Huggies Overnites, which pretty much cost as much as the kid itself does, and that's pretty annoying.

Emmy turns two in four days. Yes. Emmy. THE BABY. I don't know whether to be excited or to sob. She still has the baby face, which Grace never had. This helps. But still, she's much more little girl than baby.

We want at least one more, badly (once we sell that house), but I love that I'm getting to enjoy her personality coming alive instead of having just enough mental and emotional energy to get through the day with a newborn and a toddler. She is so willful and such a clown. It's a terrible combination, since she comes thisclose to adorabling her way out of almost everything. But I thoroughly enjoy her even as she's trying to manipulate me.

I need to go to bed. But that is our life during the last few weeks. Mundane, but overall, pretty good.