Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I've Been Under the Desk

I've been under the desk to plug in the camera, so here are some photos from this weekend and this morning. I'm going to try to edit them as Dorothy explained last week, but don't hold your breath.


Sophie and Dagny live it up at the pool on Saturday. I have many photos of Dagny stealing the toys from Sophie. Once upon a time, I was an opponent of bikinis for babies - now, I understand that there is a difference between a "bikini" and a "two piece" and it's WAY easier to change a diaper if you can remove only the bottom half of the outfit.

Shelley sees me and comes to the top to see if I'm going to drop any pellets into his bowl. He knows who is in charge (NOT!). Annika named him - we don't know where it came from. Probably the same odd imaginary place as "Dogarita", Dogarita's Daddy "Annie" and the two Joses, one of whom is Dogarita's baby sister.

Bettas are meat-eaters and prefer live prey. Unfortunately, poor Shelley gets Betta pellets instead of live anything; he seems to be enjoying them just the same, though.

Annika can be seen here brandishing the illegal water gun at the pool on Saturday. That's right, not only did I get busted for bringing my own water in (who doesn't bring their own water everywhere they go?), but water guns are now outlawed. Fight the power Annika.








Dagny was thrilled to be at the pool even though we weren't anywhere near getting in or even in swimming attire yet. This was her first visit to the big pool ever. She LOVED it. She rode in the inflatable boat, walked around in the baby pool, put her feet in the mushroom fountain, allowed me to throw her into the air and bounce her all over the pool. Then she napped like a champ so I could do the mountain of laundry we just created.

The Fish

No, not the bottle that Doug and Mike used to drink out of - our new pet, Shelley. Our friend Mark is selling Betta Bowls and thus now we have such a bowl and a fish who lives in it. Not that I wanted any other thing in our house whose well-being is my responsibility, but Annika loves him and so he stays. I'll post a photo this afternoon.

Anyone who thinks that fish are somehow less smart or less "animal" than other pets (I'm thinking in terms of eating them, here) is wrong. Shelley comes running to the top of his bowl when he sees me. He knows that I am the keeper of the food.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

First Day Back

Today was our first day back in the neighborhood pool. It has been open for a few weeks now, but I've managed to keep that fact away from Annika. But today, there was no stopping us. After 30 minutes of prep (sunblock application, bathing suit application, food packing, toy packing, towel hunting, etc) we finally got to the pool.

Annika had a great time and even jumped off of the diving board (with Dad). Dagny enjoyed her first dip in a pool but cousin Sophie was not convinced that the pool was a good thing.

Photos later. We are all too exhausted to get the camera hooked up.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Caveat

So, I was thinking about my previous post while Annika and I were showering this morning. I don't think that I made it clear but I'm not trying to say that everyone must have children to be happy.

I'm just saying that I'm glad that I did - it has made me a better person, much like being with Doug makes me a better person. However, everyone is different and children might make some folks stressed or crazy or whatever or some just might not feel the need for them and that is perfectly OK. Everyone makes their reality with the roads they choose (or don't choose) and the important thing is to accept and enjoy the road you're on. Or, as my Grammy would say - "bloom where you're planted."

Lifestyle Change

I have some friends who are wrestling with the decision of whether or not to have children. They all love the children, but are concerned about the lifestyle change that will come with a baby.

All I can say is - the lifestyle change is huge. I never imagined that I wouldn't be able to stop at Starbucks, enjoy my newspaper, or take a jog - that the time to do these things would be a luxury. I never realized that I would miss working - the talking to adults, the feeling important and useful and the money. I didn't think that I would look back on my pre-pregancy body wistfully and couldn't fathom that pregnancy and childbirth would make parts of it not work right. I've never felt so adrift as when we were trying to figure out how to get Annika to eat or sleep - our lack of knowledge and confidence was so humbling. I didn't know that children would stress my sanity and our marriage in monumental ways.

However, now I stop at Starbucks when I feel like it and when it fits in our day. It's a treat for me and for Annika. I read some of the paper during meals or while the girls are napping and I run early in the morning or not at all. I figure that I will fit in the exercising back in soon - now that I'm getting more sleep. I'm working again, and it is fun but it is also a stress - packing the three of us up for two meals and all day is a lot of work, so I appreciate the freedom that came with not working. The intellectual stimulation and the money provide a different kind of freedom. I've resigned myself to the need for sturdy and expensive foundation garments at all times and we are still considering whether I'll get the repair surgery for my bottom. Doug and I have developed a system of days/nights "off" that works for us so that we don't resent each other. I'm doing much better at appreciating what Doug does and not wishing he would do something else and not spouting off whatever my raging hormones are making me think. Yes, things have changed here. We can't travel on a moment's notice and lately I've been cleaning up an awful lot of pee.

But I wouldn't go back to my old life now that I've met my girls. Even when they are sick or whiny or defiant, they are still a joy to be around and I'm so lucky to be able to watch them grow and learn new things. And the hugs and kisses! What I'm saying is that my life is different now, but it isn't changed in a bad way - yes, I have less free time and yes, I have more chores and expenses, but I have so much more.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Slip n' Slide


So, anyone who can tell me how to manipulate where the photos show up in the blog will be treated to free dessert. I picked the photos in order so that you could see the progression of Annika trying out the Slip N' Slide and changing focus to "here are some flowers, Mommy" but alas - you will have to take my word for it because the photos are all out of order. And, the photo of Dagny's first time in the "real" swing which I was saving for last is stuck right there in the middle. Thanks Corinne, for the beautiful purple sweater which was required by the cold snap last week.

The Slip N' Slide was on sale for $7.99 at Target last week, so I thought - AHA! Perfect toy for Annika to play with while Dagny and I watch. Little did I know that instruction in the art of Slip N' Slide was required. I told Annika how to crouch down and spring forward onto her tummy with her arms out like Superman - nothing. She kept putting her knees down. I realized that she doesn't know who Superman is so I demonstrated (fully clothed) but managed to not get soaked. No dice. I finally had her lay on her tummy on the slide and then I pulled her quickly down the slide and let her go. That worked quite well until she got water in her eyes. Then, Doug showed up and told Annika to slide down "like Superman" (we think alike). He finally picked her up and slide her body down the slide (more like a throw), which also worked great except for the water in the eyes - hence the sunglasses in the photos. They work like goggles. Next time, all goggles-all the time. In a fit of desperation, I gave Annika the full-on demonstration - in my clothes (much to the amusement of the golfers going by at the time). It was really fun, but she was not convinced and that is why there is a photo of her bringing me flowers to distract me from the stupid Slip N' Slide.

Oh, and - I think she is allergic to grass because her eczema went crazy that afternoon and even her feet broke out.

Cool Site


So, I was writing a post about the tunes on my i-pod and how those are very personal; I like my tunes and really don't care for anyone else's tunes and correspondingly, other folks think my tunes suck. Anyway, in trying to find a link to a Jay-Z site for the song that Doug has on his list (99 Problems) that I don't like, I found a site that shows the lyrics to songs and translates them from slang. FUN! It appears to be done by someone who has English as their second language because the translation is odd. Plus, even I know that "hollaback girl" means the repeaters of the song in the "call and repeat" genre. Still fun, though.

Above is a gratuitous photo of my cousin Katie and Annika at Grammy's swim meet.

24:27 today. Doug is catching up fast.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

News Flash

Many ladies wear clips in their hair (to twist it up) at the office so it's not just me being a slacker because I forgot to brush my hair or find a barrette before I left this morning.

Thank goodness. . . . blow-drying is still beyond my powers. And straightening, forget about it.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Tuesday

- Gratuitous photo of Dagny, apropos of nothing. It is proof, however, that she does have a neck under there somewhere.

Today was the last day of Annika's sports class. They played a soccer game, during which Annika had at least three temper tantrums because she didn't score a goal and her attempts at dribbling the ball were thwarted by the faster and more skillful kids in her class. She doesn't understand the concept of making a goal or going to the ball.

So, while Dagny was napping this afternoon, we busted out the ball and goal and practiced our soccer skills. I thought we were doing OK until Annika told me that she would rather play "roll" than soccer. Roll is the game where we both sit on the ground and roll or bounce the ball to each other. It took me a few minutes, but I finally understood that I'm not going to teach her a whole sport in one day and that maybe she isn't ready to learn it. For now, roll is better.

That doesn't mean that we won't practice our soccer skills (or t-ball or basketball or golf or whatever), just not so much at once or with pressure. It's supposed to be fun, after all. I was just so retarded at all sports that I wanted her to learn them early so she won't feel as uncomfortable/awkward/stupid doing them as I always did.

Better news - 24:24 around the loop this morning (good music today), that's 8.71 minute miles. : )

Friday, May 12, 2006

Team Z


This is my Grammy (in the lower lane at left) in her very first swim meet yesterday. She kicks ass. She went out too fast in her first race and got her breathing messed up (it was freestyle, which means the crawl) and then panicked and turned back but she would have finished second if she hadn't turned back. The lady who won was 89 and she was really fast. In Grammy's second race (finish shown below), she did a modified backstroke and came in second. She was quite upset about the disqualification - thinking about what she should have done differently and what she will do differently when she goes to the state meet in Warner Robins in September. She's quite a competitor, that Grammy.
She has hooked up with a great coach (Gil) who races in the 60-69 age group. He and his wife pick Grammy up and take her to the practices twice a week. Mr. and Mrs. Gil are apparently experienced senior competitors because they gave me the skinny on all of the swimmers and the shuffleboarders too. They are also encouraging Grammy to eat better and consume more protein, which is very cool. She likes to joke that she had to cut out the drinking and smoking because she's in training. When she told another swimmer this, the lady (a widow, she told me) quipped, "and sex too!"

Also in today's post are some photos of my girls from the post-dinner, dog-has-to-pee, let's-check-on-the-tomatoes tour of the yard. Doug is expanding the bed I made around the drainage ditch so that is why the grass is dead in one big place.
They were so cute out there - my little family, that I was trying to get a photo of Doug, Annika and Dagny all at once but was not able to capture them without a big blur. Apparently my hands are not so steady anymore.

In other news, I had a MUCH better run yesterday. It was still slow - 26:15 (9.375 minute miles), but I had my tunes. However, since the whole run wasn't painful and I didn't have to listen to my tortured gasping, it was a great improvement.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Slooooow Feeeeeeeet

Today I had the day off. My sitter is available on Mondays and Wednesdays, which are the days I go to the office. Since I went on the road trip on Monday, I have too many hours for this week so my boss (budget conscious, don't you know) said to take today off. Annika had her Mother's tea at school this morning. We went to that together and then I was free. Free to do what? The eye doctor, haircut and car repair appointments I needed were unavailable today so I dropped some old clothes at Goodwill, filled the car with gas, went to the dry cleaners, recycled the grocery bags and left Cole's bike helmet at his house. That took exactly 1/2 an hour so I was free to run. Unfortunately, it began to rain so I went to the clubhouse to do the treadmill.

As Natalie says, the treadmill is unsatisfying. After plodding for five minutes, I noticed that the sidewalk outside the window was not wet - HOORAY! I busted out of the building and went for a run around the block. It may have been the weather (very humid today), or my allergies, or the forgotten i-pod, or the partial muffin I ate at the tea - excuses, excuses. I'm just plain out of shape. This was the worst run I've had since before I had Dagny. There was no channeling Natalie; no runner's high. I slogged my 2.8 miles in 26:35 (9.59 minute miles).

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Lessons from Abroad

OK, not really abroad, or afar - but lessons from my trip with the consultant yesterday:

1. People are easier to misunderstand and misread and misjudge on the phone or email. The consultant was perfectly nice and sucked up to all of my business folks (even the one who doesn't care for me).

2. It was a GREAT idea to have the car cleaned with my Christmas gift certificate. Two different folks came over to inspect it because they were thinking about getting one.

3. I should have removed the car seat. It was pure laziness to leave Dagny's seat in the car, but I should have known that the consultant would be taller than me and therefore unable to fold comfortably into the front seat with it so far forward.

4. My husband rocks. Not only did he take morning and evening duty with the girls and interface with the sitter (I was gone from 6am-7:45pm), he loaded the Wall Street Journal and a book onto my i-pod and charged it up so that I would have something to listen to on the road.

5. Moms and Dads who have to pack up for daycare every day are superparents. It took me all of Sunday evening to get the lunches, breakfasts and bottles made and to pack all of the bags.

6. Packing my own cooler with water, poptart and apple was genius.

7. Never forget your photos of the kids. Two separate folks (not the same as the car folks) asked to see photos and I wasn't able to log onto my computer so I couldn't show them.

8. Phone charger would have been a good addition to my bag. When you are out of range, the phone searches for a signal a lot, which wears the battery down.

9. Maalox. Nerves + stress + road food = bad.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Measuring

This morning, Annika and Doug were preparing to leave the house to go to Home Depot for some screws. Our back windows keep flexing when it is windy and bursting the locks open so Doug is going to screw them closed so that the rain stays outside. That will be fine until I fill the kitchen with smoke (again) and need to open the windows to let it out - HA!

Anyway, Doug was helping Annika unlock the door and turn the knob to leave and I noticed that Annika's head is just a bit taller than the door knob. Turn now, and look at your door knob and imagine the top of her head being just taller than the top of the knob. She is really tall - it is simply amazing to me to think that the little bundle who moved in here with us is now that big.

Tomorrow I'm going to a rural location for work (all day trip - 6am until about 8pm) with the consultant, who, when I explained that I could not make his preferred time for the Thursday meeting because I am going to see my grandmother swim in the senior olympics, said "at least you have your priorities." Damn straight, asshole.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Miscellany

This is Dagny, in mid-bounce on her exer-saucer. It isn't the best photo of her, but I posted it because she looks suspiciously similar to photos of me when I was this age. Bald, big forehead, vacant expression . . . just kidding. It's funny how you can see flashes of me or Doug or my sister or Doug's mom in our girls. But only flashes and then they are just themselves again. Dagny is a lover. She likes to give hugs and big open-mouthed "kisses". She is sleeping better now that we've moved to the bottle though some nights she wants to get up at 2 or 3.

Below, Annika is riding the police motorcycle at the City of Alpharetta "Touch a Truck" event. Imagine a zillion kids and every kind of truck all parked together for the kids to look at, touch, pretend to drive, etc. It was very fun, but Aunt Jennie and Aunt Sara and I decided that there should be a "no honking or sirens" rule. Too loud. Annika was scared of the bigger trucks in person and refused to get on them for a photo. I think they were too tall for her. If I'd not had Dagny with us I could have jumped up there with her, but not this year. Please also note that I've learned to part Annika's hair before doing her braids. No small feat, with that many curls, but it looks much cuter than the usual jumbly division between the sides.

Aunt Jennie and cousin Sophie joined us (and Sara and Eve) for touching the trucks. Jennie is not loving her hair right now, but I think it is cute. Soph was a bit overwhelmed by all of the truck mayhem (who wasn't?) and kept her smiles hidden from us. What I didn't manage to get a photo of was Jennie enticing (all it took was "wanna race?") Annika to race her on the football field. The park has a killer synthetic field. It feels like real grass, only cushier. Anyway, Jen and Annika would get on the line in the runners crouch and "on your mark, get set, go!" and Annika would run all the way to the goal line and back. Of course, sometimes Annika left before "go" and frequently she was the only one running, but it was hilarious. She is going to be our runner. I have to brag that she was the only kid in her sports class that managed to run the bases at the tee-ball demonstration (where the parents get to watch) without help from the teacher. Naturally, the teacher told me after class that she was running around like a wild woman and not staying on task during the class. Oops. There are no photos of this event because I've learned that Annika fades under the pressure of a camera or video camera. You will just have to take my word for the fact that she kicks ass.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Appreciation

It's funny how the working outside the home really makes me appreciate not working outside the home.