Monday, December 20, 2010

Getting Ready for Baby

Mike and I are much more relaxed about the arrival of our second son than we were about Zeke; we're so relaxed that we don't even have a name for him yet. However, in a mild nesting fit on Cyber Monday, I bought a new infant car seat for Thing2 and a double stroller. (Zeke's infant car seat was an awesome hand-me-down but it reached the five year mark and had to be retired. )
As you can see in the picture, Zeke is thrilled about the double stroller. No, really. The camera just missed a terrific smile. He was less excited when I put the baby doll in the front seat - he thought that his Snowman doll should go there instead. The baby doll is supposed to represent Thing2 and help Zeke prepare for Thing2's arrival. Zeke is not entirely on board with the program. For example, he put the baby doll in the new car seat and tried to buckle in the doll and then he promptly sat on the doll and told me it was Zeke's seat.
Oh, well. If we can't be fully prepared at least we can be calm.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The tree is up

Today we brought out the Christmas decorations. That sounds grander than it was - we have a fake tree we keep in our storage closet, a few strings of lights, and some hand-me-down ornaments. It took less than five minutes to dig out. Since we like to move every year or so, it helps to keep things streamlined. Zeke, however, would have been thrilled if all we had was the lights.

The best part of the decorating procedure was when I asked Zeke to bring out the Momma, Dadda, and Baby from his toy chest. He went right to the toy box and pulled out our plastic nativity set and helped to set it up under the tree. He likes to put the baby in the manger and then sign to me that the baby is sleeping. It's cute.

The worst part of the decorating event is that Zeke credits Dad with everything. If you give him a chance to tell you about the Christmas tree there's a lot of "Dadda this" and "Dadda that", and some "Zeke this" too, but apparently I was hiding under the couch the whole time.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Not so much turkey

Our family had a fabulous Thanksgiving, made possible by all the fun grandparents and cousins and aunts and uncles who were involved. Thank you! We did not participate in a traditional Thanksgiving feast, but we had way too much fun playing at parks, running wild at both Grandmas' houses, and visiting an indoor playplace.
As a bonus, Mike and I got to practice driving long distance with Zeke (there was a three hour car trip at one point) and we gained some hope that we won't all die on the upcoming Mother-Of-All-Road-Trips-For-Uncle-Bee's-Wedding. That road trip will be happening in approximately three weeks and involves a very scary, seven hour drive. One way.
I took lots of pictures but they all came out grainy or blurry or with one of my fingers obscuring the lens. I think our camera battery is getting old.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Official Christmas Kickoff

Last Saturday we attended a Holiday Season Opening Ceremony (aka StartBuyingLikeCrazy'CauseWeHaveStuffToSell) at an outdoor mall just north of here. The ad in the paper said that it was going to be a festive event with live music and dancing performances and an "architectural tree" lighting event.
Mike said that he would rather have gone to Target.

We ditched the event before it was done and took a stroll down the Promenade. Zeke loved the fountains and would have happily thrown himself in, even though it was rather chilly outside.
I saw a man playing an Arhoo - exactly like the one I brought back from China - and his music did not sound like dying, tortured cats. Not good enough for me to buy his CD, but quite commendable for an Arhoo.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Learning Life Skills

At last! A significant milestone has been reached!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

For this is Halloween...Booo!

Zeke and Mike, two of the three cars in the GravyTrain ("Grey-V Train").
We celebrated Halloween yesterday, as today is the sabbath and not a good time for secular frivolity. We celebrated by going in group costume to our ward's Trunk-or-Treat party and we brought chili for the chili cook-off and decorated a trick-or-treating room. (There were no trunks at our trunk-or-treat; all activities took place inside our building.)

This is the pumpkin that Mike carved and we entered into the pumpkin carving competition. It's an awesome Pooh Bear, but we didn't win.
Zeke ate waaaaaaay too much sugar even though we took him home for a nap long before the actual trick-or-treating part of the event. He did not go trick-or-treating anywhere this year and is still clueless as to how that works. All the better. Next year we will fight the too-much-candy battle.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween is Coming...

Zeke is generally oblivious to the concept of Halloween (no biggie, he also disregards the germ theory of medicine) so we have been keeping our celebrations minimal this year. We took him to a pumpkin patch and he tried, alternatively, to lift every pumpkin that was too heavy for him and to kick every pumpkin that was not. We bought a small pumpkin and will be carving it tomorrow night, but probably after he goes to bed.
He also has a costume, which he wore to his music class last Monday. I forgot my camera so you will have to wait for pictures from Saturday's upcoming Trunk-Or-Treat.
Alas, there will be no viewing of Sweeney Todd this year - we forgot to rent it from Netflix and no live performances are playing in our area. Worry not, we own the score, so we will sing our favorites before we go to bed.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Last week I took the dreaded glucose challenge test so my doctor could decide whether or not I am a gestational diabetic. She scheduled this test during week 13 of my pregnancy (due to my past history) and I was a snotty, uncooperative patient who refused to take the test several times. Last week, week 26, I finally gave in and drank the orange drink.
Results: Normal
Hooray! Hooray! This does not mean that I get to eat cookies and ice cream everyday, all day, but it does mean that I can stop being afraid of bread.

Monday, October 11, 2010

October? Huh?

An exhausted Zeke shows us he is ready for naptime.

We are all moved in. As long as you don't count the fifteen or so boxes that are taking up space in my bedroom. I think at the end of October I'll sell each box for $5, just to get rid of them, and market each as a "Surprise Box!". It'll be a surprise for us because we don't really know what's in them, and a surprise for the new owner because maybe they really need random pictures of our family or general office supplies and a collection of random paperbacks.
I miss many things about the old apartment, but I'm trying to forget all that stuff. Well, I'm going to write it all down in a journal so I can remember it for the next time we move, but then I'm going to forget it. There are some things I'm trying to "forget" about our new apartment too: the airport noise, the number of keys I have to carry around at all times to be able to get from point A to point B within the complex, the proliferation of snotty DogPeople. There was an open house yesterday for one of the units just down the hall from us. Asking price was $450k. We're definitely not interested.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Silverfish and Fleas

Our new apartment was mostly clean when we first came here, but I promise we have not kept it that way. We did not, however, bring the fleas or the silverfish with us. Before we signed a lease, the realtor assured me that the previous tenants did not have pets, and I believed her. What I didn't realize was that the rest of the building does have pets. (With great sarcasm)Yippee.
So we track the fleas in from outside and I slowly work on killing them. My only successful method of flea killing involves drowning. Those buggers are tough but they can't swim, and they can't breathe underwater.
One day as I was busy drowning a flea and gloating as he died, Zeke was watching. He was very interested in what I was doing, but was too short to see. He ran and miraculously found one of his shoes and came back quickly showing me that he was ready to kill fleas too. I turned him loose on a silverfish that was stuck in the shower. It was fantastic.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hot Weekend Away

Mike swelters in the humid afternoon heat

This past weekend we took a trip to MiddleAmerica to visit my brother, Litos, and his family. It turned out to be an ad hoc Family Reunion for my side of the family, motivated by our celebration of Litos' safe return from Iraq. We had crazy fun times, as you can see Zeke enjoying below:

We also participated in a cupcake decorating competition and won an honorable mention (of sorts). Most of the other participants were actual skilled pastry chefs and they accused us of cheating because we went to the library and found books on cupcake decorating, and then brought our own supplies to make the following:
Doesn't that look like delicious hot corn on the cob? I don't think using the library is cheating, and we didn't break any rules either.
The time change has been rough on Zeke, as was the travel part. We decided that we are no longer interested in traveling anywhere with Zeke if it takes more than an hour.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Moving (again)

After months of searching, we have finally found a new apartment. It meets Tina's basic criteria:
- closer to Mike's work
- downstairs
- washer/dryer hookups
- green space nearby

It also has some bonus features, like:
- More space!
- perilously close to a major, international airport!
- POOL on site!
- 2 bathrooms!

Yes, each of those qualities required an exclamation mark.
Zeke checks out a box
The big move is on September 25th. This move will be better than the last because we won't have a less-than-4-week-old baby, we got the biggest stinkin' Uhaul that they offer, and we're not moving a fridge, washer or dryer. Even though there is significant benefit to moving as often as we do ("purging" and "downsizing" are terms that we embrace), I'm hoping that we stay in this new place for two solid years. It would be the longest tenancy of our marriage.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Announcement Time!

We have a few announcements, but the first is: It's a Boy! We went for an ultrasound, and the results are that we will be having a healthy boy around January 25th, confirming our previous estimate. All fingers and toes are there, everything looks good, and we got a pretty good shot of his junk to prove the sex.

Pictures for you:

A Foot
His foot

His junk

You can find a few more here.

In other news, Zeke went to nursery for the first time last week. He cried for about 45 minutes before I took pity on the nice volunteers who run the show and went in to be with him. He was fine once I was in there, although he didn't know the routine yet.

We made him wear his nice suit for this one:

And when we try to take away Pooh Bear and Binky for a nice picture?

From this, we learn that HappyZeke = SadZeke + PoohBear .

But he did color a nice picture for us. We document it here so we can throw it away, like we will with all of his weekly coloring gifts. Not because we won't appreciate the gifts, just because we're heartless.

Finally, Tina is beginning to show signs of feeling less nauseas nausaeaous sick. We won't visit any buffets for a few more weeks, but she looks forward to not hurling.

Look for updates on name voting, now that we know it's a boy. And, of course, feel free to add your suggestions [Previous post].

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Zeke talks! Okay, well, he's been babbling for several months now but I've recently decided to just assign meanings to the noises he makes. And everyone knows that talking is just that - noise with meaning. So here is one of Zeke's latest "words": Cookie

Monday, August 2, 2010


Today I'm going to make myself a badge that says, "Village Idiot". Then I'm going to make up lots of "Village Idiot" badges and take them over to the CityByTheBeach Fire Department, so they can hand out these badges to people like myself.
This morning, Zeke and I went to Albertsons to get some milk. I got out of the car, keys in hand, and opened up Zeke's door. He was crying - fake crying - and I said, "Where did Happy Zeke go? I thought I brought Happy Zeke to the store? I know, I'll shut the door and when I open it again, I'll find Happy Zeke!"
This little speech made him stop crying so I decided to keep playing the game. I set my purse on the floor behind his car seat, pressed the "lock" button my my keys, tossed them into my purse and shut the door.
As soon as I heard the door shut I realized what had just happened. I ran into Albertsons.
"Help! Help! I locked my baby in the car! Help!"
Thank goodness it was early and there were loads of Albertsons people hanging out at the front, avoiding re-shelving duties. Someone said, "Do you have triple -A?" (we don't) and someone else said, "Would you like to call the person who has the spare set of keys?"
I explained that the spare set of keys were in OtherBeachCity at work, and at least an hour away. The manager decided that he was going to call 911.
And that's how I became the Village Idiot, crying next to my car (and my baby) while the Fire Department jimmied open the front door.
Zeke was fine, and he cashed in on mommy's guilt and got a balloon and chocolate milk.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

When mom doesn't feel good

This is what happens. The blog doesn't get updated, the laundry piles up, the freezer gets stuffed with TV dinners, and Zeke rules the house.
(Yup. Those are Fruit Loops. All over the floor. And he ate a good number of them before I could get things cleaned up.)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Naming Conventions

For those who are unaware, our cute Zeke is going to be a brother. If you missed the announcement, just click here.

You might be wondering why we called him Jaguar Paw. Well, back when we had the Mike and Tina Pregnancy Blog hosted elsewhere, we posted a poll with a few names we had been considering and asking for people to vote on the names.

Jaguar Paw
Some nefarious people convinced Mike to add "Jaguar Paw" to the list, a name which comes from the main character of the blockbuster, Apocalypto. Through the power of the Internets, "Jaguar Paw" quickly rose in popularity until it was clear that our boy would become a great Mayan warrior, at least in name.

Not to be outdone, we would like to open up the voting once more, but this time, we are going to allow even more participation.

Please follow this link to our name suggestion form where you can provide all of the crazy name ideas you can think of. We will post the responses as time allows, and maybe open up voting after we have collected a series of names.

The Real Jaguar Paw

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Questions

Question 1:
What is the deal with "The Answer"?

Question 2:
Given the following string and commands, can you decode the secret message?

The String

The Commands

Instructions for decoding:
If a command is positive, count to the right that many characters. If a command is negative, count to the left that many characters. Always count from the most recent character, so that you are moving forwards and backwards along the string.

Start just off the left end of the string.

For example, the commands 3,2,-1 would yield the characters #, %, and $, and the output would be "#%$".

The Answer, in American History

If you are not up to the Python challenge, here is an alternative puzzle that will lead you to the same information:

Who was the fourth president of the United States?

A. Alexander Hamilton
B. John Quincy Adams
C. James Madison
D. Michael Jackson

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Answer, in Python

import string

def next_letter(index):
  letters = string.punctuation + string.ascii_lowercase + string.digits
  return letters[index]

def main():
  response = ""
  index = 0
  orders = "36,13,-9,-6,8,8,-4,-1,9,-18,-3,17,-10,11,-15,\
  orderArray = orders.split(',')
  for order in orderArray:
    index = index + int(order)
    response += next_letter(index)
  print (response)

if __name__ == "__main__":

Friday, June 25, 2010


At 12:48pm today, Zeke sustained his first significant head injury.
Just look at that ugly mug. That's a peanut butter smear on his face near the mouth, but it's the freshest shot of his growing black eye.
We were in my bedroom thinking about which park to go to, and Zeke was playing with his neato toy shopping cart. He thinks he's a climber so he climbed into the shopping cart, which he often does so he can whimper until he convinces someone to push him around the room for a bit. So he's in the toy cart but he's not positioned the way he wants and he keeps fidgeting. I'm sitting on my bed watching everything, maybe three feet away. I saw the cart start to lean forward and I heard the thud as Zeke's face, specifically his eye, landed square on the corner of my nightstand. Awesome Ikea particle board.
(The offending nightstand corner, now protectively taped by Mike.)
After 20 minutes of crying and several unsuccessful attempts at wiping away the blood and icing the impact, I convinced him to calm down by taking him outside, giving him a binki, fruit snacks, and turning on the garden hose.
The doctor said there will be a small scar under his eye, but the wound is very neat and was sealing itself very well. She put this piece of tape on the two gashes and told us to leave it there until it fell off on its own. That's it.
Now we just have to think of an awesome story to tell everyone at church.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Everybody Out!

We keep several friends in Zeke's crib, to keep him company during naps and in the night. He sleeps with the Dinosaur,
Snowman, Poohbear, Smurf and Piggy. Of these, Poohbear is the most loved and Piggy is frequently pushed into a corner and forgotten.
Somedays Zeke has trouble falling asleep. His communication is limited, so he tells me how upset he is by throwing everything out of his crib, including the binkies. See below:
I've told him repeatedly that this is counterproductive - he has even more trouble falling asleep when the binkies and Poohbear are out of reach - but he persists. The new fear is that one day he'll decide to go after them.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Because we know that Memorial Day is not just a day for grillin' and good times, we went to the beach on the Saturday before Memorial Day, along with hundreds of other folks. The water was cold and the sand was hot and Zeke loved every minute of it. Mike was a good Dad and took him out in the water, and they went a bit further out than I would have liked.

On Memorial Day proper we attended a flag raising, visited family and friends, and decided that next year we need to be more involved in meaningful activities. I was determined to remember to observe the 3pm moment of silence, but I was busy being a mom and forgot all about my resolve until late that night. Next year will be better.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Moving Along

We applied for an apartment (with a yard!) and we lost because we were second in line - someone else turned in his application before us. So the search continues, and Zeke seems to be a very game house hunter. He complains in the car because that's just who he is, but he loves to explore new places once we get there.

On an unrelated note, Mike has had some successful rides to work of late - no car accidents! We're now at 3 biking days without an injury...I've got to figure out how to add a gadget like that to the side bar.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Zeke was helping me return a library book one evening when we found a fantastic water fountain. Any source of moving water interests Zeke, but this fountain was especially tempting. Instead of a pool of water, the water flowed over a black structure that was just Zeke's height.

He kept trying to drink the water,

even though I tried to stop him.

Here's his guilty look while he swallows:

The only problem was, I'm pretty sure it was reclaimed water. Ick.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cannibal Party

Okay, it wasn't a Cannibal Party, it was a book club meeting, but we were reading In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick and I couldn't resist the cannibal tie in. I hosted the meeting, which was something I was very nervous about doing. I kept thinking of excuses why no one would want to come to my house (it's small, I don't have a clue how to decorate, it's upstairs, I think my house smells of sour milk all the time, etc.), but it turned out just fine and I even relaxed enough to have a good time.
For the party I helped Mike make Lady Fingers (pictured above, and yes, it was Mike's idea to paint the "stubs" red), I made my mom's Summer Cooler punch with a large ice cube in the shape of a human hand,

and I made Hard Tack :

I used a recipe for the Hard Tack from a Civil War memorial society, so it wasn't exactly historical to the book. I enjoyed the Hard Tack because I was so very curious about what survivors of the Essex ate, and once I tasted how salty it was I decided that 93 days of 6 oz. of Hard Tack and half a pint of water was impossible.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Zeke goes apartment hunting

Mike and I have talked about moving since he started his new job with PubliclyTradedCompany. We originally told our ward leaders not to expect us after April 30, and, well, that was a little rash. Here it is, May, and we still live in CityByTheBeach, and we're mostly happy here, except that I hate the stairs that lead up to our apartment. If anything will motivate me to get serious about apartment hunting, it will be those stairs.
Well, last week I fell down those cursed stairs (just a little bobble on the second to last step) and I got serious about moving. I made an appointment for us to look at an apartment that very night. Here is Zeke checking out the kitchen:
We're learning that compromise is the name of the game. Upper level apartments are not okay, but townhouse style apartments are. A dishwasher would be nice, but is not a requirement. And we've expanded our geographical search. Maybe I'm getting used to the idea that an hour commute (one way) is normal for folks who live where we do.
Zeke checks out another kitchen:
One thing I'll never get used to is the price. I never thought I'd pay so much each month for something I'll never own.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Appeal Cake

As you may or may not know, I keep a part time law practice. I have business cards printed on my home computer, a text block for letterhead, and semi-modest dreams for expansion. Last Thursday I completely finished and turned in an opening brief with excerpts of record for a client who is taking an issue up to the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel. (Actually, there were eight separate issues, but I was limited to only 30 pages regardless of how many issues we raised. My best draft was 40 pages and getting it down to 30 was very painful.)
This is the cake Mike bought for me in celebration of my first, successful ghost-written appeal:
I have little to no chance of being paid for my work so we cut large pieces of cake and ate them until we felt sick. We did not share with Zeke. I cut up the rest of the cake and froze it for future celebration.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Mike!

Mike had a birthday, shout Hooray!
We celebrated by going to a sushi buffet. That's right - all sushi, all the time. Mike ate many things with eyes, tentacles, and wasabi, and Tina ate steamed rice and spring rolls. Thank you to all the family who came on the adventure.
Above: Zeke eats some orange jello. Delicious!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I made Animal Crackers for Zeke!
A good friend gave me awesome cookie cutters for Christmas and I finally got around to trying them. The elephant was the hardest to keep in one piece - I don't think any elephants were complete. The tigers and the lions were structurally sturdier and turned out better.
Zeke doesn't really like the crackers/cookies, not that he told me so much, just that every time I give him one he sucks on it until it becomes gooey and then smears it around on the closest surface.
As for taste, Grandma said they would need more sugar if she was going to eat them but Gingernut and Thumbelina seemed to think they were pretty tasty.