Monday, April 20, 2009

Crunch Time

Well it's Crunch Time again, and I WISH I was talking about eating something crunchy. But no, it's the last week of classes and I've been completley swamped with trying to finish up my last big projects/papers for grad school. Sorry about the dirth of posts lately, but I promise to get some more photos, movies and news up soon. My last paper is due this Friday, and then I'll have at least a week totally free of homework. Finally!

A few highlights from this week though:

Nicky had a great Easter. We managed to do everything I'd planned, including planting a little edible garden together. I'll post photos soon, but so far nothing is dead! It's been a week too, so that's really impressive. Some of the seeds are even sprouting! Amazing!

The eggs we dyed and tie-dyed turned out great, and in the last week I've eaten enough eggs to last the rest of the year. I took photos and will share soon.

Nicky found his Easter basket hidden cleverly on the treadmill. So you know it had to be the bunny and not mommy who hid it, cause mommy hasn't touched the treadmill in a looong time. (That'll be remedied soon as the semester is done though!) I have a movie and some photos of him and his basket coming soon.

Then, for Easter dinner we went to Grandma and Grandpas house. Food was great, but the Easter Egg Hunt was even better! Nicky really had fun doing it this year. Maybe next year we'll take him somewhere where there are lots of kids hunting. I have photos and movies of this for you too, and JM even took some photos which I'm sure will come out awesome.

After Easter I was totally absorbed in creating a digital library for my final project in one of my classes. I was in charge of coding the interface so what you see is a lot of my work. I think it turned out really well. Are you impressed? Because seriously, you should be. This was so hard! I basically had to reverse engineer the software to figure out what the heck I was doing. There is very little out on the internet in the way of instruction on this open source software and it's a miracle I could figure it out.

I also made some time Tuesday night after work and had Tom and Nicky drop me off at the blood donation center for about 1.5 hours. I've given blood lots of times before, but this was my first time donating platelets. These are really needed for people fighting leukemia and other cancers, and since my grandfather needed several units of platelets during his fight with leukemia, I felt I should definitely give it a try. I was a little scared as this is the thing where they take stuff and then give stuff back (was not real clear on how that all happened) but honestly it wasn't bad at all! It took longer, but the needle was smaller and it was kind of relaxing, although you're not allowed to close your eyes darn it. I could have used a nap! But they have movies and popcorn and I did a crossword puzzle and they bring you cookies and juice so hooray! I was able to donate two units which is apparently pretty good. And I can do it again in just 28 days. I think I will.

Yesterday we took Nicky to see Bob the Builder finally. We'd bought the tickets way back for his birthday, but the show was just yesterday. We're glad we took him, and I think he was really into it for about 15 minutes. But then he spent the 5 minutes leading up to intermission crawling around on the floor. At intermission we all decided to go out and get a burger and go home for a nap. We'll try a Sesame Street Live show next time I think. I've heard really good things about those. This one seemed a little boring and too "talky" to me for a 3 year old. Too much "let's lecture about recycling" and not enough "watch the machines do stuff!"

So with all the stuff going on, obviously I need to make sure to get a good night's sleep huh.

Well I'm working on getting a new cpap mask from the new company my insurance changed to. That will help I'm sure. I think my mask is leaking quite a bit.

But you know what else would help? Winning a new mattress! Tom and I finally got rid of our old mattress (that we'd bought back in 1994) about a year ago or so. We did that because we got Tom's mom's old mattress when she got a new one. And while this mattress has been oodles better than our old one (at least I don't wake with a bad back every morning anymore!) it's still probably in need of replacement. So I'm entering this contest for a sleep number bed. How cool would that be!

So anyway, that's what's up with us right now. I promise photos and video to come as soon as I kill off this 3000 word paper. 3k? Easy right? Yeah, well except that you have to have 20 citations for it. Not just 20 references, 20 inline citations! Sheesh! Can't wait to be done! Hopefully my summer classes will be easy.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Big Plans this weekend

Well tomorrow is Easter and the Easter Bunny is ready to hop. This year will probably be the first year Nicky is really into the basket and egg hunt stuff, so I'm getting everything ready and planning out some of the traditions from my childhood.

The basket has been ready since Monday night. The Easter Bunny will hide it for Nicky to find Sunday morning. When I was little the Easter Bunny always hid our baskets. We had AMAZING baskets every year, with both candy and lots of fun handpicked little toys and stuff. So of course Nicky's basket is loaded with neat handpicked things. There will be pictures upcoming.

Easter 2007 (Daddy makes a great bunny!)

We always dyed easter eggs too. In fact since we did this every year with my sisters and cousins, we've gotten pretty good at it. But this year I bought a kit to tie-dye some eggs with silk ties. It didn't cost much and looks so neat! I also found instructions online that brought up something important: these tie-dyed eggs aren't for eating! So I'll be tie-dying about a dozen just for looks. Then we'll use regular food coloring to dye some that we can eat. And Donna had a good idea for dying some with colored tissue paper, so we might try that too. Today is egg-dying day, and I have 3.5 dozen eggs ready to go. Be ready for lots of egg photos!

Our EGGstrordinary masterpieces from 2007)

Of course we have to do an Easter egg hunt! When I was a kid we actually hid the eggs that we dyed and we've been hiding plastic eggs with Tom's family for years now. A few years ago I was in charge of hiding the eggs at my inlaw's horse farm over an area of several acres. I had a whole chart of where I hid each egg so that we'd find them all, and I think I hid over 50 of them! Well, we're not going to spread them out that far this time for Nicky to find, we'll keep them close to the house. Tom's picking up the plastic eggs and some little non-candy trinkets to go in them today. We'll be having the tomorrow at Grandma & Grandpa's house after lunch/dinner. I anticipate some photo opportunities there also, but I'm sure JM will have that event well covered.

Nicky's First Easter
(4 weeks old was just a bit too little to hunt Easter eggs)

I have one more project I'd like to do this weekend. I checked the book The Bountiful Container out of the library and it has a great idea for a toddler garden. I'm hoping to take Nicky and I to go pick out pansies and seeds to plant today too. I have the perfect container and will take the daisy/bush thingy that's in it now to replant in the front yard. (Obviously I'm a stellar gardener with my innate knowledge of plant names.)

One more thing, I just received these photos of Aunt Liz with her turkey centerpiece she made for Thanksgiving. You know, I think this would actually be a really neat project for Easter too. Look how colorful! And with the tie-dyed eggs around it? What do you think? Either way, it's really pretty. And I think it was her first one ever. She's very artistic. (And probably wishing she was here to dye Easter eggs with us this year. We miss you Aunt Liz!)

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Nicky's first fishing trip

Mostly he loved the worms

I took Nicky for his first fishing trip today. Tom stayed home and pressure washed the driveway. I'm too exhausted to tell a full story right now, but the basics are that it wasn't bad for a first fishing trip.

We went to a lake about a 5 minute drive away.

We bought worms, a little dip net and a stringer, just in case although I was planning to release anything we caught.

Ant bites=2 (Both on Mommy)

Sunburns=2 (Tom didn't wear any sunscreen and is so burnt. I wore it, but missed the back of my neck and had braided my hair so it's a lovely hot pink. Nicky was totally covered and is fine.)

Hooking accidents=0 (I dumped a bottle of wine and used the cork as a hook guard when we weren't actively casting/fishing. Genius idea. And it was old crappy wine by the way.)



Nibbles=2 (Probably our worm being attacked by minnows right under the dock.)

I think Nicky had fun though. Photos are up now. The one above was one of the first I took. Mostly Nicky enjoyed playing with the worms. He wasn't interested in what was happening in the water so much.

After an hour or more of fishing we dumped our stuff at the car and went on the playground. Nicky had a ball and threw a first-class tantrum when we left. We were both hot and tired though, so it was time to go.

After a complete failure of a nap, we went outside and Nicky played with his wormies some more. I finally got him to put them to bed in a planter and come in for dinner. He of course had to sing them to sleep though, and I caught that on a movie for you. I'll upload the movies soon. But probably not tonight. (Must sleep!)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Well at least I don't have issues with sharing (just with being concise)

What a week! Sorry for disappearing on you there, but I had a big presentation for one of my classes Monday and then an even bigger 2 hour workshop on copyright for my job today. It was one of those "if I can just survive till xpm on xday then I'll be ok" kinds of weeks.

But I lived, and both presentations seem to have gone really well. I guess I'll know for sure when my grade and survey results come in later, but they felt like they went well.

Now I can go back to just my normal levels of stress. :)

In the meantime we've made a LOT of progress in the Battle of the Binky. There were a few days when Nicky took his "new" elephant, Binky, to school with him. He would pretty much just get to cuddle with him during naptime, but that seemed to be fine. He slept with him at night and would make Binky talk to us. Took about a week and now he seems ok. He isn't even taking Binky to school anymore. And after last weekend, when we went on a HUGE party-extravaganza for my godson Colin, Nicky seems to have moved on. (To dinosaurs and cars to be specific.)

You know I just have to tell you about last weekend. We took a nice little trip down to the Tampa area where Tom's mom lives and our friends live not too far from her with our godson. Well they were having Colin's 6th birthday (I still can't believe he's actually SIX already!) at a party place. There were over 20 kids there along with a whole bunch of parents. I don't even know how many total! This place was like a big warehouse split into a few rooms and it was full of inflatable slides, mazes and bounce houses.

It turned out that just Nicky and I went (thank goodness for GPS and the printed map I had with me) as Tom stayed at his mom's to help her with some spring cleaning. When we arrived, Nicky put on his shy act for about two seconds before wiggling out of my arms and taking off! He immediately went to the big slide, climbed up about 25 feet or so and slid down. Absolutely no room for fear here!

Most of the kids were probably about 5-7 range, and they were really good with Nicky. He still has no concept of the whole "waiting in line" thing, so he was breaking in front of kids left and right. But they seemed to understand he was only 3 and just didn't know better.

I took plenty of photos and Gayle (Colin's mom) took some too. I can't wait to see how her's turned out.

After two rooms of bounce houses, a pizza party, cake and awesome goodie bags, a smaller contingent headed to Colin's house where we could watch him open presents, because apparently that's not done at the actual party anymore. (I know nothing about these new rules.) Colin opened his gifts and in the end it was Nicky, Colin and a neighbor's child playing for at least an hour or two. Their respective ages were 3, 6 and 9 and they'd all just had a birthday. But in spite of the age difference they played together so nicely.

Nicky particularly liked this Hot Wheels track thing and an electronic dinosaur. He liked them so much that we ended up buying them both for him later this week. And now he seems totally contented with his new toys and hasn't asked for a binky since we've returned.

We can definitely tell though that we need to work on taking turns, sharing and asking for something rather than grabbing it from someone. Aside from seeing him in action at Colin's, where Colin was actually pretty darn patient with Nicky's behavior, Tom was told yesterday that Nicky is struggling with these things at school. It's not really surprising since he's an only child and hasn't really been in too many situations that called for sharing, but we need to work on it. Tonight I worked on him a little in sharing his new dinosaur with me. It didn't really go all that well, but he'll get it I'm sure. If you know of any good "sharing/taking turns" kinds of books please let me know!

Ok, photo time!

Today Nicky made these bunny ears in school. Here he's showing off his bunny teeth. Speaking of teeth, he finally has gotten in his bottom back molars (yeah the 2 year molars). They just came in at the same time in the last month, along with having a cold and ear infection. Poor kid. Still waiting on the top ones though.

Heading down the big slide at the party:

Oh, and two more things. Nicky now says "Oh Whatever!" which I'm sure he learned at school, probably from his teacher. And all the sudden, yesterday, he started counting to ten in Spanish! The funny thing is he now counts to 10 in Spanish and then backwards from 10 down to "blastoff" in English. Still, that seems pretty cool! I'll have to catch it on camera soon.