Monday, July 30, 2012

Picky eaters?

Here's a quote from a Catholic parenting forum:
My three kids are so spoiled and such picky eaters. This morning I made a potato egg skillet casserole. Slivered potatoes, slivered onions, fresh ground salt and pepper, scrambled free range eggs from the local egg farmer, finely shredded cheddar cheese...all the best ingredients.
Poor kids!  It does sound terrible.  

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Here's some of what's happening:

  • My husband and C are making me sugar-free jello.
  • We had two free admissions (due to an early closing) and my husband took the kids roller skating this afternoon.
  •  I played Battle Ship with C tonight.  The game doesn't take as long as WWII, but it feels that way.  I told C I thought a digital version would be better, ideally with explosions.  
  • C is getting rather good at Scrabble.
  • D went to sleep tonight in a sleeping bag.  
  • It's been a week since I got off my physical restrictions but I haven't done a lot with my new freedom except go to the grocery store.  I'm bewildered by my new freedom.  Today, though, I finally perked up and started doing laundry, which I haven't done for some months now.  I ran three loads.   
  • We were watching some soccer on the snowy big-screen TV at the cafeteria.  Judging from the team uniforms (which were actually Chelsea and Milan), the two teams competing were Samsung and Emirate Airlines.  
  • My husband (with some help from me) unpacked the last moving box in the living room, which contained various odds and ends (hot pads, a box of checks, Easter palms, etc.).  There are two small boxes left in the living room (one an orphan item box, one our Goodwill box), but the Goodwill box will go to Goodwill once it fills up again and the orphan item box will be the very last one we deal with.
  • That means that our remaining moving tasks are:  30 minutes of paper sorting for my husband's office, arranging my office supplies in the living room (probably 60 minutes, max), working on D's closet (60 minutes max) and working on C's room (afraid to estimate).  That last one will be the most complicated, as it involves the most stuff.  I hope we will continue to diligently make progress on the final stage of the move.  I suppose we are at least 5/6 done now, possibly 7/8.     
  • Our move in May 2013 isn't going to be quite as easy to deal with, as we only have a 4-day window to do the move in (for this recent move, my husband did a lot of pre-moving work transporting fragile kid papercrafts, LEGO treasures, most of the kitchen stuff).  On the other hand, we have the advantage that we are moving into a much larger house with a garage, so that we won't have the space crisis we faced when moving into our current duplex, with the accompanying necessity of disposing of many large items.   
  • Three weeks until school starts!  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Indian doctor blog

I've just been looking at Dr. Jeevan Kuruvilla's blog archive.  As far as I can tell, Dr. Kuruvilla is an Indian Christian who practices medicine at a mission hospital.  His blog offers a fascinating look at the difficulties of medicine in a remote area of the developing world--transportation problems, shortages, difficulty in getting qualified personnel, popular reluctance to seek professional medical care until it's too late and lack of concern for girls and women.  It looks like some of the major medical problems that his hospital deals with are perinatal care and snake bite.  

Have a look!  I also have lately been enjoying reading Dr. Amy Tuteur (the avenging angel of conventional obstetrical practice) and a Canadian female anesthesiologist who blogs at The Adequate Mother.  

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday birthday

Here's some of what has been happening:
  • D had an invitation to a birthday party for a classmate at the YMCA pool, so he and I went.  It was an outdoor pool and the air temperature was about 99 degrees.  Three kids were being celebrated at the same party, so there was present-opening, "Happy Birthday" and cupcakes in shifts.  It was a three ring circus, split between a LEGO theme (cupcakes in primary colors) and a cute animal theme (pink and purple frosted cupcakes with frosted animal crackers).  At our table, two little boys complained about the flavor of the frosting on the cupcakes (they had candy LEGOs on them).  A little girl at the table said she liked the frosting a lot, since it "tastes like melted LEGOs."  I think she was giving the two little boys a hard time.
  • A different little girl at the party was heard to ask her mom if any boys like Barbie.   
  • My husband and C were going to go rollerskating, but the rink closed 30 minutes into their skate, due to lack of patronage this afternoon.    

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Birthday update

Here's some of what's happening:

  • On Wednesday, we celebrated C's birthday a little early with another family at the new, expanded (much more expensive) water park.  (I still can't believe that our humble burg has been presented with such a fancy water park.)  I sat poolside with the other mom while the daddies and kids frolicked.  We also got cheap $5 tickets for a return visit, which was cool.  My husband and I have mixed feelings about outdoor water parks.  On the one hand--FUN! SLIDES! WAVE POOL!  On the other hand--the hot Texas sun, glare, burnt feet, goopy sunblock, getting it on everybody's face and ears, and then discovering afterward which spots you missed.  So, I don't think we're going to be a season pass type family, but we should go at least once or twice a year.  We should also give Great Wolf Lodge a try in the winter, now that the kids are bigger and braver.  We all had lunch at the cafeteria and then chocolate cheesecake and a bit of play at home.  We had horse plates, napkins, cups, temporary tattoos, and goody boxes.  
  • On Thursday, I had my long awaited 27-week doctor's visit (that means I'm now just starting the third trimester).  We brought the kids along for the ultrasound, so they got to see their little sister for the first time.  The ultrasound also showed no sign of the subchorionic hematoma that benched me throughout nearly the entire second trimester.  So, I have had all of my restrictions lifted.  Woo hoo!  (We'd been more conservative than my actual instructions, and I hadn't set foot in a grocery store in about two months.  It's been very exciting to go to HEB again.)  Unfortunately, at this point, I don't WANT to do most of the stuff that I wasn't ABLE to do before.  I get tired and out of breath really fast from being on my feet.  The good thing is that other members of the family have made really miraculous progress on the unpacking.  It's hard to say exactly where we are in the process, but it's probably at least 5/6 done (maybe even more).  And it's only been one month!  My husband is putting the finishing touches on his office (he says he has two more hours to go), I have one box in the dining room and my office supplies to arrange and then we need to work on the boxes of toys in the kids' closets.  It's not that scary.          
  • The kids have finished the library reading program and have a pile of coupons to use around town!  C has also finished her school reading bingo but D has just started his.  
  • This is going to sound like a product placement, but I was very happy to purchase two Clorox ToiletWand sets for the kids' bathrooms yesterday.  I am trying to hand over some cleaning responsibility to the kids for their baths now that they each have their own.  I've also supplied each bath with a container of disinfectant wipes and explained to the kids what they are and that I expect them to use the wipes for spot cleaning (we have cleaners every two weeks).  D was very excited about learning to use the ToiletWand set and by the time we started his lesson this morning, he had read the instructions and was unpacking the kit.  He did a very good job snapping the stand together.  I gave him a tutorial, explaining that you spear the sponge, swish the toilet, and then just press the button to drop the used sponge into the trash when you're done.  Also, I mentioned that I would supply sponge refills on request.  C was much less eager for her toilet cleaning lesson, but I was also satisfied with her progress.         
  • The disinfectant wipes and disposable sponges are probably not quite environmentally correct, but 1) I need stuff that it is realistic to expect the kids to manage by themselves and 2) we have regular cleaning help, so we just need occasional spot cleaning.  These supplies are simple to use and adequate for our needs.    
  • We have four more weeks of summer vacations.  There's just one more week of camp left (a morning art camp for both kids at a ceramic-painting place), plus a bunch of appointments for the everybody.    

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


I was just looking at What to Expect's week-by-week pregnancy update.  Sherwin-Williams (the paint company) has a banner ad.  That is very good marketing.

New bedding

C's new horse bedding arrived this evening.  She is thrilled and has been redoing her bed.  D is likewise thrilled, as he has inherited C's old tropical fish bedding.  His mattress is slightly longer, so the sheets don't fit, but the comforter and pillowcases are fine.

C eating dinner

C (eating a frozen Asian dinner):  The only thing that would make this better is tofu.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

Birthday countdown

Here's some of what's happening:

  • The living room has been unpacked.
  • The city has finally given us a large recycling container and we are no longer buried by empty cardboard boxes.
  • My husband has installed some coat hooks near the front door.
  • The pots and pans have been washed and put away.  We also came to the conclusion that our household doesn't really need a 16 quart stock pot, so we gave it away to a graduate couple. 
  • The dining room contains 4 moving boxes, plus some other stuff.  My husband's office contains 3 moving boxes, plus various debris.  Then the kids' rooms have a lot of packed toys in the closets. That is the extent of the remaining unpacking.
  • I'd like to get the dining room mostly done before C's birthday party later this week and I'd certainly like to be all done with the unpacking in the next two weeks--certainly by the end of the summer.    

Sunday, July 15, 2012


We've got the menu for the faculty club on the fridge and C studies it with great care.  Last night, my husband and the kids got home very late (and very mosquito-bitten) from a star party.  Nonetheless, at around 11 PM, C was carefully marking her personal calendar for next week with 1) tiramisu at the faculty club 2) her birthday trip to the water park and 3) her official birthday.  The kids only got to bed around 11:30 PM, as they needed emergency baths (for chigger treatment) and treatment with hydrocortisone cream.

I thought for sure that the kids would be deep asleep until 9 or 10 the next morning, but we woke up this morning (Sunday) to the sound of the Wii.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Today the kids did a lot of reading and my husband and I (mainly my husband) finished unpacking the master bedroom and all three baths that we are using.  The master bedroom looks very restful and civilized now, the master bath stuff is arranged so that I know where stuff is and the kids' baths turned out to be almost done (the kids used to share a bath, so I needed to ensure the equitable division of bath stuff).  The bathrooms turned out to have space for towel storage, which was a relief.  We are nearly 2/3 unpacked, a real milestone.  Here's the unpacking itinerary:
  •  The kitchen/dining/living room (a long rectangular space) is the priority.  We're living in it OK right now, but it has the most remaining moving boxes of any room in the house--half a dozen or so.  
  • 2nd in line is my husband's office--it has about 3 boxes left.  It will hopefully double as a nursery later this year, so there needs to be enough open space for additional furniture.  
  • 3rd in line are the kids' rooms.  They still have a lot of toys packed in boxes in their closets that we have not yet tackled.  I am not sure where it's all going to go.  
So far, we've managed without any major purchases of new fixtures.

I tend to believe that major unpacking should be finished approximately one month from move-in (we're at the 3 week mark right now).  When we moved into our previous rental, I'm afraid it took 2 years (maybe even 3) to be fully unpacked.  This time we know that we will be moving again in 10 months, so I would like to maximize the amount of time that we live here in home-like conditions.  It would be very unfortunate to never quite unpack before our 2013 move.  That move is going to be a lot more rushed because of the very small window between our closing on our future house and the end of our lease.  It's also looking like any serious renovations should probably wait at least 3 or 4 years after we buy. 

Friday, July 13, 2012


Here's some of what is happening:

  • The kids are enjoying watching Color of Magic (2008) again.  It has very good production values and I like the intrigue at the Unseen University.  Sam Gamgee from LOTR appears as Twoflower, a tourist visiting Ankh-Morpork with a murderous walking treasure chest.  His guide is Rincewind, a Wizard expelled from the Unseen University after 40 years of no progress in wizardry.        
  • We finally got the car serviced and have air conditioning again.  Hurray!  I've felt so redneck driving around with the windows down in our current 90+ degree temperatures.     
  • After some delay caused by the disappearance of a promising candidate and C's steadfast insistence on realistic (rather than pink or lavender) horses, I've ordered C some horse-themed bedding.  C is switching over from a coral reef room theme to a horse theme, and D is supposed to get her coral reef stuff.
  • We have some good news and bad news with regard to the mortgage we are pre-qualifying for right now.  The good news is that we've found a credit union that will loan us the money, despite the fact that there's a 99-year ground lease rather than land ownership.  The bad news is that they want 20% down (because of the ground lease) and 4.95% interest for a 30-year loan, which is quite unheard of these days.  (And who knows what interest they'll want in 10 months when we do the loan for real.)  They say the interest is high because they hold onto the loans rather than selling them.  I applaud their financial conservatism, but we're going to be paying the price for it.  We can get the interest down with a shorter term.  We have a hot lead on another credit union that has lent in the past in our future neighborhood and my husband is going to do some research.         
  • My husband and I (mainly my husband) unpacked a box of puzzles, travel toys and photo stuff in our bedroom.  (We had the kids work on the puzzles, which had come apart during the move.)  He also managed to put away a bunch of clothes.  We now have only one box of bedroom stuff left to work on.  After that box, the next step is to organize our bathrooms (ours and the two kids' baths) and figure out how and where to store towels--we have more bathrooms than at our previous rental, but they are smaller baths with less storage.  (Incidentally, how do people live with pedestal sinks in their personal bathrooms?  I understand they're elegant in a powder room, but in a master bath?  Where do you keep your toothbrush?)     
  • I'm seeing the doctor next week and it's possible that with favorable ultrasound results, I will be allowed a more active lifestyle.  And about time, too--we have five weeks of summer left and only one week of summer camp to go this summer.      
  • C's birthday extravaganza is next week.  She and C were assembling the goody boxes today.  Horse-themed, of course.   

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Here's some of what's happening:

  • D has had a slight fever for a few days and has missed several swim classes.  Boo hoo.  He probably isn't going to advance through his Red Cross levels as we hoped.
  • It was a very near thing, but C (with lots of help from her teacher at the end) was able to finish her lap quilt today, with some overtime.  C says she did 70% of the work on the quilt.  The teacher had said something about finishing at home and I mentioned not sewing, not having a machine, etc. and she had mercy on us.  It was a 12-hour class.  
  • C seemed to get on very well with her sewing classmates.  One of the big girls (high school aged, I think) was planning to enter her quilt in a contest.  
  • I've talked to C about getting a sewing machine and C is very interested.  I have found some well-reviewed machines on Amazon in the $160-$200 range, but C has been sewing on a $700 machine in class, and it may be a big step down.  We'll probably wait on this purchase until we move into the new house next year, as I realize it will involve buying C a suitable sewing table and storage, and it would be yet more stuff to move with.  There's also the issue of doing the cutting for her projects--I think you need pretty sharp blades for work with fabric, which C may not be ready for yet.  
  • We've been working (or my husband has been working) on the house contract.  We are pre-qualifying for a loan right now.  The bank we are working with wants 20% down because it's a ground-lease.            

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Birth plans

After a lot of internet discussion of midwifery, I've been reading the archives at Dr. Amy Tuteur's Skeptical OB.  I found the following joke birth plan in a comment thread on Tuteur's piece on birth plans and how they are a waste of time:

1. The room will be 72.5 degrees Fahrenheit.  2. I would like a cave like atmosphere so the room needs to be completely dark and staff will be permitted to wear helmets with lights on them. They will NOT shine the lights directly in my face.  3. Upon arrival at the hospital I will call Applebee's and order carside to go. My OB will pick up my order on her way to the hospital.  4. When the baby pops out I want all the lights to be turned on immediately and for the staff to immediately start singing Happy Birthday.  5. The nurse will then pop open a bottle of champagne. Don't worry, I'll provide it.  6. I will be served champagne with my Applebee's carside to go meal immediately.  7. Oh wait, I forgot about the baby..... 

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Here's some of what's happening:

  • We got out early this morning (for a Saturday).  I went to hang out at Barnes and Noble and my husband and the kids went to the nearby Home Depot to build a small wooden Penske moving truck with a working back gate.
  • D and I made a late appearance at D's classmates birthday party.  C had been wanting to attend (particularly since D's classmate's sister is C's classmate) and I'd been putting her off, but then as I walked through the door, I saw yet another classmate of C there, C's crony G.  I asked the hostess's permission to call C back (my husband and C had been dropping us off) and pretty soon, she was at the party, too.  The main event was a chalked game board in the driveway where the  kids were game pieces and rolled a gigantic box die.  C also enjoyed hanging out with the family's cat.   
  • After lunch we looked for a swim suit for C but didn't find one at Academy.  C has imprinted on the two piece rashguard (i.e. swim t-shirt) and swim short sets that I've been getting her from Lands End, so she finds anything with less coverage unacceptable.  Aside from modesty, I also like the fact that fuller-coverage suits expose less skin to the brutal Texas sun.          
  • After dinner, I did my monthly Lands End order.  (I know monthly sounds ridiculous, but there are four of us, and LE is where the school does its uniforms, so we're always getting something.)  I ordered some uniform items and got C's approval for a new swim suit and a couple other items.  We can get on with C's current stretched-out suit for the next week of swim classes, but she absolutely must have something better for the outdoor water park for the following week.      

Friday, July 6, 2012


Here's some of what's happening:

  • We all had to get out the door fast this morning for an 8:30 doctor's appointment.
  • We managed to use our Jamba Juice 2-for-1 coupon before taking the kids to their swim class downtown.  It was water safety day and C was delighted to be assigned the role of a drowning victim.    
  • We had a long awaited lunch at a famous local BBQ place.  It has a Czech (?) name and has been operating for nearly 100 years.  It is also newly renovated, clean, and obviously a great lunchtime favorite with local tradesmen.  It's also walking distance from our new home (although not in the summer).  The kids didn't like the BBQ place as much as we parents did, so we have made plans to return for a lunch date alone when school is in session.  
  • At home, my husband worked on boxes in our master bedroom while I provided moral support.  The closets are filling up and boxes are disappearing.  We still have four boxes left to unpack in the master bedroom, but they are not all full, and one of them just has hangers.         

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Instant entry

We got a delivery tonight from UPS and have made some improvements that my husband suggests that I blog.  The first item to be put up was a set of magnetic blinds that went straight out of the box and onto the steel door.  This is a brilliant invention.  The next item (faux stained glass in a magnolia pattern) went onto the side windows next to the door.  Those windows are arched and an odd shape, so it was tricky for my husband to get the film trimmed to the correct shape, but the film is installed now and we are very pleased with it.  We now have very good privacy coverage in the living room.  The last item, which will be done later, is a six-hook coat rack.  Our duplex, being aimed at the student rental market, has no hall closet, so we need to improvise some hat, coat, shoe and other outdoor item storage.