31 January 2008

Even better

I admit it. I have once again been proven wrong. I thought my old espresso machine could not be replaced, let alone surpassed. The new one is getting a lot of use, much more than the old one. After nearly four decaffeinated years, I am soooo looking forward to what this baby can do with high-test.

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30 January 2008

if you just can't get enough...

of the Disney photos, CD has more up on our family site. My flickr set is here. I'm still adding tags and labels.

Not likely to be repeated

I may have it bronzed.

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Snowman Wednesday

It may be 25 degrees and windy but yesterday's rain meant the end of our snowman. Even the carrot is gone.

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29 January 2008

Snowman Tuesday

Warmer temperatures and rain are taking their toll on the snowman.

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Snowman Sunday

CD and Oliver constructed some sort of snowbeast. I believe a large bucket played a role.

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28 January 2008

matching portraits

We had Oliver's portrait done two years ago while staying at the Beach Club. He was nine months old. We were fortunate to find the same artist at the Beach Club last week. It is not framed yet but I am very pleased with Eleanor's nine month portrait.

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27 January 2008

This is not an indication of her future career, we hope. One of those present did suggest letting roll around on the zebra in just a diaper but I declined.

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26 January 2008

New 'do, courtesy of Bubba

Bubba now washes Penguin's face.

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25 January 2008

FFF - cheek to cheek

As with my 40th birthday, CD and I had dinner at the California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort on January 23. It has a number of things going for it, most notably the food and the fireworks. It's helpful to check the hours at the Magic Kingdom before making a reservation. Ideally you want to be seated before the fireworks begin so you can take your glass of wine and someone to keep you warm on a cool evening out to the observation deck to see the show. We stayed inside two years ago but there's a good amount of glare from the windows. Not so this year. As we finished our entrees we ordered dessert and headed outside. We were not disappointed. The fireworks were amazing and coming from Pittsburgh, where Zambelli fireworks shows could easily leave us jaded, we know our fireworks.

But this isn't fireworks Friday, so back to the food. After being swiftly seated at the same table we had two years ago (we did not request it), we started with some lovely sashimi. The salmon and tuna were exceptional. We chose braised veal cheeks for our main course. Oh.My. I had heard cheeks were worth a try and my sources were not kidding. I like most anything that can be put on top of mashed potatoes but from now on, not much is going to compare.

On our way to the fireworks we let our server know we wanted the chocolate-orange lava cake, which is made to order and takes 20 minutes. Our timing was perfect, as it was waiting for us when we returned. Chocolate and orange is one of my favorite flavor combinations so they would have had to really screw it up for me to not like it. It was a great ending to a really nice meal.

The only problem with the California Grill is the noise. It's a huge room with an open kitchen. There are always a few kids there, up too late and in a place that isn't overly kid-friendly. While I don't think kids should be banned, it would be nice if parents could think before they make late reservations. California Grill is great, but if the only reservation you can get is 8pm and your kids are under five, go somewhere else or call the fairy godmother or one of the other in-room babysitting services. It's good, but not worth making your kid(s), yourself, and your fellow diners miserable.

breakfast with friends

breakfast with friends
Originally uploaded by clumberkim
Oliver and Eleanor enjoyed our last morning at WDW by having breakfast with characters dressed in beachwear.

24 January 2008

Plum tuckered out

Naptime today, after two spins on Tomorrowland Indy Speedway. He took

one more before the day was done.

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21 January 2008

Post box love

The family post box obsession continues unabated.

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19 January 2008

calgon take me away

I'm still packing, still doing dishes, still looking for my mind. I know I over-packed and I know I forgot something important. Hopefully Mickey can hook me up with whatever we need. Leaving at 0-dark-thirty. See you real soon!

18 January 2008

the impossible dream

Oliver's teachers have the uncanny ability to get him to wear a hat. Better women than I am, obviously.

I'm testing out the whole blogging-from-cellphone thing using Utterz. Seems to work. That will make it easier to post next week from Disneyworld. Up-to-the-minute updates...try to contain your excitement.

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17 January 2008

just under the wire

I was about to close up the laptop and go to bed. It was 11:35 when it hit me...I had not uploaded a new photo or blogged today.

So, just a few random updates, apropos of pretty much nothing:

Love this Josh Jakus egg flat. Love it more since it's a "second" and therefore cheaper. I guess the seams aren't supposed to be there. Don't tell anyone, okay?

Eleanor had her 9 month checkup. Like Oliver, the doc pronounced her "perfect". All 23 pounds of her. He did say eight was too many teeth. I am going to assume he was kidding.

I used to like Don's Appliances. Not anymore. My steamer is still not fixed and they seem to be having procurement problems with regard to parts. It should be fixed the first business day after we get back from vacation but I am not holding my breath. So glad I bought the extended warranty so I get to do business with them for years to come.

House is going to auction on March 8. Cross your fingers the reserve is met and we can bid old house farewell.

Gearing up for Disney...trying to find clothes that fit the kids and will work for the range of weather that's predicted. Mostly rain.

New York trip is on thin ice. More later but it's looking like a bust. I seem to have problems every other year, but this year is nothing like 2006. Wait a second. I have problems with New York every year. But I keep going back, mostly for the food.

MacBook is back. Woohoo! But it has a cracked case. Boo! It's upgraded to Leopard and all that good stuff! Woohoo! Will probably have to go back to Alabama for a while. Boo!

So there it is. A blog entry. Right on time.

16 January 2008

new perch

We added a MeToo chair from Phil & Ted's to our booster/highchair/travel seat repertoire. Eleanor took it for a spin today and entirely approves. This will put her in the middle of the action in the kitchen.
I am hoping it will be useful during our visit to The Mouse too.

15 January 2008

all in the timing

I was ecstatic to learn PBS was going on a Jane Austen bender this year. I have been known to do that myself, once or twice. My first experience with Jane began the summer after graduating college. It was 1988, I was outside of Philadelphia starting my first real job, and it was hotter than hell. I also did not have a TV. One can only listen to so much NPR, even during an election year, so I decided Jane and I should become better acquainted. Over the next few months I read all six novels and the published unfinished bits. If memory serves, I read the last book as slowly as possible. I didn't want it to end.

The screen adaptations I have seen are of mixed quality, I know, but I get sucked in by a good story every time. Some of the ones PBS is airing I haven't seen previously, such as Persuasion which aired last Sunday night. I geared up for it all day, resisting the urge to grab the book. In a rare moment of boldness, though I warned CD earlier in the day that we had a date with Jane, I possessed the remote control at 9pm and changed the channel to PBS. Generally, the remote is out of my reach and I am rarely consulted when it comes to our viewing choices. It is the one little bonus I get when CD travels. But I digress.

So there I was at 9pm, remote in one hand, lovely decaf espresso in the other, sucked in to yet another great story. I was surprised how much of Persuasion came back to me, though I know I have not read it in fifteen years and it's probably the one Austen novel I have read only twice. All was well until 10:15, just as Anne Elliot is running through the streets of Bath. It's is the climax of the story and I found myself getting slightly out of breath right along with Anne. (Upon reflection, the chicken-with-her-head-cut-off method of tying up the loose ends was really quite silly, but I didn't care at the time.) Then it happened. I heard screaming from upstairs. Eleanor was awake and howling, and she was not going to solve this problem on her own.

Off to nurse I went, thinking the whole time about just thawing some milk from the freezer (would have taken too long), or possibly weaning her that very second (oh, the guilt). She finished right on cue at 10:35 and was back to sleep. Persuasion was over and I was pissed. The night did not improve as Eleanor was up every three hours until morning.

On Monday, after poking around on iTunes and the PBS website, and coming up empty, I searched YouTube. Found little bits of video but nothing satisfying. I checked the schedule, only to find that Persuasion would air again at 2am and 4am Tuesday. I thought, "Yeah, that's do-able. I'll no doubt be up at either 3:15 or 5:15 to see "the moment". No problem." But I was exhausted from the night before so I really hoped to sleep through both airings.

The Jane Austen gods were either for me or against me, it's hard to tell which. Eleanor was again up frequently in the night, though not at 3am. No, it was Penguin this time, proving my theory that she is allergic to eggs as well as chicken, waking me up at 5am with diarrhea. After she went outside, and I completed the requisite post-poo cleanup of her furry white backend, it was 5:13am. I took Penguin upstairs to our bedroom and looked at my pillow for just half a second before going back downstairs and turning on the tv. I am still exhausted but it was worth the 15 minutes of sleep I sacrificed.

I have a small issue coming up this Sunday. I won't be at home. We will be on vacation, in the happiest place on earth. Fortunately, they have tv there too. Northanger Abbey is probably my least favorite of the novels but I have never seen a movie adaptation so maybe I will like it better. A larger problem comes in February, when Pride and Prejudice begins. See, I have a bit of a "thing" for Colin Firth. Even perfectly miserable movies are made tolerable by Colin Firth. And when he's in a good one, oh my. Guilty as charged...I'm a complete sap. So in February, the first night of Pride and Prejudice, I'll probably be in New York for my favorite little garden party.

No, we still don't have TiVO.

14 January 2008

toddler rules

Remind you of anyone? Okay, maybe not all of them, but still....

13 January 2008


The photo is really nothing without the sound effects.

12 January 2008

so glad to see you

Hello everybody, so glad to see you...all the Music Together veterans out there will now have a little flashback. Oliver and I attended our first Music Together session today. Or, as Oliver calls it, "moo-sic" together. He had a great time, though it does get close to lunch time so holding his attention the last 10 minutes is a bit of a challenge. I heard a lot of, "Lunch, Mama. Lunch and nap!" towards the end. We may have to go a little early next week and grab a snack nearby. He had no trouble spotting the local Starbucks.

Oddly enough, there was only one name repeated in the class. There are two Olivers! The other one is 10 months old and very cute. Oliver didn't quite know what to make of all that. Later today I happened upon BabyCenter's top 100 names for 2007 and there it was, right at number 100, Oliver. It's been very popular in England (fourth most popular name for boys in 2006), as we learned first hand during our trip to the UK late in 2006. Mums everywhere yelling, "Olivah! Olivah!" I nearly got whiplash when we went to London Zoo.

11 January 2008

a proud moment of parenthood

After weeks, no, months, of Oliver showing no interest in trying the potty, we have had a breakthrough.

Last spring, we had a couple of good efforts and one rousing success with the potty. That was followed by some sort of incident at school and since then we have not been able to get Oliver to sit on the potty without wearing pants and a diaper. A few weeks back I showed him a potty chair on my laptop (or as he calls it, the "cooter"). I asked him if he liked any of the colors and he pointed to the red one. I found it on sale earlier this week and ordered. It arrived today.

Oliver helped me take it out of the box. We put it in the living room and he promptly sat down, fully clothed, and watched part of a movie until dinner was ready. After dinner we all went in to watch the end of the movie. I mentioned that taking off his pants and diaper would be a good idea. He seemed to disagree so I gave it a couple of minutes, then just took them off. He sat back down until the movie was done.

While I started getting Eleanor ready for bed, CD brought the potty chair and Oliver upstairs to his bathroom. He also got one of Oliver's potty books. Oliver sat down again and they read the book together. When CD passed me on the way to get the other potty book I suggested turning on the water tap. They read the second book together and at some point during that time Oliver peed AND pooped in the potty. He has pooped about this time each night all week so our timing definitely helped make this a success.

I made a big deal of how proud I was, and gave him a sticker to put on the potty chair. He was beaming with pride. CD then suggested he wear underpants until it was time to get ready for bed. It was the first time we put the underpants on him and he was thrilled. This was a difficult photo to get because he could not stop dancing around his room.

hooray for underpants!

excuses, excuses

I was told today by a regular reader who NEVER EVER comments that my blog has been lame of late. She didn't say lame. It was something along the lines of feeble, or weak, or something. So to pay her back, I publish this photo of her in a fairly unflattering pose. You're welcome.

I don't disagree that our lameness quotient has been increased recently. Here's why:

My laptop is away and I am learning just how attached I am to mr.macbook
Since my laptop is away, I can send photos from my iPhone to Flickr but not download any from my good camera
I'm working on a second blog

There, that last one, I said it out loud so it must be real. Stay tuned....

And one last note...Fabulous Food Friday is taking a break this week. I didn't eat anything interesting this week. Made some nice cornbread for dinner tonight but meh, not worth expounding upon.

sorry to disappoint

If you're looking for the "it's been one year since..." post, you won't be finding one here. Really. Run along.

10 January 2008

fostering, day 6

Bubba continues to settle in with us. Such a sweet, sweet boy. Though our breed rescue group is going to look for a new home for him, if the right one isn't found we have decided he can stay with us. We continue to tell Oliver that he's "just visiting", as much to remind ourselves as him. He's a very easy dog to love.

09 January 2008

the dora coma

This is Oliver, watching Dora the Explorer for the first time. I don't think he had any idea I was four feet away, taking his picture. I'm not sure introducing Dora was such a good idea, but it can't be any worse than his other new discovery, Max & Ruby.

Shirt from Tiny Sprouts. Their stuff is really amazing...great embroidery on quality garments and other items. (And they didn't pay me to say that. I'm merely a happy customer.)

I'm getting really tired of trying to take good photos with iPhone. When my laptop comes back, I'll go back to shooting with my other camera. While we're talking about the laptop, I was unable to convince Apple that the screen flicker started a full six months before the lcd cracked, so I had them send it back untouched. Some other guys are going to fix it for a whole lot less $$$, but it's going to take a few more days.

08 January 2008


Oliver asks that we share with him the piglets Aunt Suzy sent for CD, one of his favorite treats from across the pond. Yummy.

07 January 2008

son-day, featuring April in January

Son-day on Monday, and for no good reason except that I spent Sunday in my garage, sorting worms from worm poop. Many, many hours of sorting worms from poop. No, there are no pictures. At least it wasn't too cold, though it was rainy.

Today it was crazy warm, like open the sunroof warm, in the mid-60s. I'm from Maine and that's just plain wrong in January. Still, now that I have children I get over the wrong-ness and play outside instead. Oliver wanted to play golf. Then baseball. Then football. Who was I to argue?

06 January 2008

feels like home

Bubba is more settled today, after a couple of regular meals and lots of attention. He gave us a rough night though. We learned he really doesn't like the crate. After some barking we decided to try leaving him free on the first floor. He paced in front of the stairs. Toenails on hardwood .... I finally gave in and went to the living room couch around 2am. He immediately laid down beside me on the floor and went to sleep. A few minutes later Eleanor woke up so I went upstairs to feed her. When I returned, Bubba was still asleep and had not moved. I'm optimistic that he is settled enough to sleep by himself in the living room tonight. Cross your paws!

05 January 2008

a new man in our lives

This is Bubba. He is eleven and a half. We will be fostering him for a little while.

The name does not seem to suit him at all, and only once has he answered to it. He's small for a Clumber male, and sweet as can be.

Though I explained to Oliver, many times today, that Bubba is visiting us until a new home can be found, he's already part of the family in Oliver's mind. Tonight when we were cuddling after reading bedtime stories Bubba was added to his list of who is in his "flam-ly". Bubba was in our home less than two hours before Oliver went to bed but is clearly one of us already.

04 January 2008

FFF - holy cannoli

So it wasn't exactly a religious experience but I did have a damn fine cannoli this week. CD and I are trying to go out a little more, as in by ourselves, no one under 3 feet tall allowed. Dinner and a movie is our standard date fare but last night we went to the Phipps Conservatory to see the Chihuly exhibit at night, then dinner. [If you find yourself anywhere near Pittsburgh before the exhibit closes in February you really should check it out. It's amazing in the day time but truly spectacular at night.]

We had planned to check out Legume, a new bistro not far from home, but there were taking a few days off after New Year's. I remembered having a great lunch at Pizzuti a while back and since CD likes Italian food, it seemed like a good choice. At my earlier visit the place was nearly empty and the service was outstanding. The mushroom soup was memorable. The mushroom soup is still memorable but if the room is full, the service goes in the tank. One waiter for six tables, two with six diners, was too much for the poor guy to handle. You could see he was trying to maintain a high level of service and wasn't letting anything slide to speed things up.

But really, back to the cannoli. There was the usual crisp shell and mascarpone filling but there was also cinnamon and chocolate and caramel. And mysteriously, a dot or two of raspberry sauce meant for the chocolate cake, but never mind. The cinnamon-chocolate-caramel-mascarpone-y goodness made for a delightful dessert. Two on the plate made it perfect for sharing. It was starting to look like one of us, or maybe both of us, was trying to figure out how to discreetly lick the plate clean.

I'll be back, Pizzuti, but only if I see the room is half full, or that there is an increase in the number of waitstaff.


This the fourth and last photo in a series of Eleanor crawling from her room to the hallway. She was obviously proud of her achievement.

Time to locate the portable baby gate.

Check out the haircut too!

03 January 2008

will I fit in the toy box?

Eleanor tipped a toy box on its side this morning, then tried to crawl in! All this sudden mobility has gone to her head.

This is one of the last photos before I had her hair cut for the first time. Mostly just the bangs, with some slightly angling on the side. The "wings" are mostly intact. There was a bit of a "posh spice" thing happening. Short in back, long in front. Yet another effort to be different from Oliver. His first cut was the result of my not being able to handle his mullet.

She was great during the haircut. Not so much as a wimper, unlike her big brother who howled through his first time in the chair.

Photos tomorrow. I figured out how to get photos from iPhone to flickr without any intervening technology. No such luck with my actual camera. I will have to figure out making it talk to the PowerBook G3 tomorrow.

just under the wire

You'll see by the timestamp that on day 3 of blog365 we're already cutting things mighty close. I have a good excuse though. No, the dog didn't eat my homework. DHL ate my laptop. To be fair, I called them. See, mr macbook had a little problem with screen flicker, oh, last fall sometime. It didn't get any worse but it didn't get better either. The local genius said it had to take a trip to Memphis for r&r. I couldn't bear to part with him. Then the lcd got a crack. I suspect Oliver but there are no witnesses who are talking. So today, I finally put mr macbook in the box I've had sitting under the side table in my living room for three months and gave him to the DHL driver. He didn't quite have to pry it from my cold, dead hands but the hands? They were very cold and holding on with a decidedly deathly grip.

So here I sit, typing on a PowerBook G3, with a, wait for it, wired connection. My typing is only slightly better here than on my iPhone. It's going to be an ugly few days. And there's probably not enough chocolate in the world to get me through it. (There was, however, a lovely cannoli that gave its best effort...more about that tomorrow.)

Now I have to figure out how to get pictures from iPhone to Flickr without any intervening technology. And maybe sleep. Yeah. Sleep would be good.

02 January 2008

splish splash wean

I had not intended to lead off all this 365 stuff with two pictures of Eleanor but that is how it has turned out.

She really enjoys bathtime now, after months of finding it perfectly miserable. The toys helped. Better splashing with toys than just hands.

In other news, my trip this weekend has been canceled. It would have been fun, but also hard at times and probably exhausting. I'm feeling pretty mixed about not going. I was looking forward to a change of scene but I also know that hotel rooms with babies are a challenge.

I guess what I am really looking forward to is being able to travel without a child, to having my body back, to less dependency. That means weaning. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't look forward to that day, and then immediately feel horribly guilty for letting those kinds of thoughts into my head. As with Oliver, weaning will be on Eleanor's schedule. I have no intention on introducing formula at this stage of the game. I do think she is not going to move towards weaning as quickly as Oliver did. She has had Mum all to herself, no bottles at daycare. She gets worried about strangers sometimes. Sometimes only Mum can solve whatever problem she is having. Oliver learned early that comfort could come from a variety of sources.

Since we started trying to get pregnant the first time, around May of 2004, my body has not been my own, with the exception of May of 2006. The rest of the time I have been either trying to get pregnant, pregnant, or nursing. 31 months and counting, if my math is correct. I get envious of CD when he has business trips. It's not just having to handle kids on my own, it's knowing that he has a few hours in the day of complete flexibility. Yeah, he works like crazy when he's away, not unlike when he's at home, but he has time that is all his own.

It's probably a case of "the grass is always greener." Once Eleanor does wean I will miss that time and what we have shared, especially since I know she's the last baby.

01 January 2008


I joined project365 too. Glutton for punishment.