Saturday, September 27, 2008

So cute

In the car tonight as we started home after a very busy evening...

"I'm soooo sleepy!"

He's so cute!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Nicky's first joke

I keep forgetting to tell everyone this, but on the way home from our trip last weekend, Nicky told his first original joke.

We were passing by different animals. Horses "Horsies! Neeigghhh!" and "Cows! Mooooo!" was coming from the backseat.

Then we hear, "Doggies! Mooooo! Heh, heh, heh!"

We thought that was pretty funny at first, and then when we heard that chuckle we realized he'd done it on purpose. His first joke!


That was on the way back from our 4 day trip down to south florida. We went to visit a whole bunch of folks. My sister Jessie had flown down to stay at Liz, Jodi and my mom's house for the week, so we wanted to see her (and them!). And we just found out last week that my grandfather has lymphoma, so we wanted to get down there and see him too. He'd only seen Nicky a few times, and so we really felt we needed to get there to see him more. We stayed two nights at Liz's place and then a night at my Aunt's house near my grandfather.

Nicky got to meet my two youngest cousins who are just 6 and 9 years old. He had a ball playing with them. And it was great to see so many folks I haven't seen in so long. I think the only other time we'd been all the way down to Pt. St. Lucie was when Nicky was 3 weeks old and my grandmother passed away.

It was a really nice visit, and they all encouraged us to come again soon. We returned via the Turnpike and miraculously it only seemed to take us 3 hours to get from Pt. St. Lucie all the way to my inlaws house in Citra/Ocala! (They were so nice to watch our three dogs while we were away.) I think we must have traveled through some kind of time warp to do that, but it sure makes it seem like an easier, more doable trip! I think we might be able to swing a few more weekends down there over the next few months.

While we were down there, we found out my cousin James' son is being baptized this next weekend in Jacksonville Beach. So we're now planning to finally get up there to see them for a day trip. It only takes a bit over an hour to get there, and we STILL haven't met his FOUR children yet. What kind of a cousin am I? He's got three girls, the oldest and then twins, and a boy who is just turning one. His oldest I believe is about four, and the twins are right around Nicky's age I believe. Nicky should have a ball playing with them Sunday. We picked up a few little gifts for them today, and I can't wait to see them.


That leaves one more family set I haven't seen in, oh, forever. My cousin Alexis is married and has a daughter who is, geez, like five or something! And I haven't met her or Alexi's husband yet. Lame! Well we're finally going to get up there and see them.

Tom and I were planning a trip to North GA this fall, and then we decided to take my mom, and then we found out that Liz and Jodi were planning on going in November anyway, and so now we're all going up together a bit before Thanksgiving to visit for a whole WEEK! I'm so excited! I don't think I've ever taken a week off work except for being sick or having surgery...or a baby.

This will be almost like a real vacation! We'll still be visiting family (which I call a family trip, but not really a vacation) but we're renting a house for the week. It's a little 2 bedroom place right on Lake Lanier (which I hear is more like pond lanier right now, but still). It's cheaper than staying at the Amicalola lodge and it's right near where my sister Jessie works. She'll probably stay with us most of the time too.

This will be the first time we've been to GA since Nicky was born. It'll be a long drive, but I think he'll do fine. We'll just have to make sure to bring lots of distractions. And maybe the laptop and a movie.


The only other thing I can think of is that Nicky seems to be allergic to cats. We noticed that last weekend when he was sneezing and getting hives on his face in the houses with cats. He loves kitties though, and so we just washed his hands and gave him benadryl.

Actually come to think of it, this week he's been pretending to be a kitty. He meows and scratches. Which I think is pretty cute. But the best thing is that I can get him to eat sometimes by calling "kitty kitty kitty" and holding out food. Hey, whatever it takes!

We were doing this with his happy meal at McDonald's tonight. We'd taken him there to play on the playground after shopping for James' kids at Toys R Us. Nicky was so good in the store, even though I didn't really buy him anything. (Well except for a really cute little book that I remembered from my childhood: There is a monster at the end of this book)

He had a ball at the playground. It was one of those giant tube-like things where once they're in there you're not going to be able to get them out till they want to come out. But the weather was gorgeous, not hot for a change, the sun was setting and he was the only child there for most of the time. So really it was like a giant fun playpen and Tom and I actually got to sit and eat while Nicky wore himself slap out. He wasn't interested in the food at all, until he came close and meowed. Then I called "kitty kitty kitty" and held out a french fry. He ate most of his fries and burger that way.

Maybe if he IS the kitty he won't feel so bad if we can't GET a kitty later on.

Yeah, probably not. Well we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. With our three big dogs I'm not seeing any other animals coming into our family for a while.

(Aren't those famous last words? Knock on wood for me!)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Art, Education, Travel, and an Anniversary

Nicky wasn't too enthusiastic about paint if you remember. And crayons, well mostly he likes to line them up and stick them into things. Pens too actually.

But I think we've finally found his


Happy Anniversary to Tom and I! Today is our 14th wedding anniversary. I'm really not sure how it's possible it's been that long. I mean, I'm not possibly old enough to be married that long am I? Weird.

But what's really weird though is trying to imagine our lives together before Nicky came along. It seems like such a different life. And really, not one we miss.

For our anniversary Tom gave me a nice card and sent me flowers at work. I had picked out three different cards for Tom and hid them around the house for him to find. I'm so very sneaky. One was in the microwave under his keys, one was in his nightstand under his morning medications, and one was hidden behind the window blinds in the living room. Tee hee.

We went out to dinner (Tom and JM conspired and she babysat to give us the night out) and had sushi. What a treat!

Then we went to two shops we just can't go to with Nicky: the bead store and the little shop next to it that is filled with all sorts of imported fair trade art. Tom got a carved statue from India and bought me two pottery birds from Peru.

Then we stopped at the public library and checked out some books and movies.

And we were home before 9pm. Man are we pathetic or what? But we had a great time!

Grad school is cranking along for Tom and I. One of my classes is extremely demanding though. I think I'll make it, but it's a lot more work than I'd expected. Luckily my other class seems extremely easy in comparison. The good thing is that this really hard class is in web design, so I should make good use of it. Our group is designing a website for this statue/memorial. Pretty intimidating project, but I think my group can do it.

We're taking off for a long weekend to visit family, and we'll be taking the laptop to try to stay on top of our coursework.Later in the fall we're actually taking an entire week off to go to North Georgia. We're renting a house with my mom and Liz and Jodi, and it should be a lot of fun, a real vacation! We're very excited. The house we're renting has wifi, so we'll be taking the laptop for that trip too.


Speaking of taking a long weekend, we're finally getting down to south FL to visit my mom's side of the family. My grandfather isn't doing too hot, and we want to get down there to see him and let him visit with Nicky if possible. Hopefully he'll be feeling up to it. Nicky's a pretty energetic fella!

And he's a pretty emotional little fella too. I took this movie when his Nana left after this last weekend visit. Poor little guy!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Finally rejoining the wireless world

Well we'll work on calling everyone who might need to know, but just in case we haven't told you yet, Tom and I are canceling our landline phone and now have two cell phones again. After about two years of no cell phones, this is a big step.

This time we hope it will be MUCH cheaper. We went with the cheapest AT&T plan for two phones. It's only 450 minutes or so, but they roll over and our calls to each other and anyone else on AT&T don't count towards that. Also, calls after 9pm and on weekends are free too. Since we rarely talk to folks during the day I think we'll stay within our minutes. All told it should cost 60$ a month, plus tax.

To make up for this new bill, we're canceling our landline and cutting back the cable to just the most basic plan. That should save us about 70-100$ a month on the Cox bill. We'll see how it all comes out in the wash.

If you need our new numbers, email us and we'll get them to you.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

So, what did we do this weekend?

We had a very busy weekend. Our financial aid finally came in so we were able to pay a lot of bills, put enough in savings to give us a little cushion for food and stuff over the rest of fall, and buy something that will hopefully save us cash over the long run...

Sorry for all the photos, but I know Tom will enjoy seeing these on here. He's really thrilled with this car. I'm just happy it met my goals: Comfortable space in front, room for two carseats in the back, and good gas mileage. Oh, and the price had to be right of course. We paid almost half down, and the other half will be paid off in Spring. That will be nice.

So that's what we did Saturday. I am uploading a movie of us getting in the car to go to dinner right now. We celebrated by going to TGI Fridays for dinner. I think in the end, Nicky would have rather stayed home though. He prefers a PBJ (which is what he calls them now) to just about anything else.

Now today, we got up pretty early and did a lot too. We first went to Sunday breakfast. Then we were headed to the mall so Nicky could play. On the way we stopped at Rooms to Go where I put in a special order for bed rails. These will enable us to use the head and foot board that matches Nicky's dressers. They'll arrive on Friday and only cost 20$ which was awesome. We're planning to set this bed up in the den to make it the guestroom soon.

After that we headed to the mall. We got there about 15 minutes before they opened, so we pushed Nicky around the outside of the mall in the stroller for a while. Then we went to the salon where I usually get my hair done. I've been wanting to get a perm for a while but we had to wait till our fall money came in. It's kind of a late bday present to me.

They had an opening right away, so I stayed there and Tom and Nicky went to play. They were gone about an hour, but I was still getting wrapped. Nicky needed a nap, so we decided that Tom and Nicky would go home and rest and I'd call them when I was done. It took about 1.5 hours to wrap my hair, and then the processing took another hour. Then the cut took another bit. Pretty soon it was already 3:30pm when I was calling Tom to pick me up.

While I waited for him to arrive I went to the Clinique counter and bought a lipstick and brow liner. Nothing like a new hairdo to make you realize your eyebrows are invisible! That was such a splurge to buy makeup somewhere other than the drugstore!

Then on my way to go splurge on a bra I ran into Tom and Nicky. They came with me and I was able to buy myself one more bra. I only have one that I like, and so of course they've discontinued it. But they found the last one in my size. Yay me! Two whole bras!

Hmm, bra, lipstick, eyebrow pencil, perm and a volvo. I am so spoiled.

After that we headed to dinner at Nicky's Grandpa & Grandma's house. We had spaghetti, and I think Nicky ate more of that dinner than he has of anything all weekend! He just loved it.

By the time we got home it was after 9pm and time for bed. Nicky went down without a fuss. He's been really doing well the last few weeks and sleeping straight thru the night. Finally!

Oh, and on a side note, remember all the trouble we had with him and the Houdini poopoo messes? Well, since we moved him to his toddler bed we haven't had any trouble. Apparently by giving him the freedom to either come to the gate to call us or play quietly in his room, he no longer feels the need to strip down and paint. Thank goodness! I'm recording this here so that we can remember this if we have another baby who does the same thing!

So anyway, now that I've totally put off doing my homework for about an hour, it's time for me to actually get busy. Grad school isn't going to finish itself!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

More Wordles

Just for fun I did this Wordle of a part of my blog. It's from all the text from the first half of 2007. That's a LOT of text!

Wordle from my blog for the first half of 2007

Here's another one from 2008, including Jan 1st thru today.
Wordle from my blog for 2008 till 9-6-08

This is such a neat tool. I think I'll try it sometime with some research papers and such.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Warning: Politics Ahead

I've seen posts about this letter regarding Sarah Palin that was supposedly written by a person who knows Sarah personally. It seems rather balanced, although definitely doesn't show Palin in a favorable light.

However, ever the skeptic, I did a little more looking to see if I could find out if this was real or not. I found this report from an Illinois newspaper. Looks like it's authentic.

I'll not say what my opinion is about Palin, although those close to me probably can figure it out, but I think this is worth a read for research purposes, so I'll post it here in it's entirety as I found it on this blog which I found out about from this blogger.

I will say, that I'm thrilled to be alive during the US presidential election that has both a black man and a woman running for office. Sometimes I wondered if I'd ever see that day. Well that day's here, and in some ways I feel like we win no matter who gets the most votes. (Although I sincerely hope the vote goes my way of course!)

------start copyrighted material: Copyright 2008 Anne Kilkenny-------

So many people have asked me about what I know about Sarah Palin in the last 2 days that I decided to write something up . . .

You may distribute it to your friends/email list with my name and email address attached, but I’m NOT willing to have it posted on a webpage with my name and email address attached (there’s too many kooks out there!)

Bottomline: the only thing Sarah Palin has in common with Hillary Clinton is her gender and good looks. :)



I am a resident of Wasilla, Alaska. I have known Sarah since 1992. Everyone here knows Sarah, so it is nothing special to say we are on a first-name basis. Our children have attended the same schools. Her father was my child’s favorite substitute teacher. I also am on a first name basis with her parents and mother-in-law. I attended more City Council meetings during her administration than about 99% of the residents of the city.

She is enormously popular; in every way she’s like the most popular girl in middle school. Even men who think she is a poor choice and won’t vote for her can’t quit smiling when talking about her because she is a “babe”.

It is astonishing and almost scary how well she can keep a secret. She kept her most recent pregnancy a secret from her children and parents for seven months.

She is “pro-life”. She recently gave birth to a baby with Down syndrome . There is no cover-up involved, here; Trig is her baby.

She is energetic and hardworking. She regularly worked out at the gym.

She is savvy. She doesn’t take positions; she just “puts things out there” and if they prove to be popular, then she takes credit.

Her husband works a union job on the North Slope for BP and is a champion snowmobile racer. Todd Palin’s kind of job is highly sought-after because of the schedule and high pay. He arranges his work schedule so he can fish for salmon in Bristol Bay for a month or so in summer, but by no stretch of the imagination is fishing their major source of income. Nor has her life-style ever been anything like that of native Alaskans.

Sarah and her whole family are avid hunters.

She’s smart.

Her experience is as mayor of a city with a population of about 5,000 (at the time), and less than 2 years as governor of a state with about 670,000 residents.

During her mayoral administration most of the actual work of running this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings which had given rise to a recall campaign.

Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a “fiscal conservative”. During her 6 years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over 33%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation (1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they benefited residents.

The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration weren’t enough to fund everything on her wish list though, borrowed money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it with indebtedness of over $22 million. What did Mayor Palin encourage the voters to borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure that she said she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? or a new library? No. $1m for a park. $15m-plus for construction of a multi-use sports complex which she rushed through to build on a piece of property that the City didn’t even have clear title to, that was still in litigation 7 yrs later–to the delight of the lawyers involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the community but a huge money pit, not the profit-generator she claimed it would be. She also supported bonds for $5.5m for road projects that could have been done in 5-7 yrs without any borrowing.

While Mayor, City Hall was extensively remodeled and her office redecorated more than once.

These are small numbers, but Wasilla is a very small city.

As an oil producer, the high price of oil has created a budget surplus in Alaska. Rather than invest this surplus in technology that will make us energy independent and increase efficiency, as Governor she proposed distribution of this surplus to every individual in the state.

In this time of record state revenues and budget surpluses, she recommended that the state borrow/bond for road projects, even while she proposed distribution of surplus state revenues: spend today’s surplus, borrow for needs.

She’s not very tolerant of divergent opinions or open to outside ideas or compromise. As Mayor, she fought ideas that weren’t generated by her or her staff. Ideas weren’t evaluated on their merits, but on the basis of who proposed them.

While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin’s attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.

Sarah complained about the “old boy’s club” when she first ran for Mayor, so what did she bring Wasilla? A new set of “old boys”. Palin fired most of the experienced staff she inherited. At the City and as Governor she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure people, creating a staff totally dependent on her for their jobs and eternally grateful and fiercely loyal–loyal to the point of abusing their power to further her personal agenda, as she has acknowledged happened in the case of pressuring the State’s top cop (see below).

As Mayor, Sarah fired Wasilla’s Police Chief because he “intimidated” her, she told the press. As Governor, her recent firing of Alaska’s top cop has the ring of familiarity about it. He served at her pleasure and she had every legal right to fire him, but it’s pretty clear that an important factor in her decision to fire him was because he wouldn’t fire her sister’s ex-husband, a State Trooper. Under investigation for abuse of power, she has had to admit that more than 2 dozen contacts were made between her staff and family to the person that she later fired, pressuring him to fire her ex-brother-in-law. She tried to replace the man she fired with a man who she knew had been reprimanded for sexual harassment; when this caused a public furor, she withdrew her support.

She has bitten the hand of every person who extended theirs to her in help. The City Council person who personally escorted her around town introducing her to voters when she first ran for Wasilla City Council became one of her first targets when she was later elected Mayor. She abruptly fired her loyal City Administrator; even people who didn’t like the guy were stunned by this ruthlessness.

Fear of retribution has kept all of these people from saying anything publicly about her.

When then-Governor Murkowski was handing out political plums, Sarah got the best, Chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: one of the few jobs not in Juneau and one of the best paid. She had no background in oil & gas issues. Within months of scoring this great job which paid $122,400/yr, she was criticizing her pay as too high in the press . I was told that she hated that job: the commute, the structured hours, the work. Sarah became aware that a member of this Commission (who was also the State Chair of the Republican Party) engaged in unethical behavior on the job. In a gutsy move which some undoubtedly cautioned her could be political suicide, Sarah solved all her problems in one fell swoop: got out of the job she hated and garnered gobs of media attention as the patron saint of ethics and as a gutsy fighter against the “old boys’ club” when she dramatically quit, exposing this man’s ethics violations (for which he was fined).

As Mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork from Senator Ted Stevens. Lately, she has castigated his pork-barrel politics and publicly humiliated him. She only opposed the “bridge to nowhere” after it became clear that it would be unwise not to.

As Governor, she gave the Legislature no direction and budget guidelines, then made a big grandstand display of line-item vetoing projects, calling them pork. Public outcry and further legislative action restored most of these projects–which had been vetoed simply because she was not aware of their importance–but with the unobservant she had gained a reputation as “anti-pork”.

She is solidly Republican: no political maverick. The State party leaders hate her because she has bit them in the back and humiliated them. Other members of the party object to her self-description as a fiscal conservative.

Around Wasilla there are people who went to high school with Sarah. They call her “Sarah Barracuda” because of her unbridled ambition and predatory ruthlessness. Before she became so powerful, very ugly stories circulated around town about shenanigans she pulled to be made point guard on the high school basketball team. When Sarah’s mother-in-law, a highly respected member of the community and experienced manager, ran for Mayor, Sarah refused to endorse her.

As Governor, she stepped outside of the box and put together of package of legislation known as “AGIA” that forced the oil companies to march to the beat of her drum.

Like most Alaskans, she favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She has questioned if the loss of sea ice is linked to global warming. She campaigned “as a private citizen” against a state initiative that would have either a) protected salmon streams from pollution from mines, or b) tied up in the courts all mining in the state (depending on who you listen to). She has pushed the State’s lawsuit against the Dept. of the Interior’s decision to list polar bears as threatened species.

McCain is the oldest person to ever run for President; Sarah will be a heartbeat away from being President.

There has to be literally millions of Americans who are more knowledgeable and experienced than she.

However, there’s a lot of people who have underestimated her and are regretting it.

•“Hockey mom”: true for a few years
•“PTA mom”: true years ago when her first-born was in elementary school, not since •“NRA supporter”: absolutely true •social conservative: mixed. Opposes gay marriage, BUT vetoed a bill that would have denied benefits to employees in same-sex relationships (said she did this because it was unconstitutional).
•pro-creationism: mixed. Supports it, BUT did nothing as Governor to promote it.
•“Pro-life”: mixed. Knowingly gave birth to a Down’s syndrome baby BUT declined to call a special legislative session on some pro-life legislation
•“Experienced”: Some high schools have more students than Wasilla has residents. Many cities have more residents than the state of Alaska. No legislative experience other than City Council. Little hands-on supervisory or managerial experience; needed help of a city administrator to run town of about 5,000.
•political maverick: not at all
•gutsy: absolutely!
•open & transparent: ??? Good at keeping secrets. Not good at explaining actions.
•has a developed philosophy of public policy: no •”a Greenie”: no. Turned Wasilla into a wasteland of big box stores and disconnected parking lots. Is pro-drilling off-shore and in ANWR.
•fiscal conservative: not by my definition!
•pro-infrastructure: No. Promoted a sports complex and park in a city without a sewage treatment plant or storm drainage system. Built streets to early 20th century standards.
•pro-tax relief: Lowered taxes for businesses, increased tax burden on residents •pro-small government: No. Oversaw greatest expansion of city government in Wasilla’s history.
•pro-labor/pro-union. No. Just because her husband works union doesn’t make her pro-labor. I have seen nothing to support any claim that she is pro-labor/pro-union.


First, I have long believed in the importance of being an informed voter. I am a voter registrar. For 10 years I put on student voting programs in the schools. If you google my name (Anne Kilkenny + Alaska), you will find references to my participation in local government, education, and PTA/parent organizations.

Secondly, I’ve always operated in the belief that “Bad things happen when good people stay silent”. Few people know as much as I do because few have gone to as many City Council meetings.

Third, I am just a housewife. I don’t have a job she can bump me out of. I don’t belong to any organization that she can hurt. But, I am no fool; she is immensely popular here, and it is likely that this will cost me somehow in the future: that’s life.

Fourth, she has hated me since back in 1996, when I was one of the 100 or so people who rallied to support the City Librarian against Sarah’s attempt at censorship.

Fifth, I looked around and realized that everybody else was afraid to say anything because they were somehow vulnerable.

I am not a statistician. I developed the numbers for the increase in spending & taxation 2 years ago (when Palin was running for Governor) from information supplied to me by the Finance Director of the City of Wasilla, and I can’t recall exactly what I adjusted for: did I adjust for inflation? for population increases? Right now, it is impossible for a private person to get any info out of City Hall–they are swamped. So I can’t verify my numbers.

You may have noticed that there are various numbers circulating for the population of Wasilla, ranging from my “about 5,000″, up to 9,000. The day Palin’s selection was announced a city official told me that the current population is about 7,000. The official 2000 census count was 5,460. I have used about 5,000 because Palin was Mayor from 1996 to 2002, and the city was growing rapidly in the mid-90’s.

Anne Kilkenny
August 31, 2008
--------End of material copyrighted to Anne Kilkenny---------

Note: She requested her email not be released, so I'm not including it here. Although it's out there in the internets if you really wanted to find it.

Cool Web Feature of the Day: Wordle

This is a neat little tool. You may have seen tag clouds before. In fact on the right side of my blog is a tag cloud that shows my del.ici.ous bookmarks this way. Basically it's a representation of information where the size of each word is related to how many occurrences of that word there are in a set of information.

Well, Wordle is a free online tool that allows you to input text and then see a word cloud made from that information.

I saw these this morning on Tongue and Groove. She'd entered in the candidates' convention speeches. I think they're worth looking at.

Then just for fun I made one of my blog's latest posts:

Then, I tried to think of a few really good speeches. Here are the ones I thought of first:

Martin Luther King's I have a dream
Wordle image

Brown v Board of Education Decision 1954
Wordle image

Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address
Wordle image

Sojourner Truth's Ain't I a Woman
Wordle image

Susan B. Anthony's 1853 speech after being arrested for voting in the presidential election of 1852
Wordle image

This is a pretty cool tool!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Take a Hike Ike.


New photos up for August! Just in time for September to roll around.

New-ish things for Nicky lately...

Not only can he take off the safety doorknob covers, he can also open the really complicated gate we had on the den and had moved to his bedroom. This is the gate that adult visitors always have a hard time with!

When we moved that complex gate to his bedroom door, we bought a cheapy plastic gate for the den. Well he can just pull that one right down now. Super.

He likes to tickle daddy, mommy, the dogs, toys, etc. He'll say "Tickle Daddy" while he's tickling Tom, "Tickle Abbey" for Abbey, etc.

He had a little jewelry box of mine full of old earrings that he played with for a while. They were his "treasure!" (said with a pirate accent of course) We finally took them away since they were so small and he's still into putting everything in his mouth. But Grandma and Grandpa got him a toolbox of his own and he just loves stashing things in it. It mostly seems to hold his binkies.

Speaking of binkies, I don't know if we're ever going to get rid of them. He just won't sleep without them. We finally gave in and bought a few new ones. So now he somehow has about seven of them. Not usually all at once though. There were 8, but one was run over with the lawn mower. Oops.

As for Tom and I, we started our graduate programs last week. They're all online at FSU's College of Information. So far so good! I hope the rest of the semester goes as smoothly.

Well, on the tropical weather front, we did just fine through Fay here. All our family seems ok so far too (with the big exception of Juliet's car). Gustav also missed everyone, although it looked bad there for Tampa for a moment. Somehow they dodged the bullet again though. I am very glad that NOLA didn't get hit too terribly with flooding. Thankfully Gustav slowed a bit before landfall and landed a little away from them.

So now we're looking at Hanna, Ike and Josephine. All in a row. It seems Hanna will miss us. Maybe she'll send some rain up Georgia's way though. They could use it. Ike looks very ominous though. Already a category 4 storm and headed for the Bahamas. I feel for those islands. Man, they can't catch a break! They've been pounded by Fay, Gustav and Hanna already. Looks like Ike is headed right for them. Maybe Josephine will peter out before she reaches them at least.

Anyway, we'll be watching Ike, and if it looks like he's headed for the family down south, well you all just head up our way! Tom's already said if Ike's headed in towards us, even though we're high and in the middle of the state, we might be leaving town. We'll see what happens.