Monday, March 30, 2009

Oh, and Then There's This

Okay, so I'll go ahead and share some more stuff right now while I can make some time. I can't help myself.

This video didn't go exactly as I had hoped, but it does somewhat capture Nora's reaction. Every day, Nora hands me her little phone after she talks to "the person," and I think she wants me to, like, deal with them or something. Whenever I ask "the person," "Do you want to talk to Nora about it," she always shakes her head and makes that face. Sometimes, she even goes, "Noooooo!"

It's pretty stinking funny.

She is in a stage right now where everything is a phone. We always catch her going, "Heooo? Okay," with just about anything up to her ear (a banana, a remote control, a shoe, etc.).

She's good times.

Gotta go for now!


I just found my first gray hair today. It was, like, two inches long, and it was sticking straight out of the top of my head.

Also, I'm seriously craving watermelon Jolly Ranchers and Starburst (thanks a lot, Sara). I might actually have to go out and get some. I ate lunch and everything, and I still want them. Weird. I never crave sweet stuff. I guess I did crave Twix for a short time when I was pregnant with Nora.

I have more I could probably share, but I'll have to do it later. I just had to share these two things because they are way serious and crucial knowledge for everyone.

Dilly out.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Wiggles

I sometimes will let Nora watch The Wiggles on Playhouse Disney. She seems to really enjoy it. There are lots of bright colors for her to look at, and she always dances to the music. It's not as unbearable a show (for me) as I thought it was going to be, too. (Of course, I'm usually working while she watches it, so I don't actively watch it all the time.) I stole some shots of Nora while she watched it this morning.

Yes. She is clapping her hands there.

She's playing music along with them.


"Oh. Hi."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Priority Shifts

The reason I haven't blogged much lately is simply because I've had some higher priorities. Those priorities mainly involve work, but when I'm not working, I like to be squishing my munchkin as much as possible. I also like to eat, sleep, and acknowledge my husband.
Just today, work started to slow down. I've been longing for this day for months! I think my work schedule will now turn into some semblance of normal. I'm thrilled about that. It's been a nuts couple of months.
I just got a new router over the weekend for our internet. Apparently, that's what's been crippling my connection with work. Once I made the switch, it was almost sad how awesome it was. Then, today, my hard drive on my work computer was full. So, if it's not one thing, it's another. I was able to take care of that issue on my own, though. I freed up a few gigs by moving some files to external hard drive. Now, I'm going to try to back all that up onto the server. With the new router, that should be a faster process than normal.
Now that you're asleep, I'll wake you up with some pics.
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Yay for photos of the Nora Bean! My personal favorites involve the shredded toilet paper. She's rather pleased with herself in those photos.
Speakin' of Nora, she's been a lot of stinkin' fun lately. Every midmorning, we have to have a chase-fest. That usually devolves into us chuckling on the guest bed and me eating her cheeks. Then, once I wear her out, she actually cuddles with me for a bit. As she gets older, I find that she does actually enjoy a cuddle now and then. It's pretty stinking sweet. She's getting cuddly with Willis, too. I think he approves.
I got her a new sippy cup that has a weird straw mechanism on it. She likes it for the most part, but she often forgets that she can't lift it up like she lifts up a usual sippy cup (all the fluid falls under the straw to the other side of the cup). When this happens, she gets angry, throws the cup down, and kicks it across the room while she screams. I pick her up, sit her on my lap, and I show her how she needs to hold the cup. She's fine again after that, and she'll even smile at me with a face that says, "Thanks, Mom."
She is starting to throw some decent fits. It's pretty awesome. I typically just have to sit there and wait it out since we still have a bit of a communication gap happening. Luckily, she doesn't do this out in public. Yet. (We don't get out much, though.) Sometimes, I can distract her from whatever it is that she wants (that she can't have), and that works after a few seconds sometimes. She gets over stuff fast, though, and that's nice.
She's starting to say some words now and then, too, and some words, she doesn't repeat more than once. She copies us a lot, I think. She definitely has a crazy language of her own these days, too, and she's not at all shy about speaking it to anyone. She also enjoys phones and computers. A lot.
Nora discovered that she has two penguins yesterday. She found her soaking wet penguin in the hamper (she had dropped him in the shower while I was showering, and I gave her the imposter when I got out). Hopefully that didn't mess with her too much.
Maggie took her pictures over a week ago, and I have a link to the Pictage site if you're interested in seeing those pics. They're ridiculously sweet. Send me an email if you'd like to peruse.
Baby number two is comin' along, although quietly. I barely remember I'm pregnant most of the time except for the fact that I'm constantly starving and I get up to pee in the middle of the night. I'm in amazing shape right now since I've been chasing baby number one around so much. In fact, at my last doctor appointment, I had only gained a pound, and I still haven't gained the weight back that I had previously lost. So, I'm still down in the weight department, which is pretty wild. I still weigh less than I did before I got pregnant with Nora. Figure that one out. None of my clothes fit. It's fantastic. I also can't go buy new ones because I have no idea what size I should be getting. So, for the next year or so, I'm going to be looking ridiculous. Deal with it.
Now that things are slowing down from work, I'm hoping to get outside more, clean up the house, do some laundry, and blog some more. We'll see how well that works out. I still have some projects to do, but hopefully, I can budget time now.
In the meantime, I'm going to go get something to eat. You kids have a nice day.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Welcome, Baby Atkinson!

Lena and Brett had a baby girl on Thursday morning! Here's a bit of the email that Lena sent out after she was born:

She's finally here! We had our baby girl at 2:09 pm on Thursday, March 19, 2009. She's 7lbs 14.6 oz and 20 inches long. She has a full head of curly blond hair (like me). It was a tough labor, with contractions since starting on Monday, and in the hospital since Tuesday. Our baby girl was having some trouble breathing after delivery and is in the NICU for a couple days to get some help there and to make sure there's no infection due to the long labor. She also had some air escape her lungs only to stay inside her chest cavity making it difficult for her to breathe.  So, they have an oxygen hood over her head to try to correct that. They say nothing is too serious though, and we're hoping she'll be coming home with us in a couple days. Due to how hectic it's been and the fact that we didn't get to spend any time with her before they took her to the NICU, she is, as of now, still nameless, and I have a limited number of pictures.

I talked with Lena (on Google Chat) briefly, and I just knew she was in labor. She kept saying that she was having major contractions every five minutes and that she was really uncomfortable (and she'd been having them all through the night and for most of the day quite consistently). I knew this little one would be arriving soon (but I had no idea how soon, of course)!

I'm so excited for them! I'm also anxious for them: I know what it's like to have to wait before being able to really spend time with your new little one. It's hard. I hope everything clears up soon, and I hope that little girl gets into their arms (and healthy) as fast as possible!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Photos and a Video of the Nora Bean

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I Have Been Requested

Miss Sara says I need to update my blog, so I'm takin' some time out of the day to make it happen. I've gotta keep the readers happy. All four of you. Teehee.

I've been fairly stressed lately, I guess. It just sort of snuck up on me. I've got a lot going on for work at the moment, and I'm really looking forward to that calming down soon. I swear, when it gets busy with work, it gets ridiculous. Not only is it ridiculous, but this past week had to be National Be Annoying Week. I got all sorts of requests from people for random projects (because nobody is busy right now, so they come up with all kinds of crazy ideas to boost sales or whatever), and they all had the underlying tone of, "I know you're not doing anything over there in your house, so why don't you do this project for me right now?"

I might be one of the few people in my company right now that are actually insanely busy. I suppose I should be grateful, eh? I think I'll be more grateful in about two weeks when it's actually Spring and when I can actually take some time to go outside with my kid. I am really, really looking forward to that. In the meantime, I suppose this gross weather is fitting since I'm stuck inside workin' hard.

I'm really lookin' forward to Spring. Have I mentioned that? Waking up to a blanket of snow on the ground today admittedly made me a little sad. I thought we were in Spring mode. Guess not. It better be good when it gets here.

In other news, I about broke my cat's neck last night. I have a feeling the full moon did something to him because he was messing with me all night long. He was opening my drawers (with the intent to lay in them), he was walking across me, he was sleeping with his butt in my face, he tried to take my pillow, at one point, he was chewing on my pillow, he was playing with my hair, he knocked something glass over downstairs after I threw him out of the bed (luckily for him, he didn't break it), and every time I looked at his face in the moonlight, I saw two very dilated pupils. The idiot. This morning, he had the nerve to go and take a nice little nap in our bed, so I made sure to annoy him every few minutes. I played with his tail. I meowed at him. I had Nora go up to him and say, "Keeeetee."

I made my fingers walk across his body. When he looked at me with a face that said, "What the crap is your problem," I responded with, "Payback's a _____, isn't it, kitty?"

Yeah. I was that annoyed last night. I am now seeking revenge on a cat.

In other news, I know of a great cat that needs a home.

Nora's gotten into "silent reading" lately. It's pretty funny. She just sits there with a book and turns the pages one by one. Occasionally, she'll read excerpts aloud. I rather like that.

She also really enjoys her shape sorter toy—not only does she wear it as a hat, but she's actually really good at putting the correct shapes through the correct holes. I know that doesn't really sound exciting in the scheme of things, but I think it's pretty cool that she figured that out.

She also talks on her phone a lot. When I interrupt her conversation to ask, "Are you on the phone," she looks at me with a face that says, "Um. I'm on the phone."

I don't know where she gets that, but she looks really busy and really important.

She gets her pictures taken tomorrow with Maggie again. I'm so excited! Hopefully, I'll be able to share those soon. (Boy. I sure hope I score a shower before then. Oh. Is this out loud?)

I have some photos and a video to share of my little rascal. I'll put those in a separate post after I finish up this one.

Also, I have discovered Pandora Internet Radio. Man. Is that sweet or what? That's helping my "longing for Spring" blues.

Alright. End of post.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Midwesterly Weather

Before I get started on work today, I wanted to do a quick post. Well, I hope it's quick. My sister, Julie, has been posting a lot about the glorious, heavenly, year-round weather in Texas, and it got me thinking about Midwest weather and what I think about it.

Let me just begin by saying that I completely loathe the month of February. It always seems to be the longest month of the whole year (and this particular year, it seems as though it's the longest month of my life), and yes. I am aware that it is, indeed, the shortest month of all twelve. Thank God it's the shortest. If it were any longer than its 28 or sometimes 29 days, I seriously think there'd be more suicides. I'm just sayin'.

My reasons for hating February start back in elementary school days. February always seemed like the middle of a long stretch at school where there were absolutely no days off. The last time there would be a break would be, like, Presidents' Day (which I don't think we actually got off ever), and that would just be one day. In February, I remember pining for that later week in March where we'd get a whole week off (and the last time I'd have had at least a week off of school would've been for Christmas and New Year's). So, I think this is how I started disliking February.

Now, my disdain for February comes from a multitude of reasons. It's always cold in February. It's always snowing in February, and it's been doing these things for a long time. (This year, it's been longer than usual since we started having serious cold and snow in, like, October—which doesn't happen all that often.) Work gets really busy for both Willis and me in February (usually). There are two major events that I typically am heavily involved with that happen, and it wipes me out. Plus, the aura with the people we work with gets a little "stretched" around this time since it's such a stressful time for everyone. We're always so relieved when these events are over.

February always seems so dark, too (even though the days are actually getting longer the whole time). That doesn't really help matters much. There are also the random days (and February always has these) that tease me heavily with thoughts of Spring. There's always a day or two in February that hits at least 40 degrees during the day (we had a day or two awhile back that was 60 degrees that nearly knocked down the few feet of snow that had been sitting on the ground since late October). Even though my sister, Julie, would say that 40 degrees is still "freezing," I have to say that those are the days that my heart leaps, my blood starts moving again, and I think, "Oh, man! Spring is going to be here soon!"

Then, February goes and drops down into the 20s for days again after that. So, my hope gets crushed for awhile.

Now that I've helped my sister's case (that Texas is, like, "the Shire") quite a bit, I'll go on to say that even though February is the bain of my existence, I wouldn't want to live anywhere that's balmy all year round. I have a multitude of reasons for this as well.

Firstly, the change in the seasons keeps life fresh. If I hate the weather, all I've got to do is stick it out a little longer, and I'll get something different. As I get older, the more I absolutely love the Fall (and maybe it's because it's prettier up here than I remember it being in Wolcott—I'm sure school factored into my disdain for Fall in my younger years as well). We have a lot of maples in this town, and they turn all sorts of amazing, warm colors. One Sunday morning, I remember our pastor at church saying something like, "There is no reason for the colors of the trees to be so beautiful other than the fact that God loves us."

I got to thinking about that statement because I always thought that the colors changing was quite scientific. However, once I gazed upon the Fall trees here in La Porte during a proper Autumn (our first Autumn here got cold too fast and killed all the leaves before they could change properly—our neighbor, Frank, actually apologized to us for the lack of the pretty trees that year), I knew that what the pastor was saying was right. The leaves don't have to be that beautiful, but they just are. They could be scaled back quite a bit in their color, and they would serve the same purpose. The process would always be the same—just not as beautiful and radiant.

Spring is still my favorite season of all. I think this is because even if I enjoy winter cold and snow just a little (and I do a little—I even enjoy how quiet the winter is around here), I get tired of it after awhile. When that first, sweet smell of spring hits my nose sometime in late February or early March (this year, I'm still waiting for that smell), I am in love with the Spring season all over again. I can't wait to see the little crocuses and tulips popping up through the gross, dead, slimy earth. By this time, the birds are chirping more. Soon, you start to see people coming out of the woodwork, animals, and life in general. It's always such a neat thing to witness. I'm looking so forward to chatting it up with my neighbors again and seeing them working in their yards, having family over, having fun, etc. Spring is the time that I remember that I'm not alone over here, and it's such a wonderful, welcomed reminder every year.

Winter serves its purpose. It kills the bugs. It reboots the system. It gives us a "break" from the fast-paced life that happens when the weather is always lovely. I like that break every year (and we really do go into a bit of a "hibernation" at our house—and we love it), but when the break is over, I am always ready for it to be over.

I like Summer, too, of course and for the obvious reasons. I just hope the mosquitoes aren't as bad this year as they were last year. That's my only complaint. Thank God for bug spray. Also, we've got plans to get some strategically placed citronella plants this year if it's anything like it was last year.

Willis always says, "The older I get, the more I love the transition of the seasons. I love the transitions more than I love the actual seasons. Is that weird?"

At first, I told him, "Yeah. That's a little weird."

But, I'm starting to really understand what he means. Each time the seasons change around here, it's a miracle. It's wild to think that we have such a wide range of temperatures and precipitation every year. It's amazing if you really sit and think about it.

Mind you, I love to take a trip and visit a warm climate during a February now and then (just for a break from that long Winter break), but give me my changing seasons (especially those beautiful Fall trees). Give me my wide array of wardrobe choices (I look better in winter clothes right now, anyway). Give me my Winter foods (chili, stews, soups, etc.) and Summer foods (grilling, grilling, and more grilling) that I only eat during those seasons. I wouldn't live anywhere else. Not for an extended period of time, anyway.

And, Julie, I think you'll find that you can have your "Shire" anywhere you set up camp. You just have to look for the quiet miracles in it. (By the way, "the Shire" is a total Lord of the Rings reference. I know you probably didn't know that. Maybe Dave can elaborate on that for you so you can see the awesome humor in it—especially since I often refer to Willis and myself as Hobbits.)

Oh, and I wrote a book. I really need to get to work now. Catch you kids, later.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Photo Post!

These are mostly from February and a tiny smidge of March.

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I tried to capture a little of what Nora has been doing. She likes to brush her hair with my hairbrush. She likes to wear her shape sorter as a hat. She still "reads" a lot. She likes to take my mouse, and I fear that she's going to blind herself with it (she is seriously a ninja when it comes to grabbing that thing). She loves the dog. She pats her pony. She started loving on her "Brown Bear" that her Grandma Brown got her (I tried to get a shot of her loving on him, but she'd always stop when I snapped the photo). She runs now, and she likes to be chased. She gets some awesome, curly hair when she comes out of the bath (which I completely enjoy). It's all pretty neat.
She talks to us in some serious jibberish, and we do what we can to pretend to understand what she's saying. Her sounds are starting to get more complicated, too.
In other news, I'm seriously sick of how cold it is. I'm so ready for spring, I can taste it. At least February is over. I seriously loathe that month. I always have.
Gotta go!