31 December 2006

the epistle

When I was a kid Christmas cards would arrive, often accompanied by what my parents referred to as "the epistle", a letter catching us up on all the news from the sender's little corner of the world.

It's been an eventful year at the threedogsandababy house so I thought it might be time for an epistle of our own. I didn't have the guts to send it though. For some odd reason, it seems perfectly fine to post it here.

This is my first attempt at a real, grown-up holiday letter so please be nice and don’t tell me that you put it into the recycling bin immediately after opening. It’s been a busy year and not everyone reads my blog. (Probably a good thing.) The most prevalent theme is CD’s travel. He made 11 trips this year. We will enjoy the frequent flyer miles and hotel rewards eventually but I hope he is able to cut back on his time away in 2007.

January: CD started his new job as Senior Software Engineer with Apple, working out of their Pittsburgh office but with a group based in Cupertino, CA. Penguin celebrated her 8th birthday.

February: Piper succumbed to an auto-immune problem at just 4 years of age. We are thankful she was ill for just a few days but miss her terribly. We created The Piper Fund for Post-mortem Research with the Clumber Spaniel Club of America in her memory, hoping to collect data that will lead to more investigation into Clumber health issues. It is going very well so far. Drop me an email if you’d like to purchase a 2007 calendar to benefit the Fund. The calendar is filled with photos of wonderful Clumbers and Piper herself graces the cover.

March: Nothing happened in March. Oh wait, we did go to Indiana for the Clumber national specialty, but I’m probably trying to block that week from my memory. It’s all kind of a blur since Oliver didn’t sleep much and I had the board and general meetings to attend to. CD shared the driving with me but spent the week in Dallas for IETF.

April: Oliver celebrated his first birthday, or rather, we celebrated surviving our first year as parents. Within weeks of his birthday he weaned, walked, and started sleeping through the night. It was a very good month.

May: CD had a work trip to Boston so Oliver and I went along, spending a few days with Kate in Spencer, MA and a day in Williamstown, before reuniting with CD and heading to Maine for Memorial Day weekend. Needless to say, walking and talking Oliver was a huge hit with the family.

June: Chewy celebrated his 12th birthday. He’s doing very well for his age. He sleeps a lot and doesn’t hear very much but still enjoys life, as long as his meals appear at the right time and he gets his tummy rubs.

July and August: CD traveled a lot, but was home long enough. Baby Daboo v2.0, the girl version, is expected to arrive in mid-April. I finally found out what CD was working on for Apple, thanks to Steve Jobs’ keynote at WWDC. Working at Apple is a little like working for an intelligence agency. Now that CD’s project is public and open source he can talk a bit about what he is doing without having to kill me.

September and October: CD got the news that he would not be asked to re-locate to Cupertino so I spent most of my time looking at houses. Real estate is fun! We found a house we like in a great location and closed on Halloween. Demolition on the kitchen, including began almost immediately. We are also gutting two, possibly three, bathrooms, removing windows, making other windows and doors larger, etc. Everything should be done by early March, just in time for me to be entirely worthless during the move. I will spend some of my maternity leave sending out change of address / baby announcement cards.

November: Leaving the house renovations in very good hands, we visited CD’s family in England. Oliver liked London Eye and the Zoo, but most of all he liked the bunnies that live with Uncle Jimmy, Aunt Sally, Caroline and Laura.

December: We are spending lots of time deciding on materials and fixtures for the new house. Our dear friend Jenni, who sang at our wedding, flew in from Omaha to help us with the decorating. All those off-white walls are overwhelming to me. Jenni is saving me from committing too many crimes of interior fashion. Alas, she had only 47 hours to accomplish the task. (Sounds like a bad reality show!) CD made trip number 11 just before Christmas, and nearly didn’t make it back in time to go to Maine for the holiday. I had not been there for Christmas since 1997. Other than the lack of snow, it was a great trip and Oliver had a wonderful time with all the relatives.

We hope all is well where you are and wish you all the best in 2007.

22 December 2006

like I just got screwed with my pants on

I have snippets of more interesting posts in process, but for now I'm just going to rant. My favorite airline strikes again, and in the words of Toby Ziegler, I feel "like I just got screwed with my pants on."

CD has spent this week in Cupertino, scheduled to get in late this evening. (Future rants: Once again, it sucks to be sick when CD is away. Petechiae makes me look like I got into a fight and lost.) Yesterday, we (and by "we" I mean CD) finally reached the conclusion that leaving at the o-dark-thirty tomorrow morning to drive to Tika's in Massachusetts was a bad idea, and bought plane tickets to Boston instead.

Now it gets fun....CD's flight is delayed, causing him to miss his connection. Everything is oversold so the gate agent tells him his only option is to go back to the ticket counter. He called me and I started exploring the options. They are all ugly. At this point it looks like he will get back to Pittsburgh around 11pm tomorrow, 7 hours after our flight to Boston is scheduled to leave. And even that requires him to change airports, from San Jose to San Francisco.

It remains to be seen if they will now refund our tickets to Boston. It seems like the right thing to do but that's an all too rare thing for my favorite airline.

Probably just as well. The family is only interested in seeing Oliver anyway.

UPDATE: Kudos to Orbitz for refunding all but $11.99 of the purchase price of our trip. And for not making me try to deal with the airline directly.

14 December 2006

so much for the glucose tolerance test

I really need this place to open in the neighborhood. I've been scooped by numerous other bloggers on this one, including a friend who referred to the flavors page as "cupcake porn". I think he's dead on. I know cupcakes are the new, well, something, thanks to Carrie Bradshaw's visit to Magnolia Bakery in 2000, so it's unusual for Pittsburgh to be so close to the start of a trend. We tend to hang out on the trailing edge, jumping on the bandwagon about the time the rest of the world is forgetting all about it. Lucky us.

They haven't announced an opening date yet. With any luck they will hold off until after my glucose tolerance test next month.


My new MacBook arrived yesterday. I'm probably the only person on the planet who willingly traded her MacBookPro for a MacBook, but the Pro was bigger, heavier, and hotter. It made me miss my 12" G4 PowerBook. The MacBook is as close as I could get to the size of the old PowerBook.

With all the baby weight I'm schlepping around (17 pounds as of this morning but doc says all is well), every ounce in my backpack matters. That it's black is just a bonus. I did have a white iBook once upon a time. It turned into the "crackle glaze" iBook. It seems Apple was painting whitish plastic to make it opaque and mine crackled. All the Apple reps who saw it claimed they'd never seen anything like it.

Oliver had no trouble with the transition to the new MacBook. As soon as I opened it last night he said, "Elmo Goo Goo?" Perhaps Santa will bring a matching video iPod....

12 December 2006

two words

"More cow" has been part of Oliver's vocabulary for a long time but there have not been a lot of other two word phrases, until now. He referred to his very chapped thumb as "boo boo" for many months. Suddenly this week it has become "boo boo thumb". Technically I guess that's three words, but you get the idea. Here are a few more favorites:

  • Mama sits (when he wants me to sit down with him, he also pats the spot he would like me to occupy)
  • ChewChew outside (when Chewy wants to be let out into the backyard - very useful when the babysitter doesn't notice him sitting by the door)
  • Mama cereal (this one was new today - I guess he's letting me know he knows it's not his cereal)
  • basketball game (guess what Oliver and CD did while I was shopping on Saturday?)
  • apple sauce (could be one word, I suppose)

There are more that I'm not remembering at the moment. He's in the midst of a real language explosion, beginning just before we left for England. He's visiting the Infant Language and Learning Lab Thursday. I may have to asked the PI about it, and what I can do to make the most of this interesting window of words.

11 December 2006


I didn't think it was possible, but I was out-shopped over the weekend by my friend JT. She flew in from Omaha to help me with some decorating decisions for the new house and ended up running circles around me. There are a few regular readers who have been shopping with me and know this is not an easy task. I don't usually give up unless I am out of money and sometimes not even then. I wanted to go home and she kept pushing me to look at one more rug, one more paint sample.

It was exhausting, but incredibly productive. For the kitchen, we chose the countertop, slate tile backsplash, pendant lights, and paint. We also selected paint for the dining and living rooms, and rugs for both rooms. Moving upstairs, we found linens, paint, and rugs for the master bedroom, and countertop, tile, and paint for the master bath.

My recommendation is NOT to look at lighting on the web. Too many choices. Between Thursday and Saturday I looked at something close to 1000 pendant lights and chandeliers. I think there were three or four that I liked.

There's still a ton left to do but we made a very good start, and CD didn't gag over any of the choices.

07 December 2006

happy happy happy

It's not at all difficult to make me happy. Three Four Five things that made me happy in the last 24 hours are, in chronological order:

a massage - I still feel like I'm a hundred years old but it was nice to relax for half an hour.

ordering beautiful christmas cards in an utterly painless fashion - I am really excited to send them out. It's always been a chore, except the year we had an artist paint the dogs and make cards for us.

a phone call at 7:30am from my dogs' groomer - She had a cancellation! Doesn't sound like much but when I called a few weeks ago the earliest appointments I could get were in January. Chewy is presently enjoying a day at the spa. He will be fluffy and clean soon.

discovering the Starbucks nearest my office will make a Mocha Valencia - It's not on the menu anymore but they are one of the few stores I have found who will make it. If you are a fan, be sure to email Starbucks and ask them to make it available more widely.

it's snowing! and sticking to the ground! - Again, not a big deal to most but I love the first snow. I'm tired of it by January but it's pretty right now.

8:20pm update: Okay, I think I might hate the snow already. The roads were icy when I went to fetch the dog (5 minute drive took nearly half an hour) and even worse when I went to fetch CD and Oliver (10 minute drive took 45 minutes). I slid sideways down two hills and lost count of how many accidents I saw. We had dinner with friends (just took way too long to get there) and by the time we headed home the roads were much better. Oliver likes Rose Tea Cafe. Yum. I love having a kid with an adventurous palette.

05 December 2006

the destruction continues

master bath
Demolition at the new house has moved upstairs to the bathrooms. It's a mess and I am very glad I don't have to live through it. Curiously, the master bath looks smaller now. Doesn't really make sense since the vanity, toilet and bathtub are gone. Shouldn't it look bigger?

Click the picture to go to Flickr and more photos taken this morning. The floor is down in the new kitchen, and the new opening for the sliding door is marked in pretty blue tape.

words of wisdom

This is brilliant. Everyone who knows a pregnant woman should read it. (Found via Blogging Baby.)

04 December 2006

alive and kicking

Despite not being able to feel this baby, she's doing fine and kicking away on my bladder, or so the ultrasound tech tells me. We had "the big ultrasound" today and all is well. Baby v2.0, the girl version, is the right size and all her parts seem to be in the right places. She's currently breech so the photos and video are a completely different look from Oliver's. And with luck, she will turn sufficiently in the right direction in time for delivery.

The jet lag has really kicked in and I can barely keep my eyes open. Coming home from the UK is always harder than going there. It didn't help that Oliver has forgotten how to fall asleep and suddenly does not want anything to do with blankets. He started sleeping poorly during the second half of our trip and it continues now that we are home. Last night I had to rock him for nearly an hour just to get 20 minutes of sleep before the cycle of rocking repeated. I am having a very hard time putting him down without waking him up, making me think the toddler bed plan, originally scheduled for January, may need to commence now. We were doing so well with sleep before the trip. We rocked for about a minute before Oliver started asking for his blanket and I could put him down in the crib still awake. He would chatter for a minute or two then drift off to sleep. Those days are apparently gone.

01 December 2006

p-p-p-pick up a peckish penguin

Peckish Penguins
I thought a day off after NaBloPoMo was probably in order, but then I started looking at photos from our visit to London Zoo yesterday and changed my mind.

The highlight for me, of course, was the penguins. By 2:15 they had all assembled next to their pool, looking for the keeper to appear with their meal. Unfortunately, the seagulls knew feeding time was coming too, though the keepers knew how to keep them from preventing our view of the penguins.

Oliver enjoyed the giraffes and lions too.