"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." ~ Benjamin Franklin

My Real Child Has Arrived

>> Thursday, March 31, 2005

Sometime yesteday the Perfect Baby Fairies came to my house and made the switch. I now have the baby I expected all along. The strong willed, stubborn, "I'll do it all in my own time" baby that I knew I was destined to have.

I'm used to her not wanting an afternoon nap. In fact, just a few minutes after I finished yesterday's post, she woke up. But I can't say that I have really ever had trouble getting her to go to bed at night. Until last night.

Maybe it had something to do with the green beans. They were not a hit.

Green Bean Face

Or maybe it was because she fell asleep in the middle of her bottle at 6:30 and I woke her up to finish it. Either way, bedtime was not fun. I read to her, I rocked her, I sang to her (which probably isn't a good idea). I finally ended up nursing her until she fell asleep. Score 1 for Brenna.

Then, for the first time in 3 months Brenna woke up in the middle of the night and cried. Well, screamed is probably more accurate. I have never seen Doug jump out of bed and move so fast.

It seems that Miss Brenna had rolled onto her tummy. Which she hates to do in bed. After a few minutes I didn't hear any calming down taking place. I had Doug bring her in to our room and I nursed her. Score 2 for Brenna.

Unfortunately that didn't knock her out. So I spent another hour rocking a screeching baby. She finally fell asleep, curled against my chest. And stayed asleep when I put her in bed. Score 1 for mommy.

I do have to admit that the sleepy cuddle was well worth listening to every scream. Man, they just melt your heart.


On Target and Brenna

>> Wednesday, March 30, 2005

I had to go to Target today. Even made the necessary list, to keep expenses down. Managed to avoid the Shop & Play. It made it all the way to check-out before I decided against it. I thought that maybe I could find it for less on eBay. (Nope. People have bid up to $27 for this item. It's only $20!!) I did, however, buy a box of Easter chocolates- 50% off. I should stay away from the clearance aisle. I had wandered in thinking that I might buy a few Easter things for next year. Almost caved on the Peeps stuff. And, oh! Such adorable little hats & bags. But I was drawn in to the chocolate & never looked back.

Except for the chocolate I stuck to my list. Frickin' amazing, I know. Especially since they have some really great gazebos and patio sets this year. Note to self: take Doug to Target.

And Brenna. She's rolling now. Yep, rolling all over. And still not napping. At least, not in her crib. She's exhausted, pulling on her ears, her eyebrows are red, and she screams if I put her in her crib. And now that she can roll...she sticks her feet through the slats. I read that when your child begins rolling around you should take out the bumper so they don't roll against it and suffocate. Personally, I'm more worried about her breaking her leg when she sticks it out and starts kicking. Anyway, I put her in the Aquarium Swing and PRESTO!, she's out. (This thing is great! Just another hand-me-down from my nephew.)

What do I do about this napping delimma? Soon she'll be too big for the swing... then what? I've tried letting her scream it out. And she screams...and screams...and screams. We don't have this problem at night. She goes to bed so well then.

Argh. I've things to do now that she is sleeping. I should get to it.


Warm Tortellini and Cherry Tomato Salad

I made this for Doug & I last night. He said that I should make it more often. And took the leftovers to work for lunch. I'm sure it tastes good cold, too.

From Cooking Light (Noone tell them that I share these! I think they want you to buy the magazines!)

Extravirgin olive oil and two kinds of vinegar make an easy, classic dressing for this pasta-and-vegetable salad. You can also try this with chicken or mushroom tortellini or cheese ravioli.

2 (9-ounce) packages fresh cheese tortellini
1 1/2 cups (1 1/2-inch-long) slices fresh asparagus (about 1 pound)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups trimmed arugula
1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
3/4 cup (3 ounces) pregrated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Add asparagus to pasta during last 2 minutes of cook time. Drain.
While pasta cooks, combine vinegars, oil, and pepper in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add pasta mixture, arugula, and remaining ingredients; toss to coat.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)

CALORIES 403(26% from fat); FAT 11.6g(sat 5.7g,mono 4.4g,poly 0.6g); PROTEIN 21.7g; CHOLESTEROL 50mg; CALCIUM 415mg; SODIUM 725mg; FIBER 7.9g; IRON 1.9mg; CARBOHYDRATE 52.4g

Notes: The only place I could find the arugula was in the organic veggies. Costly stuff. Can't wait for the Farmer's Market this summer. I used the DiGiorno pasta. And I made a half batch. Good stuff. Enjoy.


>> Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The edible yellow dress


Brenna Awake at the Alamo

The best thing about vacations is that other people are vacationing as well and if they want you to take a picture of them they reciprocate. So here we are in front of the Alamo- with Brenna awake!

At the Alamo


Lou Dobbs

All the other news stations were going on about Michael Jackson, so I ended up watching Lou Dobbs on CNN tonight. Personally I think the media should only do their reporting after the trial. I know that Lou rarely gets economic reporting right even though reporting on the economy has been his job for a number of years. I know that he's been on a rampage about the dangers of outsourcing 2% of all US jobs overseas. For comparison, 1% of all workers leave their jobs every week either voluntarily or involuntarily. I know that he's left of center on most issues, but hey, it's been a while since I've watched CNN, so I'll give him a chance.

I couldn't find a link, so this is from my Tivo, around 10:30pm: Lou's opening sentence after commercial break is "Tonight it is important to note that in this country we still do not have the same number of jobs that we had 5 years ago. Part of the reason is that we are exporting jobs and we are importing labor." He then continues on about the US Citizenship and Immigration Services approving 10,000 more H1 visas than the 65,000 that Congress allows.

I can't really nail him for a factual inaccuracy here. He doesn't specifically say that there are fewer jobs now than in 2001, but that is the tone for the rest of the segment. As you can see from the second sentence, Lou wants his viewers to assume that there are fewer jobs now. Let's examine why that is not true.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics archives month-by-month summaries here. Take a look at January 2001. It indicates that 135,999,000 people were employed then. Now, fast forward to February 2005. It says that 140,144,000 people were employed last month. According to my calculator, that means that 4,145,000 more people are employed now compared to 5 years ago. Yes Lou, we "still do not have the same number of jobs that we had 5 years ago." But do we really want to lose 4.1 million jobs in order to be at parity? I don't think so. A closer statement of fact would be that job growth didn't keep up with population growth (mostly from immigration) from 2000 to late 2003. Then, large gains were made so that job growth today is almost at parity with population growth.

Now, moving on to the (capital "O") Outsourcing. Lou has written and editorialized on outsourcing many times before. As TCS has pointed out, more jobs are created from foreign companies sending jobs to America than we send overseas. I used the excellent Dr. Thomas Sowell in my own rebuttal when Kerry was making the same statements last year. Dr. Sowell brings up the fact that 4.7 million jobs have been sent to America by foreign owned companies.

That's one aspect. The other is that outsourced labor is cheaper. Though it's sometimes only a short-term fact, long-term costs quite frequently end up being the same as it would have been keeping it in-house. That means that these companies can charge less for their products and services. That means $40/month gets you a cell phone (phone provided free of charge) with plenty of talk time. That means that computers are so cheep that "everyone" has one. That means that $100 will get you a complete outfit (shirt, shoes, socks, pants, watch and wallet) at Target, Walmart, Kmart, Kohls and the like. Sure it sucks when your job goes overseas. It's happened to a couple of people I know. The funny thing is that they found jobs quickly, paying them more money.

Let's recap, twice as many jobs are sent to America than we send overseas and Lou thinks it's a problem. The jobs sent are repetative and hard to fill here in the States so companies can usually charge less so you can have your cell phone connected to your ear 24/7. I want to ask Lou why he's spending so much energy on a "problem" that effects only 2% of all jobs. Why not spend time on something that would effect at least a double-digit amount?

Lastly, an H1 visa applicant must have a company willing to sponsor them before they are approved to work in the States. That means they already have a job. H1 visas are for high-tech jobs and for that reason has been separated from the rest of the visa program. US citizens competing against H1 visa holders and applicants must be highly educated and/or trained. Since there is such a small number (75,000 total) and it brings smart, educated people to the States, I don't know why Lou has a problem with it. If it were bringing former UN Peacekeepers from the Congo, then I would take more offense to this. But since the total numbers involved would be a rounding error on the jobs report, I'm not too worried about it. Yes, I say that even though I work in an industry that brings in plenty of H1 visa holders.


>> Monday, March 28, 2005

Brenna & Doug at the Buckhorn Museum


Response from IDPH

Some of you may remember my P.S. It's Free post from a couple of weeks ago.

Well, I received a response from the IDPH (Iowa Department of Public Health). Here it is, along with my comments to them:

Message Date: 3/15/2005 3:19:37 PM
Your Name: (last name removed), Jody
Your Message: I heard your newest radio commercial regarding the WIC program on WOW FM. I have sent a copy of this email to them as well.

The final line of the spot states "P.S. It's free".

As a taxpayer in the state of Iowa I am offended by that statement. WHile the program may be free to the recepients it is certainly not free for the taxpayers. And it is disrespectful to the taxpayers of you to make such statement.

Response Date: 3/17/2005 8:04:05 AM
IDPH Contact Name: Dobson, Brenda
IDPH Response: Thank you for your message. The National WIC Association is currently airing a WIC outreach campaign. They coordinated the development of the radio and other ads. One spot does close with the statement, P.S. It doesn't cost anything. This ad is targeted to potential clients of the program to let them know they can access the program at no charge.

Yes, the WIC Program is supported by taxpayers, including program participants. The program does save significant taxpayer money by connecting participants with health insurance and ongoing health care. One study reported that every dollar spent on WIC for a pregnant woman saves $3.00 in Medicaid costs in the first 12 months of the child's life -- and savings continue past the first birthday.

The Iowa WIC Program has no control over the ad placement and content. We will share your concern with the National WIC Association.

Ok, so I was wrong. It actually said "P.S. It doesn't cost anything." That doesn't really change the message, though, does it?

I still think that saying "it doesn't cost anything" is misleading. That kind of thought keeps people ignorant of how public services are actually provided. Why not tell people who use these services where they come from?

Now, granted, some people know. But many don't. And ads like this don't teach them any different.


Happy Easter!

>> Sunday, March 27, 2005

Well, it's been a few days since I've posted and I have lots of pictures to share from our trip. And I have many more things that require my attention. So I will share photos as the week progresses.

I give you this photo of Brenna in her Easter outfit, complete with bunny slippers. No basket, no egg hunt, no goodies. Yep, we're mean parents. :)

Brenna's First Easter


Happy Easter

>> Saturday, March 26, 2005

I just wanted to take a minute to wish all of our friends in bloggerland a Happy Easter. Jody, Doug & Brenna are traveling north. They will be pleased to arrive home to 50 degree weather...and predictions of 65 on Monday.

My family will be celebrating Easter at home alone, where we can do the least damage. All have some stage of a nasty virus that causes severe nasal & sinus congestion, earaches, swollen tonsils and a deep chest cough. So, because we love you all so much, we will remain quarantined on our property.

I imagine two little boys will be allowed to go outside to play with their golf clubs and to hunt for eggs in the yard. I will take some more sinus medication and sit on the sidelines!


Civilization...at last!

>> Thursday, March 24, 2005

We are in Dallas now. High speed internet! WooHoo!!

I though I would reply to all the nice comments from our last post in an actual post instead of just commenting...

Joe- I have lots more pictures to share. Be careful what you ask for!

Chevy Rose- we stayed in The Woodlands. We drove in some of that lovely rain. But, no, thunder storms don't bother me. Usually sleep like a baby through them. BTW, that is one large statue.

Jen- We've done that, too. Whatever keeps her happy.

Meritt- Yea! Then we will have done as requested and brought the nice weather back with us!

Jarod- the only armadillos I have seen have been squished on the road... I'll try to scoop you up one.

Mama Duck- Yep, the Katy Frwy sucked. I'm not much for traffic any more. I moved out of Mpls and now anything longer than a 20 minute drive makes me a bit antsy!

We begin our drive home tomorrow. We are planning a leisurely drive home as everything since we left has been very scheduled. I'm sure we'll be checking in, but if we don't I wish everyone a Happy Easter!


Stuck in traffic

>> Wednesday, March 23, 2005

We are on our way to pick up Doug's brother from work and are stuck in some insanely slow moving traffic. Road construction seems to be the main cause of it. Ugh! This was supposed to be a quick trip... I hope Brenna doesn't get too hungry any time soon. For the only food I have is in its original container... :)

But thank Verison for the ability to connect the laptop to the internet so I can check in on my blogger friends & read my email. (Doug's mom doesn't have internet & she's so far out in the backlands that the cell phone connection won't work)

Thanks to everyone for the teething suggestions. We've been using crushed ice in a washcloth. Seems to be working.

Tomorrow we head into Dallas for a couple of days with Doug's dad... Then home this weekend. I can't wait to be in my own bed again.

Oooh, yea, now we're moving! Bye ya'll!


It's 3am- what are you doing?

>> Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Myself, I am sitting, wide awake in a Houston hotel room. Well, thankfully, it's a suite so I'm not disturbing Doug or Brenna. One would assume that waking at 4:45 am yesterday and not getting to sleep until 10:45 pm I would be out cold right now. Yep, assumptions. You know what those get ya...

The lovely Brenna had a bad day yesterday. Those pesky teeth. Yep, I think both bottom teeth are coming in. My poor little girl cried more yesterday than she has in, well, ever. And she just looks at me wondering why I don't make it stop. She gnawed on my fingers quite a bit and I must say those little suckers are sharp!

I'll welcome any teething tips and tricks. Any item that works wonders? Also, any tips on how to keep her from biting when she's nursing? It hasn't happened yet... but I'm sure it will. Ooohhh, not looking forward to that.


Good Bye San Antonio

>> Monday, March 21, 2005

We head out of here this afternoon, east to Houston. This is a "suprise" stop on our trip. Not a bad thing, though, as we will be installing software for a new client.

Brenna and I visited Market Square yesterday morning. Lots of crap for sale. A few "diamonds in the rough." Brenna picked out a pretty yellow dress. I say picked out because I held up a pink one and the yellow and she decided to try to eat the yellow. So that's what we got. :)

After Doug finished at the convention we managed to pack a lot of "touristy stuff" in to our evening. (I am trying to load photos but the internet connection here and picasa don't seem to have a good working relationship)

Our first stop was the much acclamied Buckhorn Museum and Saloon. Interesting history. Lots of documents and such that you probably won't see anywhere else. Gunfighters, Bonnie & Clyde. Pretty cool. More stuffed, dead animals than I ever want to see at one time again. I'm joking... kind of. But they have almost everything you could ever want to see. I could have done without the 2 stuffed 15-foot-long rattlesnakes. Didn't really need to know that they could get that big. {{shudder}}

Next we strolled the Riverwalk to find a place for dinner. We ended up at Pat O'Brien's. The food was good and everyone was very nice. On a side note, I'm beginning to wonder if Brenna is an exceptionally beautiful baby. It seems like people have been going out of their way to tell us how pretty she is. Usually I will smile at a baby, or if confronted by one I will say something about it being cute. But I have never gone out of my way to tell people how beautiful their baby is. Seriously, people would come across rooms to tell us. Crazy. Anyway, back to the evening.

Since we were close we visited the Alamo again- this time with Brenna awake. :) Then we took a horse-drawn carriage ride. Our horse was George, our driver was Trey. I have a fondness for the romance of a carriage. Oops, there's my hearts and flowers side showing.

After a bit more strolling along the Riverwalk we decided to catch a trolley back to the hotel. It was way past someone's bedtime and she was getting a little anxious. As we were waiting for the trolley Brenna grabbed my finger and stuck it in her mouth.

And there, in her bottom gums, I felt the sharp little nubs of a tooth. {{sniff, sniff}} She'll be 5 months in just a few days. Man, I'm gonna miss her toothless grins. {{sniff, sniff}} Not only that, but she has learned that pushing with her feet causes motion. So she scoots backwards and in circles. She has also found her feet, those previously unknown things that have been ensconced in socks since she was born. So much new Brenna stuff in such a short time. It's exciting... and sad. {{sniff, sniff}}


San Antonio

>> Saturday, March 19, 2005

We had a bit of time after arriving in San Antonio yesterday to do a smidgen of sightseeing. Of course we had to visit the Alamo. I've heard many times that it is tiny. I wasn't prepared for just how tiny it is. Very cool, though.

Brenna sleeps in front of The Alamo

And now it is just after 6pm and I have put Brenna down for the evening- hopefully. She is exhausted from our excursions today.

We began our day by taking Daddy to the convention center. When we returned to the hotel I fed the Little Miss and she napped while I showered. Around 11:30, after another feeding, we left to explore the Riverwalk. It was a lovely day for exploring. Mid 70's and mostly sunny. The river still has tinges of green from St. Patrick's Day. The tour boats were busy and Brenna was wide-eyed and taking in everything as we walked. Everyone seems more friendly when you have a baby. They smile, make nice comments, lean down to make faces. We saw lots of ducks and squirrels, beautiful foliage and stone works, even a snake (the guide from one of the boats assured me- as she was showing it to her boat full of tourists- that it was harmless. Not that it made a difference... {{shudder}})

The convention center is accessible from the Riverwalk so we went to visit Doug for a little bit. Then back along the river to the hotel for another feeding.

We picked up Doug & his partner about 3:30 and went to Market Square for dinner at Mi Tierra Cafe. (My apologies. I was not informed of these plans so I didn't bring the camera. Bad mommy.) We had a Mariachi at our table for a song. Brenna was entranced. Lots for her to see there- pinatas, lots and lots of people, brightly colored things hanging from every available surface. Good Mexican food. I'm going to try to go back tomorrow before Doug finishes at the convention. I want to see the market itself.

Also coming up tomorrow- The Buckhorn Saloon and Museum. We're going to wait until Doug can join us and take a trolley ride there. Actually, we have to go. I'm afraid of what Mama Duck might do if we don't go! HeeHee


Here We Are!

>> Friday, March 18, 2005

Brenna in Texas

It is difficult to check in when you are driving for most of 2 days. But we have reached our destination of sunny San Antonio. Our hotel has WiFi so Brenna & I are ready to roll while Doug works.

This was our first long road trip since Brenna came along. She did wonderfully. Hardly any fussing. We borrowed my nephews' car DVD player & watched some Sesame Street & Baby Einstein. A life saver for sure. Or one of us would ride in back with her if she was awake. And we would stop every few hours to stretch our legs.

And what, you ask, brings Doug to work down here? He designed software, with his physician/partner, for patient education. LCDmd is currently being used for allergy and OB is in the works. And an allergy convention is underway. And we can't become insanely wealthy if he doesn't hawk his wares.

So, for the next few days, we are ensconced in a hotel. Then it's back up north to Dallas to visit Doug's family for a few days. Then on towards home.


It's all about the timing

>> Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Via Dr. Hogberg, with a thick helping of irony.

NY Times publisher gives himself a raise while the union employees are expected to give a pay cut.


P.S. It's Free! Oh really?

Yesterday I was listening to our local FM talk station and I heard a commercial that really bothered me. It was for WIC, a nutritional program for pregnant and post-partum women and chldren under 5.

The commercial was talking about the importance of good nutrition. OK, so far I'm with you. WIC has specific foods you can get, you can't just buy any old thing. Unlike food stamps... which aren't really "stamps" anymore as they give recipients a "credit card" so they won't be embarassed when they use it. But that is completely another subject.

What bothered me was the very last line of the commercial: "P.S. It's free." Hmmm, really? Are you sure about that? I think our taxes go to pay for that program. Sooo, yes, if you qualify for WIC it probably is free because you are probably not paying in to the state taxes. But I find the commercial to be very misleading and, frankly, I feel like it may contribute to the problems with our welfare system.

I'm not saying that I don't agree with having a system in place to help those who are less fortunate. What I am saying is that telling people the programs are "free" is the wrong message to send.

It is no wonder so many people feel as if society "owes" them. Our government seems to believe it...


Busy Geekend

>> Monday, March 14, 2005

Yep, we Geeks had a very hectic weekend. Saturday Doug had to go in to work for a bit and I had to run to the mall to buy some new nursing bras. I have managed to go down a size. I am now an "F". Yep, down to an "F". Terrifying, I know.

Saturday night we had our monthly "family game night". My sister & her husband provided the pizza, my brother & his girlfriend the snackies and Doug & I brought the games. We took Outrage!, a game we picked up at the Tower of London. Everyone who plays it becomes addicted. Stealing the Crown Jewels is fun!

Sunday we had breakfast with Doug's grandmother. She calls Brenna Breena. It's kind of funny. We will nonchalantly correct her but it never quite catches. We will obviously correct her. Nothin'. *sigh*

And our afternoon was spent in preparation for our trip. So much yet to do... UGH!

Today I spent 4 hours in a continuing education class. Not overly exciting. Brenna stayed with Aunt Jenni again. Almost 5 hours. I heard that she took a one and a half hour nap. WooHoo! But she was ready for mommy to come back. Once back in mommy's arms she was happy again. Sometimes only mommy can make it right.


Common Sense

>> Sunday, March 13, 2005

This article from Tech Central Station reminds us that good ole common sense is usually right.


Yea! Hockey!

>> Saturday, March 12, 2005

Bad mom that I am, I forgot to take the camera along last night. (Insert sighs of regret here.)

We began our evening at the Royal Mile, a British style pub in downtown Des Moines. They have recently remodeled the second level and added a second pub space. I must say that it is beautiful. Very well done. Stained glass and cathedral-style doors. Dimly lit. A perfect place to enjoy a pint. And, very thoughtfully, that area doesn't "open" until 9pm as it is adjacent to the dining room and, though there is no smoking in the dining room, there is smoking in the pub area.

Doug, Brenna & I arrived a bit early. Doug & I ordered a glass of Strongbow Hard Cider and a Spinach & Artichoke Dip appetizer. Brenna got mashed potatoes and gravy.

When Jarod & Amanda arrived each couple split an order of Scotch eggs and an order of fish & chips. Yum. The one glass of cider had made me a bit tipsy. HeeHee! Doug says my voice rises an octave or two when I'm "feeling my liquor".

And then off to the hockey game! Doug carried Brenna in her Snugli, facing outwards. As soon as the players hit the ice her eyes were wide open. She was smiling and laughing, taking in everything and everyone. At the end of the first period she was starting to wear down. It was, after all, way past her usual bedtime. So we took her out of the Snugli and gave her a bottle. We put her back in the Snugli, facing in to Daddy this time and covered her head with her blanket. Which she continuously pulled off. There were 3 little boys sitting behind us and they provided much entertainment. But, alas, she gave in to her heavy eyelids and drifted off. Proving, once again, that our baby can sleep anywhere.

We left during the second intermission so I don't know how the game ended. But Brenna has a lasting reminder- she was given a practice puck to commemorate her very first hockey game.


LTC Oliver North

>> Friday, March 11, 2005

What's not to like about the former Marine Lieutenant Colonel, now journalist?

Here's his latest offering advice to John Bolton who has been nominated by President Bush to be Ambassador to the UN.

I'm interested in hearing your comments!

I'm glad that LTC North and I agree. His direct address mannerisms cut through the BS and I like it.


Well Baby Visit

Brenna had her 4 month Well Baby doctor visit today. She is 25 1/4 inches tall (75th percentile) and 14lbs 5oz (50th percentile). Tall girl- she must have gotten it from Doug.

She was very active, rolling around on the table, pulling her knees under her, sticking her butt in the air and pushing her legs back. If she had been on something other than the slick paper that covers the table I'm sure she would have been propelled forward.

The doctor said that she looks great and is very active for a 4 month old. Crawling was predicted to begin in the next couple of months. Am I realy ready for that?!?!

And, even though she cried when the shots were given, she calmed right down and started sucking her fingers. Yea!

Brenna is sleeping quite soundly now, as I'm sure she will do most of the afternoon. And tonight- hockey! With the NHL on strike this year I haven't been to any games. The Buccaneers are USHL, so no frills. But hockey is hockey and the tickets are free (Amanda, my brother Jarod's girlfriend won them on a radio call-in. Brenna's first hockey game.

And, before that, fish & chips and scotch eggs at The Royal Mile. Best fish & chips I've had outside of Ireland. Good stuff.


Little Monsters

>> Wednesday, March 09, 2005

This morning, we ran errands before I took my boys to have lunch with Daddy. First, we went by my brother's house to make sure all was well. The kids chose to sit in the car for 5 minutes listening to 'their music'.

Next, we went to the University I attended to exchange a sweatshirt I received for my birthday from the hubby. Too small. Anyway, the boys decided to run amok while I was in the store. Fortunately, I was the only shopper while we were there, and the students running the store thought the scene was FUNNY. Each boy ran a different direction, around & around the racks of clothing. I tried my best to keep them under control, but to no avail. They were just rowdy this morning.

After I completed the exchange, I ran (I don't run) & caught the youngest, and swatted his behind, and sat him down on a bench with orders to sit until I caught the big boy. Then I caught the older one, gave him a little swat, and carried him to the bench to retrieve the little one. I grabbed each of them by the hand and took them to the car. MOMMY NOT HAPPY. The whole visit took less than 15 minutes, but I was frazzled by the time we left.

Then we dropped off a baby gift for a former co-worker. Again, they stayed strapped into their car seats while I walked to the door.

They didn't really deserve lunch with Daddy (a treat), but I needed another adult. They were such good boys at lunch with Daddy. How can they go from monsters to adorable little guys so quickly?


I have Brenna tuned to Sesame Street- TiVo-ed from a couple of days ago. Snuffy is featured. (Mr Beamish- I know you've missed him. Should I put them on DVD for you, as well?)

Trivia Question: What is Mr. Snuffuluppugus' first name? The answer will be at the end of this post.

This episode and the next center on Snuffy and his magic eukalie. When he plays it it turns him invisible. Then it breaks and he is stuck invisible. OH NO! What do you do with an invisible Sunffuluppugus? Snuffy wants to play hide and seek because he can finally hide!

Lots to do today- a trip to Target is on the agenda, as well as the recycling center and the dry cleaners. Then Miss Brenna gets to visit her aunt Jen and cousins while I get my hair cut. Fun times.

Well, I should get on with it.

Answer: Aloiscous. (I really don't know if that is spelled right.) Did you know that Mr. Beamish? Anyone?


Baby Moments

>> Tuesday, March 08, 2005

My sister and I meet at the “Y” to workout together 4 days a week. A workout buddy is great motivation. We use the “Y” because, though it is not the nicest gym in our area, childcare is included in the membership. Yesterday, when I came in to pick up Brenna for Baby & Me class, she was in a bouncy seat getting kisses from a much older boy- I think he may have been 2! Although she didn’t seem to mind the kisses I could see that she wasn’t overly impressed. But when she saw me standing at the door she gave me the biggest toothless grin I have ever seen. My heart melted. *sigh*

Now, if you are in any way related to me I suggest you stop here. I don’t want to see in the comments how this was just too much information for you.

Last night Brenna fell asleep quite early- and not even half way through her bottle. There was no waking her up. So we laid her on a quilt on the floor knowing that she would wake up again before she actually went to bed. And Doug, ever amorous, thought maybe he could get a little boom-chicky-chicky-boom.

It was a nice thought- until Miss Brenna woke up and interrupted his plans. I suppose we should get used to it, huh? If this is going to be a common event she may not get a younger sibling. *smirk*

We are venturing out to the mall this afternoon. I tried on my clothes from 2 summers ago. I felt great because they all fit. Some of them just don’t fit like they used to. And some of them just shouldn’t be worn by anyone who can be called “Mommy”. So I am off to buy a few items for our upcoming trip to San Antonio and Dallas.

I’m not a big fan of clothes shopping so I hope this is quick and painless. If I were cute & tiny like Merrit it might not be so bad… Oh well, no delaying the inevitable. Ugh


Defining Liberalism

>> Monday, March 07, 2005

In several other posts and comments you may remember me using a phrase "modern liberals" or "American liberals". If I'm in a hurry, I'll just say liberals, but I think I will officially stop that practice. Jacob Sullum's Indivisible freedom is the reason for this sea change. I realized a while back that the liberalism taught in school and that I read about in the biographies of our Founding Fathers is not the same liberalism practiced by self-described liberals in America today. Private property, self-determination and free markets are very liberal ideas when looking through the lens of history, but "modern liberals" wish to impose limits on private property, "help" those less fortunate with programs that keep them poor and control every aspect of the market.

A true liberal, and I like to think myself as one, isn't bothered by what other people do in the privacy of their homes. Just don't bother anyone else while you're doing it.

A true liberal doesn't want to take a huge portion of someone's livelihood and give it away. You should allow people to help each other. A government bureaucracy can never and will never work as efficiently and effectively as people deciding to do something for themselves. Make it easier for me to hire someone; don't straddle me with dozens of forms and 3 different bureaucracies. Make life better for my new employee by getting rid of several thousand pages of tax law and the taking 40% or more of their income.

A true liberal wants people to buy and sell to each other with minimal interference. Commerce laws are the direct result of Congress members trying to gain influence from corporations…who are trying to limit competitors via a large government program/law/bureaucracy. Or they're from a special interest group with other agendas. Ditch as much of it as possible while still providing protections to consumers. How about something simple like, "If your product injures or kills someone during normal use and accepted standards, then you will bleed cash and may go out of business." Running someone over with your car is not an accepted standard and the driver would be liable, no matter how well they drove over a pedestrian.

A true liberal believes in the rule of law. The most frustrating thing about many judges today is their willingness to use their positions to bypass law and create their own. There are many laws on the books that shouldn't be there. Let's get rid of them. At the same time, however, do not ignore or actively promote the violation of laws that you don't agree with. It's a fine line to walk.

Self determination is a very liberal concept. Ancient Athens tried it for a while. They won some war, but were corrupted out of existence. A lot can be learned from studying history. There isn't much happening now that hasn't happened somewhere, sometime in the past. There were even Athenians that didn't want to fight the Persians encroaching on Greek lands.

It's interesting that modern conservative are fighting for free markets, self determination and the rule of law, while modern liberals riot and protest for market controls, dictators, and violation of existing laws.


Here It Is!

Well, our interview has been published. For those of you who were worried- you are safe. For Yankee Bob, you may see a few hits from central Iowa.

She did OK, although I did expect the article to be longer. We were on the phone with her for quite a while. And we said the next "Blogger Bash" would probably be this summer, not next month.

Enjoy our 15 seconds of fame.

And for those of you who found us through the above article: Welcome. I've laid out cookies- freshly baked- coffee and tea. Stay a while, won't you? Get to know us and meet some of our friends (listed at right). Smile at the baby... and don't mind the dog. He's harmless.


Which Greek God or Goddess are You?

>> Sunday, March 06, 2005

Got this from VW at One Happy Dog Speaks.


?? Which Of The Greek Gods Are You ??
brought to you by Quizilla

Hmmm, who woulda thunk it?


Where do I belong?

>> Friday, March 04, 2005

I got this from Yankee Bob. And, for the record, I said that America is the best country in the world. But I won't argue with the result. Northern Ireland is part of the UK...

You Belong in the UK


A little proper, a little saucy.

You're so witty and charming...

No one notices your curry breath


The Geeks Have Been Interviewed

>> Thursday, March 03, 2005

Doug & I had a phone interview last night with Stacey Palevsky from the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier about Iowa blogs and bloggers. The article will be published on Monday. We should be able to access it on line and share it with blogworld.

Stacey asked a lot of questions: why do we blog, what do we blog about, how did we start, what othr blogs do we read... I am interested in seeing how this turns out.


Baked Shrimp with Feta Cheese

I made this last night. Really easy and soooo good!

From Cooking Light Favorite Recipes.

1 teaspoon olive oil
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 garlic cloves, minced
Cooking spray
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups diced plum tomato (about 3/4 pound)
3/4 cup (3 ounces) finely crumbled feta cheese
4 cups hot cooked linguine (about 8 ounces uncooked pasta)
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350°.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oregano and the next 4 ingredients (oregano through garlic); sauté for 3 minutes. Spoon the shrimp mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Add wine to skillet; cook over low heat until reduced to 1/4 cup (about 3 minutes). Stir in tomato, and pour over the shrimp mixture. Sprinkle with cheese, and bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Serve mixture over pasta, and sprinkle with parsley.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup shrimp mixture, 1 cup pasta, and 1 tablespoon parsley)

Calories: 404 Fat: 8.7g Protein: 29g Carb: 51.8g

I bought the shrimp frozen, deveined and shelled but with tails on. I pulled the tails before cooking. Make sure you get uncooked shrimp.



Rice Cereal

>> Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Brenna has been showing an increased interest in our food. In some cases she has even eaten it. So we ventured into the wonderful world of rice cereal. I can't imagine anything more bland. My sister says that baby taste buds are not very developed and this will be "like nectar of the gods".

First Cereal

I will say that Brenna did eat it, no fussing and not too much spitting. But nectar... I don't think so.

Open Wide

Gruel. Tasteless mush. Porridge. But "real" food. *sniff sniff* My baby is growing up.

UPDATE: The rest of the pix and videos are here


The Boys

Look at the Monkeys Posted by Hello

Most days hold some degree of "oh, how cute is that" on top of the daily insanity and frustration. The boys were playing so well yesterday, and I snapped a few cute pictures. They were hiding behind pillows on the couch right before nap time. (YEAH NAP TIME)


I should go away more often

Brenna is currently enjoying her ExerSaucer and after 3 days of long car rides I am hesitant to put her back into a car seat to run to Target.

On Monday Brenna and I took our first "girl trip". OK, so went just went to Minneapolis to visit my friends. It has been about 3 months since I've been up there and my friend Bobbi just had a new baby boy. (They named him Rickson. It's Spanish- the "R" is pronounced as an "H". Poor kid- he'll be called Hickey in junior high for sure.)

We fought some pretty strong headwind on the way up. Although the speedometer said 70 I really don't think we topped 63. So we stopped at the big "Red Barn" rest stop just south of the MN border. We sat on the second level and chatted with the lady who runs the country boutique while Brenna had a bottle.

I got to spend time with my friends and visit the Mall of America. This was the closest mall to my house when I lived in the Twin Cities- I avoided it like the plague. It still doesn't impress me much. Although I did manage to get some pretty cool walking shoes for our trip to San Antonio in a couple of weeks.

And then, Tuesday afternoon, we headed home. About 60 miles north of Des Moines Brenna had had just about all the car riding she could take. We stopped about 45 miles from home, at Story City, and wandered through the Outlet Mall. I bought a sweater. It's Brenna's fault.

We got home shortly after 7pm. Brenna gave Daddy the biggest smile when he took her from her car seat. (She probably would have been happy to see the boogeyman if he would have taken her out of that thing. But we'll let Daddy have that moment.)

I noticed right away that Doug had done some cleaning. Yippee! And when I went into our room I noticed the box of Ghiradelli Chocolates on my pillow. And when I went into the bath to wash my face I saw the bath salts and bubbles. I married well.

And, if this is what coming home is like, I should go away more often.


Mr Beamish

>> Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Ah, Mr. Beamish knows a good deal when he sees one.



Mark Steyn's new piece in the Telegraph is so good you should just pretend that I wrote it. I'll take credit just for linking to it, but then again, I'm a geek.

More from Chrenkoff who has interviewed Victor Davis Hanson.

Mudville has it in pictures.

Sam knows how we got to this point


Geek Stuff

Because I know that you all are desperate to know which states I have been to, lived in and current reside, here's the list... From here.

bold the states you've been to, underline the states you've lived in and italicize the state you're in now...

Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C /

In Canada, I've been to: Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec.
In Mexico, I've been to: Sonora, and Chihuahua.

Also: London, England; Rome, Italy; Frankfurt, Germany; and many places in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait during Desert Storm.

Alabama: Traveled thru during a business trip
Arizona: US Army trip
Arkansas: Everyone should go to Eureka Springs and Hot Springs!
California: Business trips to LA (twice), San Francisco, and San Jose
Colorado: Family vacations to Estes Park (twice) and business trip to Denver
Florida: Business trip to Orlando (best business trip EVER, while single)
Georgia: Basic Training and Infantry School
Illinois: Several trips to Chicago shopping mecca
Indiana: Couple of business trips to Indianapolis (nice little city)
Iowa: Lived here off and on several times
Kansas: Stationed at Ft. Riley for 3 years
Kentucky: Business trips
Louisiana: Business trips to New Oleans and Shreveport
Maryland: Business trips to Baltimore, side trip to Annapolis
Massachusetts: Business trip to Boston
Michigan: Great B&B in Marshall
Minnesota: Where Jody was living when we started dating
Mississippi: Spent the night there while going from one client to another
Missouri: Love the Country Club Plaza area of KC, own 16 acres in the Ozarks
Montana: Business trip to Billings (no, it's not in the mountains)
Nebraska: Omaha and the loooooong drive on I80 west
Nevada: Vegas baby!
New Mexico: I10 speed trip
New York: Distant relatives in Albany
Ohio: Several drive thrus from one place to another
Oklahoma: Stationed in Kansas, family in Texas
Pennsylvania: Drive thru on way to DC
South Dakota: Rapid City to watch fireworks over Rushmore; have you dug Wall Drug?
Tennessee: Memphis a long time ago, clients in Nashville
Texas: Born in El Paso, graduated HS from suburb of Dallas, stationed at Ft. Hood
Virginia: Client visits and Jody's brother stationed outside of DC
West Virginia: Yet more business trips
Wisconsin: Bristol Renn Faire, House on the Rock
Wyoming: Devil's Tower, way cool
Washington D.C: Army trips & Jody's brother stationed there now

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