Sunday, June 25, 2006

Warren Buffett to Begin Multibillion Dollar Giveaway - Los Angeles Times

Do you think he heard me?

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Beach (test)

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Beach day

We went to the beach today. David enjoyed the sand and water, but Carmen did not. After all, the water was wet, and the sand dirty. They both enjoyed the seagulls, though had we been in California they may have enjoyed the drunk pelicans more.

Pictures later. I think the camera is still in the car.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


I should be in bed. But I'm dawdling. What else is new?

The babes have entered a hats phase. Boxes, baskets, a plastic molcajete, and various parts of our wardrobe are all strong candidates for being worn as hats. Carmen prefers the over-the-eyes look.

Whole Foods today, and Madison the Magical Juice Lady was working. She showed the babies a carrot cheer--complete with a shaking booty--and the babes, still groggy from a too-short afternoon nap, just watched, slack-jawed. But when she gave them some fresh carrot-orange juice, they instantly perked up, flapping their arms and squealing, signing juice and more and delighting everyone at the counter. This is what they looked like in the car when we got home. (Poor David was a little tired.)

Last week David grew into Carmen's Preschoolians, and Carmen grew into a pair of size 23's. Actually, she was a 22, but Preschoolians messed up the order (oops), so I told Carmen she'd just have to make do for a week. She didn't seem to mind, and walked all around the house pointing at her feet and saying "shoes!"
Somebody remind Daddy that he should check and make sure that the babes' pants aren't crooked when he puts them on, eh? Carmen doesn't seem to care, though. She just goes and goes, however she's dressed.

She is my daughter. Here's an excerpt from an e-mail that I sent to Ashley this week discussing Carmen's dawdling at night:
Sorry we missed you. We were in the throws of dinner (as in, thrown food, not throes, although it is agonizing to pick up rice and beans off the floor, off the table, from the walls, and all the little cracks in the booster seat three times a day . . . so it’s maybe throws for the babies, throes for the parents). And then it took Carmen 1.5 hours to get to bed. She’s the master dawdler. She nurses, she potties . . .

And I put her down.

Then she needs to potty
Then she needs water
Then she needs to potty
And she needs me to read on the potty
The same book
And again
And again

And I put her down
Then she needs to potty
Then she decides her nose is stuffy, and will I please aspirate it?

And I put her down
Then she needs to potty . . .

And it kinds of goes on and on and on like that.

I won’t deny her potty time, because if you gotta go, you gotta go . . . but I suspect she’s really dawdling (I’m sure you’re suspecting the same), and this is kind of weird, because I didn’t think a kid this small would have figured out already how to dawdle? ALTHOUGH she does actually go every time she sits on the potty (although she’ll sit for 10 minutes just for a tinkle, just because she likes sitting there) so, eh, who knows?

But she is a real stinker. That quiet, patient baby is a thing of the past, lemme tell ya. She’s hilarious. They both are.

And this is the schedule I gave her (Ashley's visiting next week):

By 6:30 they’re awake
7:30 they’re eating breakfast after morning boob, brushing teeth, combing hair, and emptying my sock drawer
9:30 they eat a snack (which they sometimes eat in my poor car)
11:15 lunch (more or less . . . they’re usually pretty exhausted unless they’ve had a snooze in the car)
12:00 nap
2:30 wake up
3:00 snack
5:30 Matt home, eat dinner (that I may or may not have cooked . . . June Cleaver I AIN’T!)
7:00 lights out
7:15 brush teeth and Big Red Barn (by the big red barn in the great green field, a little pink pig was learning to squeal . . .)
7:30 babies asleep IN THEORY (ha ha)
8:00 David is konked out by now for sure
8:30 Carmen is maybe konked out, but she’d rather not be

If Carmen's asleep, I should be, too. Good night!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

We went to the park with Guest Blogger!

Father's day and all, so Guest Blogger got to take the babies to Hermann Park, Houston's premier pigeon and duck habitat and home to it's only hill. (in true Texas fashion, it's a pile of leftover dirt from building a football stadium, but it is nonetheless a hill).

We tried just a walk in the stroller, but Carmen kept signing "Shoe! Shoe!" to say that she wanted to walk around. Shoes are their favorite, favorite, favorite things right now. Every time the babies put on shoes, they get so so so excited, because shoes mean that they get to go somewhere, and when they go somewhere they get to run around. And the best types of somewheres are places with geography - the display aisles at Fry's, the steps on the deck at the local school, or even a hill. Up, down, up, down, up, down. And just in case I didn't know, reminding me that yep, that's a dog over there, and a puddle of water, and a bird, and a duck, and a bike.

And proof of how much we really learn by association. Every time we see a doctor's office, we cry now - even if they haven't started poking out our tear ducts. And every time we see a shoe, we are so excited because the shoe represents freedom, a chance to visit cows and chickens, and maybe even a hill. If Carmen ever shops at Nordstrom, we'll know where it started.

Oh, guess what?

The rice cooker broke again. It was our third. Cuisinart, what's with your rice cookers? The third did last longer than all the others, by at least a month, despite being used at least once a day (for oatmeal and whatnot, not just rice). But it still broke.

So we give up. We bought a Zojirushi. Figure a Japanese company knows something about making rice cookers.

All by myself

David just left to take the babes to Hermann Park to talk with the ducks and geese and leave me with a little peace and quiet to work on my BTA strategic plan for the BTNP. The house is quiet and strange as I sit here, all by myself, with the restless cat for company.

For Father's Day I gave Matt an Eric Carle book called Mister Seahorse. Seahorses carry the eggs of their young until they are ready to hatch--they are a daddy fish. In the book, the seahorse meets other daddy fishes, like the tilapia. The illustrations are beautiful because it is, after all, an Eric Carle book.

Never mind that the real motive for the seahorse nurturing its young is because it doesn't trust the female to do the same job. Fortunately most children's stories lend themselves to a broad--and most flattering--interpretation of reality. Didn't the Brothers Grimm make having a stepmother sound downright romantic?

I made Matt promise to keep the babes in the stroller when they visit the ducks. I keep thinking of a story on the news this past week. A little boy pulled away from his father and fell into a pond. Rather than drown, however, he just rolled onto his back and floated--just like he had been taught in his swimming class. The babes are going to take a class like that this fall at a pool near the house. (I should take it, too, but would be embarrassed to take a class called "Starfish 2.") Until then, the babes are stuck in the stroller when they outnumber their parents, especially near water.

I'm sure the ducks like it better that way, anyway.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Go Bill, Go!

Yesterday Bill Gates, the world's richest anybody, announced he was leaving Microsoft to focus on working for his family foundation. Go, Bill, go! I'm proud of you, man, and hope more of those in your cohort will follow your example.

Just remember that whatever new projects you undertake, Microsoft products are still awfully buggy. The world might be your oyster, but that doesn't necessarily give you 6 billion beta testers to play with, okay?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I love

David this morning, deciding he needs a bigger spoon. He ate the rest of his oatmeal this way. No bib because babes have decided they are uncomfortable, uncool, or are too much fun to take off. And because parents have decided that after these people eat, they need a change of clothes, anyway, so why worry about the bib?

A couple of weeks ago, chubby bunny with grapes. This is pretty much the way they always eat, stuffing their faces.

At the playground in Houston's Montessori magnet, Wilson Elementary.

I love my Subaru. You probably know this, but I will tell you anyway. It is zippy, with a manual transmission that likes to go, go, go. Just room enough for me, two babes, a diaper bag, a stroller, various baby-related flotsam (stuffed animals, several shaker eggs, and some loose O's), and more groceries than I planned on buying (of course). Plain enough that I didn't panic when I found myself at an Exxon on FM 972 this afternoon with each babe sitting (for an eternity, in the heat) on a Potette in each of the bucket seats (they didn't have shoes on and the asphalt was hot . . . and better my car than a gas-station bathroom). Tall enough to hop a curb, bounce along a rough county road, or cut across a median in traffic (Matt, you didn't just read that). Squat enough to get great mileage so I don't mush my granola crunch. I love my car.

I love my Whole Foods, too. Today the babies scored three ripe red bananas from the produce guy, and two kinds of juice from the juice lady. The juice gave the babes bright carrot-colored mustaches. Their shirts were already soaked from an enthusiastic dinner eaten thirty minutes before, and banana still stuck between their fingers. They looked perfectly, happily, messy. "What have you been EATING?" the cashier asked. Just the merchandise, man. Whole Foods had organic grapes again this week, toddler-sized and sweet. C&D like grapes so much that David tries to eat five at a time (but when he opens his mouth, and they all roll out).

I love my babies, too. They way they smile and giggle when they nurse, the way they stamp their foot and say "hss, hss" when they watch a ball to bounce, the way Carmen tries to share things she likes with David, and the way David tries to help around the house. The way they drink bottled water from the store and sign "cold!" And I love the way they can't figure out this whole Mommy thing.

"David, where's David?"
Pointing at head, "day."
"Where's Carmen?"
Pointing at Carmen, "dair."
"Where's Mommy?"

"Carmen, where's Carmen?"
"Where's David?"
Pointing up, "doughbutdoughbutdoughbut."
"Where's Mommy?"

So, there you have it.

This evening, after grabbing some provisions, we came home to a clogged sink. While Matt worked under the sink, David watched and tried to help, grabbing the wrench and hiding the steel wool (somewhere . . . haven't found it yet). I tried to sit down to eat while Carmen stood in the Learning Tower and decided she wanted to eat a second dinner--mine. She played peek-a-boo inside it and giggled with a mouth full of chicken. When she realized she had stuffed her mouth full and couldn't chew (my babes are well-practiced at eating like they are playing Chubby Bunny), she unceremoniously took the half-masticated chicken back out of her mouth and dropped it on the floor. Thanks, kid.

This weekend, my mother taught David to hide around corners and pop out saying, "boo!" It's hard for me to play that game for very long. It's difficult to resist, when he comes from around the corner and says, "bew! bew!" picking him up and giving him tickles and kisses all over. More more more! he signs, and he gets kisses and tickles all over again.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Until I can take the babes backpacking, they are never going to see more the handful of stars that you can see only on Houston's clearest nights. Until then, how about this planetarium for a night light?

In other news, when I ask C&D "Where's Mommy?" they both sign Mommy. "Yes," I say, "but where?" I give up.

Sweet dreams of clear and starry skies.

Monday, June 12, 2006

All that matters

Early this morning, as Carmen held onto my pant leg, standing with one foot inside Matt's brown shoe and wondering what to do with the other, David picked up one of my sandals, put it over my foot, and said, "Mahmee!"

Who, ME?

As Matt drove away this morning, Carmen signed car and mommy . . . but I think she meant Daddy. As in, Daddy is going in the car [to work].

Buoyed by their apparent progress in identifying Matt and I, after breakfast I asked the babes, "Where's Mommy?"

Carmen stared at the wall. David patted the floor. Oh.

But later, after a trip to hell (really, it was just Wal-Mart, but I remembered why I never shop there), when we pulled up to the driveway David said, "Home!" He doesn't know who is parents are, but at least he knows where he lives.

We'll see if we remember our new vocabulary tomorrow. Sometimes words are said and never return.

David, by the way, was not particularly impressed with Wal-Mart and all the noise, televisions, music, and wild children. In fact, he fell asleep somewhere after the arts and crafts department, his mouth still full of the pretzels I'd been feeding the babes to keep them from poking each others' eyes out. Carmen signed sleep and patted his head, then tried to lean on him and cuddle.

After crossing the store twice and finding a dirty disposable diaper in the laundry department (ew!), I didn't even find what I wanted at Wal-Mart. I was looking for Tide HE Free and a spill-proof bubble container. So in the afternoon, when the babes woke from their nap too early (Carmen's fault), I drove to Target. Target didn't have Tide HE Free, either. (Don't get me started on flower-stink-scented HE laundry detergents and my wimpy washing machine's laundry problems. And don't tell me that you like All Free and Clear, because I find it as effective no detergent at all. Just feel sorry for me. And maybe feel sorry for my washing machine. It does how many loads per day? Four? Five? Probably more than it was designed for. I can't wait for it to break.) Target did have a spill-proof bubble bucket, which David held outside of the stroller and dragged throughout the entire store. The plastic scraaaaaaped on the tile floor and then the bucket bump, bump, bumped over the carpet. He laughed and I of course laughed and laughed and probably looked half-wild and delusional, but that in particular is really not an uncommon event.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

For the Grandmas

This is from Friday. Matt scanned it yesterday, I think, when he was setting up all the little whatnots on the computer, like the scanner and the DVD burner. You can see there was a hair on the glass. I need to redo the image but thought I could use this image to hold a place in the blog.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Mini-Van Mom Song

Matt took Carmen out on an expedition this morning to Fry's, Target, and the Arandas bakery (I had a hankering for pan dulce). While he was listening to Car Talk he heard the Mini-Van Mom song by The Kegels. If you have a child, plan to have children, have had children, or have the dubious fortune of living in the suburbs (where there are lots of minivans . . . and children), you have to hear the song.

Unfortunately, the clip only plays the first two minutes of the song; if you want to hear the rest of it you have to buy the album (Fully Effaced) from CD Baby or directly from The Kegels themselves. I've got to have it.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Quick Study

What sign takes babies just one demonstration to learn?

Ice cream.

Do the sign while you feed babies a mango sorbetto. Watch them raise their eyebrows and say with their eyes, "Hey, hey, hey, what's this?"

A busy couple of weeks. I've been increasingly under the weather (allergies? Tired Twin Mama Syndrome?), and last Monday David got sick.

Then Matt got sick.

Then this past Monday, Carmen got sick.

We believe in sharing things in this house, can you tell?

We're all on the mend and the babes are busier than ever, but between that and some other projects, there's little time for digging in the mess of wires behind the computer for the card reader and then posting pictures.

This weekend we are going to do something like Extreme Makeover on our computer. The breakdown:
  • We're getting a new monitor. Ours is starting to make noises . . . I was going to just wait until it caught fire like Matt's dad, but we figured that with our luck it would probably burn up at a really inconvenient time (e.g., naptime). And, also, my fire extinguisher needs charging. So we just decided to get a new one.
  • We're getting a new case. This one is about as loud as my refrigerator (that means it's very loud). I am ready to throw it out the window.
  • We're getting a new printer. Every time I print, the babes--and the cat--stop and stare at it in horror. It is dying a slow death, and I think I should euthanize it.
  • Matt is going to reformat the hard drive (or, are you, Matt?) and start over. Fresh. After so many updates to the motherboard BIOS and every other piece of hardware in the case-that-sounds-like-a-fridge, this machine is full of weird errors. Seeing an error is like hearing fingernails on a chalkboard. Matt doesn't mind it as much as I do, but there are lots of things that Matt doesn't mind as much as I do. Fortunately he pretends to understand and is going to try to fix it. Unlike the grafted, botoxed, lipo'ed, and lifted plastic surgeons on Extreme Makeover, however, he works for free. And the occassional pint of sorbet.

This week the babes discovered the buttons on the television. Specifically, they discovered how to turn the television on and off, and know that randomly pressing the buttons to the left of the power button yields interesting results. So this morning while I was cleaning up after breakfast, the living room sounded something like this:
"Let's turn to Romans Chapter 12 . . ."
". . . are women's voices getting [somebody finds the volume button] DEEPER?"
[Scuffling. The television turns off and two babes are trying to climb each other to turn it back on.]

Later David turned the television back on again, and changed the channel but not the volume. Pastor John Hagee was even louder than usual. David looked up at the television, then walked away.

Later, I heard:
"Today on Dr. Phil-"
"Clorox disinfecting wipes!"

The biggest problem about the discovery of the buttons is that there is, unfortunately, only one power button. As you may have noticed from previous entries, there are two, yes, two, babies. So when one is reaching for the button, standing on his or her tippy, tippy toes to reach, the second baby is hanging on the first's shoulder, trying to reach over and press the button first. In basketball, this is called a foul. In babies, it is simply "foul." So the babes get frustrated and angry, and Carmen may decide to vent her frustrations on David by sticking her finger in his mouth.

You might remember that she did this several months ago, and then stopped. But she must have forgotten why she stopped, because she's doing it again. The unfortunate result of sticking an angry finger in David's mouth is that David's first instinct is to simply bite it. You can imagine that Carmen isn't exactly enthusiastic about this.

The babes went to the dentist on Friday for their first check-up. Then earlier this week we went to the library to sign up for the summer reading program. We are trying very hard to be good little babies.

The library volunteer was tickled to sign up two toddlers for the program. But hey, I told her, we might as well get a prize for reading to Carmen over and over and over (did I say over and over?) all the books that she already has memorized. David prefers a little more variety . . . but just a little.

After looking at David's eyes for the past couple of weeks, it seems that we might not have to do the surgery, after all. The day before we were scheduled to go in, the eye cleared up, and has been fine ever since. Whew. Close call.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Your Corn has Antibiotics In It

Antibiotics in corn? Um, no thank you. Guess that's one more reason to grow your own (or get your veggies from the co-op!).

The babes are chasing each other back and forth as I type. I can't see them, but I hear their feet slapping the floor. Once in a while I see them out of the corner of my eye, prancing like little horses and squealing. Both continue to add signs to their vocabulary, and both are working hard at talking, too. Whew. Busy babes.