28 January 2006

fun trip, happy to be back home

We're home again from Orlando. I've been throwing pics up on Flickr over the last few days, but nothing at all organized or even captioned. Lots of the photos need explanation....

22 January 2006

stay tuned

stay tuned
Originally uploaded by clumberkim.
I'll be celebrating my 40th birthday and blogging from the Happiest Place on Earth.

17 January 2006

common language?

I have been an Anglophile for a long time, many years before I met CD. I watched royal weddings on TV, no matter how early I had to get up to do so. I became interested in British dogs. Since I started living with CD I call paper towels "kitchen roll" now. I am prone to feeling peckish. And at this time of year, there's nothing like a nice woolly jumper. [For more, see The American's Guide to Speaking British] I have been known to say CD could read me the phone book, but those who know him can attest to the likelihood of that happening....

There is one expression that has begun to bother me in recent days, "Bread roll". What's up with that? What other kinds of rolls are we worried about confusing them with?

My sister-in-law recently mentioned how she realized Oliver is going to have an American accent. Not exactly news, but it made me think about it too. We talked about it via e-mail and I expressed my concern that if we stay in Pittsburgh too long Oliver would start to develop a Pittsburgh accent. She wisely reminded me that it could be worse....we could live in Texas.

She sent us a Harry Potter book on cd, read by one of my favorite (favourite?) British actors, Stephen Fry. (He's no Colin Firth but I still wouldn't mind sharing a pint with him.) I look forward to listening to it. We have all the Harry Potters in the original, British versions. Would you believe they change some words for American kids?! It's appalling, not to mention it underestimates their intelligence.

Oliver is going to have quite a time when he gets to school, especially if CD is helping with homework, sorting out the spelling issues and such. I expect the accent is going to be the least of his troubles.

16 January 2006

yogurt makes it better

yogurt makes it better
Originally uploaded by clumberkim.
It's been a trying afternoon. Oliver's school is closed for staff development and CD started working in his new office (but not here yet) today so we're home. Oliver is very tired since he slept half an hour at school this morning, fought with me for over an hour before sleeping for another half hour. Not enough sleep for a little one, by a long long way.

The only thing that made things better was some yummy banana yogurt. Well, that and downloading some new music with the iTunes card Santa put in my stocking. Music. For Oliver....yes, all my iTunes purchases are for Oliver lately. Today we picked up Ralph's World. We especially liked the Winnie-The-Pooh/The Tigger Song medley and Take a Little Nap (though Oliver could not bring himself to follow that advice).

15 January 2006

suddenly standing

Originally uploaded by clumberkim.
Oliver is showing off his new standing skills in this photo. He has started pulling up more and more, and is even doing a pseudo-cruise from holding on to me over to the sofa. I'm in no rush to have him walking but I have to admit this is pretty cool. The improvements in his balance have happened nearly overnight.

[I'm posting pics on Flickr now. Clicking on the photo will take you to a Flickr page for that photo. Let me know what you think!]

12 January 2006

checking it twice

It's time to rate the mail order companies I used for my very very hurried holiday shopping. There were some outstanding performances, some predictably reliable ones, and one company that utterly dropped the ball.

First, the stars. Amazon and LL Bean were lightening fast. Amazon delivered one item less than 24 hours after I placed the order and I had not requested or paid for express delivery. LL Bean delivered a personalized item less than 72 hours after the order was placed. Neither vendor delivered anything late or wrong.

In the "predictably reliable category" are Drugstore.com, Hanna Andersson, Crate & Barrel. Netflix gets a minor ding for their e-mail landing in my friend's spam folder but I chalk that up to AOhell more than Netflix. At least they warned me this could happen and gave me the chance to print out a certificate that could be mailed.

At the other end of the spectrum, FAO Schwarz and their shipping company, DHL, suck ass. I ordered an item to be shipped to my sister in Maine. It took them five days to get the item to the shipper. DHL got it moving quickly and when it was in Providence, RI on Dec 21 I thought we were in good shape. HA!!! If the tracking info is to believed, it sat in Providence until Dec 27. My sister didn't receive it until the 29th or 30th, since DHL hands it off to the postal service and they take another day to get it to its final destination. I e-mailed both DHL and FAO Schwarz asking for an explanation. DHL responded with a canned answer about taking the 26th as a holiday. FAO Schwarz didn't respond at all. It's no wonder they are in bankruptcy. They will not be seeing any more of my business.

Finally, in the "strange but true" category, there's Planet Dog. They are a great company so I think what I experienced is probably attributable to untrained holiday help. I called them to order a gift certificate because one cannot do that on their website (strike one). The person I spoke with clearly did not have a great grasp of how to do this. She nearly let me go without ever asking for my credit card number. Despite spelling the dogs' names and their human's name, the certificate arrived with nearly all the names misspelled (strike two). The truly bizarre thing is that they charged me an additional .37 for the stamp! I don't recall ever being asked to pay postage for a gift certificate from any company (strike three!).

11 January 2006

in and out - the 9 month update

Oliver is nine months old today. He's been "out" almost as long as he was "in". I can unequivocally say that the first nine months went by much more slowly than the last nine. Part of that has to do with finding out I was pregnant when I was less than two weeks along. That made for a very long nine months.

I think I've covered his new skills in some very recent posts so I won't re-hash all that. Suffice it to say he's doing new things every day and continuing to amaze his parents.

At Oliver's well-baby visit today the doc pronounced him perfect. I didn't mind his little exaggeration at all, though I don't think Oliver will qualify as perfect in my eyes until he's sleeping through the night. I was a little concerned that his weight is still well ahead of his length in percentile terms but doc said to forget about it and I intend to follow that advice.

09 January 2006

still standing

It is full day number 8 without CD, but we're holding up okay. I think he will be surprised to discover how much he has missed. Oliver is now pulling up on me (though not yet on things) and has even "cruised" from me over to the sofa. He's very pleased with himself.

All of this mobility is leading to more falling and bumping of his head. Nothing major yet, but we've had a few tense moments. I'm trying the approach of telling him he's fine and laughing about it while I comfort him. Thus far, it is working well and he's bouncing back quickly.

We had two video chats with CD over the weekend. CD's new employer is keeping him well occupied during the day and the timezone problem is such that one of us tends to be sleeping when the other is available to chat during the week. The technology worked well though and Oliver seemed to be catching on, once he stopped trying to look behind my laptop screen. Enlarging the window helped a lot. I left a still image of CD waving on my screen and Oliver wanted to look at it many times after our chat was over.

08 January 2006


Penguin is a little obsessed with Oliver. She wishes I would let her lick him, head to toe, many times a day. She tries the "fly by" lick to his head when she thinks I am not paying attention. She also tries to protect Oliver from Piper, the upstart who must be monitored by Pen, busybody and occasional tattletale. Finally, she tolerates Oliver's grabbiness. We are making every effort to teach him to be GENTLE, with both dogs and other humans, but it's slow going and I am not seeing any progress yet, just a few scars.

07 January 2006

sometimes, we scream

It seems we have a bit of teething going on. At least that is my best guess. I can't see any new teeth but we've got copious drool and a fair bit of general unhappiness. Oliver woke up this morning at 4:30, 5:00, 5:30, 6:00 and we finally gave up on trying to sleep at 6:15. He took three 30 minute naps. And since he went to bed at 6:15pm tonight, he has been up and screaming every 45 minutes. I hope he starts feeling better soon, for both our sakes.

06 January 2006

stuff we love, volume 7

You can't buy this off the shelf but I absolutely LOVE my Subaru's heated seats. I feel a little guilty that the baby barcalounger doesn't have 'em. On a cold morning, not much makes me happier, other than not having to get out of bed at all. (Yes, I am obsessed with my lack of sleep. I've been up since 4:30am.) If we ever get a vehicle the entire family will fit in (that means all three dogs and all three humans) it really needs to have heated seats, and preferably a switch I can't accidentally bump to "on" in August. A previous Subaru had that unfortunate feature.

What's the opposite of "hot enough to boil a monkey's bum"? That's the weather we're having right now. If I had been more awake this morning I would have grabbed the camera when the thermometer read "21". 34 feels like a heat wave.

is there anything cuter?

Though the bar on cuteness has clearly been raised, there really isn't anything more adorable than baby feet. Oliver's feet rarely stop moving long enough to get a decent picture. I had the able assistance of his high chair, not to mention a spoonful of oatmeal, to get this shot.

For another blog with occasional photos like this (generally better ones) check out Odin. His Serioso photos are also great, and darn near as cute as the feet.

The New York Times recently ran an article entitled The Cute Factor, if you want to learn more about why humans are such suckers.

05 January 2006

by request: more

Chewy sleeps too. A lot. More like all the time. Except when he is eating. Or barking to tell me to feed him. Even if he just ate half an hour ago. It's hell to get old.

Penguin, on the other hand, is the household busybody. In Pittsburgh-ese, she would be referred to as being "nebby". This photo is seconds before she planted a kiss on Oliver's cheek, followed by his usual silly giggle. No, it's not the most hygenic of acts but since we manage to keep the kid out of the dog toys and mostly keep the dogs out of the kid toys, we're satisfied.

by request: piper

I have been chastised for not including enough shots of the dogs. Here's Piper, doing one of the things Clumbers do best. The kid isn't the only one caught by the new camera.

03 January 2006

now with even more screamy goodness

Following Sunday night's fun-filled scream-fest, last night wasn't much better. 2:30-4am was especially screamy.

Here's the thing....CD is traveling and he's been the one to soothe Oliver back to sleep in the middle of the night since just before Christmas. It was working pretty well, from my perspective anyway. I was still waking up, but not getting vertical, between 11pm and 5am. A huge improvement over my sleep habits for the preceeding 10 months (last two months of pregnancy is when things went to hell in the sleep department).

With the scratchy beard away, Oliver is seeing me, aka 'the one with the boobs', upon waking in the middle of the night. He doesn't understand why the milk bar isn't opening for business.

Anybody have some little toothpicks to prop my eyelids open?

01 January 2006

fluffy the second

Oliver's dad had a beloved stuffed St Bernard toy, purchased in Switzerland and known as "Fluffy", when he was a child. His sister tells me she gave Fluffy presents at Christmas so he really was part of the family.

Oliver's visiting granny had a holiday in Switzerland last year and found a small version of same for Oliver. He enjoys playing with it while on his changing table. This involves some chewing on the brandy barrel. Alas, the barrel is solid wood. After spending over an hour trying to get Oliver to sleep tonight I was wishing the barrel was full and I could slip him a little. Darn, there he is, awake again after sleeping a mere 90 minutes....

Back to Fluffy...I think after the Fluffy created by J K Rowling, we may have to come up with another name for the St Bernard toy. Suggestions?

[midnight update: Oliver has been up every 45 minutes and has now screamed for the last hour. None of the usual ways to get him to sleep are working. Screw the dog's brandy barrel. Pass me the bottle.]