Saturday, December 29, 2007

All Will Got For Christmas...

Dan and I were considering leaving Will's Christmas presents for him to open after the new baby was born. That way, he would have something to do while we were attending to the little guy. However, we decided to open Christmas presents on Christmas anyway. How did this go? Will was so excited by his presents that he wouldn't take a nap on Christmas Day. He finally fell asleep on the way home from dinner with Scot and Tammy after being awake for 12 hours.

If you have 10 minutes and 20 seconds to kill, check out the exciting present video montage.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Who needs a baby name book?

Once again, Dan and I have put many minutes of thought into the naming of our child. Here is what we have come up with:

The Dan Factor
Daniel Kroboth - Sound familiar? That's right, if the little guy is born on Dan's birthday, he will get to be Daniel Kroboth.
No, we aren't going to call him "Dan." Will would try to "voice dial" him all the time. "VOICE DIAL - DAN - MOBILE"
It would also be confusing when we see my step-sister Michelle and her husband Dan.
No, we can't call him "Daniel." That would confuse him with his Uncle Daniel.
No, he wouldn't be Daniel Kroboth, Jr. That would be confusing since he is not the first born.
So what would we call the new little Daniel Kroboth? I think we will need a good middle name. Perhaps something listed below...

California Meaning
When Will was born, we gave him a middle name to reflect his birth in Japan. Kengo means "wise protector" which is similar to William which means "protector." As the new little guy will be born in California, it seems that we need a good "Californian" middle name, maybe something from the surfer or Hollywood genres.

Surfer Options
  • Barney - Someone who is less than skilled at surfing. - Would also fit with our Hollywood theme by naming him after a character in "How I Met Your Mother."
  • Bennie - A tanless tourist on the beach. - Seems appropriate as the little guy may end up with my skin color.
  • Bro - A buddy or friend...or used as a greeting. - Seems appropriate given that he is Will's bro.
  • Dude - General reference to a male surfer. - Plus, Will can say "Dude."
  • Epic - Beyond the usual or ordinary. Generally used in the positive sense. - Once again displaying our great expectations for our children.
  • Zimzala - Free spirited person who finds peace with the sand between toes. - Wouldn't have trouble at school with too many kids with the same name!
A Hollywood Option
Topher Grace Kroboth - Dan and I find the name "Topher" (short for Christopher) to be amusing. Plus, we like "That 70's Show." I mean, both of us were born in the 70's, right? Plus, "Grace" is a family middle name. Dan's sister's middle name was Grace. Seems fitting, yes?

Science Fiction Option
Worf - Since Will got named after William Riker, William Shatner, or Wil Wheaton, we might as well name number 2 kid after Worf. Well, Worf is kind of big, and we are really aiming for a smaller baby this time. Perhaps a smaller Worf.

Another California Option
As we do live in Los Angeles and occasionally go on the 405 Expressway, Dan thinks that if the baby is born on the 405, we should make his middle name Japanese for 405. That would be something like Yonreigo. I do have an interview down in Irvine on January 8th, perhaps that would be our best opportunity for traveling on the 405, giving birth, and justifying this awesome middle name.

These are my sons, "Protector" and "Protector"
Why mess with a winning name meaning? William means protector, Kengo means wise protector. Here are some more protector names!
  • Alexander - protector of men - One option is Alexander The Great Kroboth.
  • Edward - wealth protector - Edward Longshanks Kroboth (EL was known for just legal reforms) or King Edward VI Kroboth (KEVI became king at age 10, in line with the great accomplishments we have planned for Kroboth II).
  • Raymond - decision protector - "Everybody Loves Raymond" would also fit quite well under our Hollywood options.
So, will it be Daniel Zimzala Kroboth or Worf Yonreigo Kroboth? Take your pick. Although there isn't much time left in Dan's birthday, we may have to forgo Daniel as the new little guy's first name.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

All Will wants for Christmas...

As you may know, we don't have as many toys for Will as most people have for their kids. Why? He really doesn't need them. What? You don't believe me? Perhaps you will realize that he can entertain himself with this (warning: long & unending) evidence caught on film back in June...

Who knew that toilet paper could be so interesting?

Now, this is not to say that Will does not have some toys. He is in pretty good shape. If he were to acquire additional toys, here are some ideas:
  • GeoTrax Train - Will loves trains. Any GeoTrax would be great. If you are unsure about whether or not he has them, just send a gift receipt (or a gift card even) and we can return any unneeded duplicates. Or ask and we can tell you that yes, he has a Rainbow Bridge.
  • Drum or other musical instruments - Will loves to say "boom!" He is also fascinated with guitars and whistle/recorder type instruments.
  • Digital Camera - Yes, they actually make digital cameras for kids. As our digital camera is large and bulky with lots of dials and buttons, it would be nice to not let him use it and instead use one that is built to be dropped occasionally.
  • Mega Blocks - Will likes to "dump" these all over the floor. He also will build with them. He especially liked it when Darren built him a tunnel for his train out of the mega blocks. He's not old enough for legos and they would be bad for the new baby anyway, but mega blocks are good. Orlando brought us the first batch for Will's 1st birthday party and they are a hit!
  • Wooden Toys - These were on the list last year. I still really enjoy the look of the wooden toys that Will has. While we never got around to building him a wooden toy box, we did get him some Melissa and Doug wooden tools. Additional wooden toys are welcome. Perhaps a rocking horse.
  • Montessori Equipment - Will has started to enjoy quite play by himself. What more fun way to enjoy playtime than by LEARNING!
  • Tricycle - Will needs wheels. With a concrete backyard, this is a great way to get around. Of course, this brings up the question that was never asked during my youth, "Does he need a helmet or other safety gear too?"
  • Clothes - Will's rate of growth has slowed down a little from last year. However, he is a bit tall for his age. He outgrew his 18-month-old clothes the day he turned 18 months old. He can now wear anything that is 24 months and up. Long pants are good. Footed jammies are good. Not so much with sweaters as it doesn't get too cold here.
  • College Savings - Yes, you can still contribute to Will's future education.
  • Books - Yes, you can still contribute to Will's current education. He's on the verge of learning about colors and numbers.
  • Wishlists/Registries - If you are super un-creative, feel free to check out my Amazon wish list. I updated our delivery address there and added a bunch of stuff that Will would be interested in. Or, you can always go the route of getting something for both the boys, like maybe matching bathrobes or sunglasses. There are some of these things on our baby registries on Babies R Us or One Step Ahead.
Why acquire additional toys if we really don't need them? As Will is soon going to be transitioning from the only child to the one child out of two that doesn't require 24 hour surveillance, he's going to feel a bit put out. We look forward to bribing our child to be happy during this transition.

As for Dan and I, we are in good shape. If you really feel the need to get us something, check our baby registries. Or check our Amazon wishlists. Or you can put $ towards the "we-love-our-roomba-and-now-want-a-scooba" fund. Or, if you want to really make us happy, buy us something that is consumable and won't clutter up our house which seems to be cluttered by mega blocks most of the time. We like Penzey's spices, Leonidas chocolates, Trader Joe's wine (or other wine), and Starbucks.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Will is Just Like Us

Eye Care
Lately Will has been fascinated by eye care. Fortunately I have gotten him to stop trying to bend my expensive eye glasses. Unfortunately he destroyed a perfectly good pair of cheap sunglasses a few months ago.

As Will has my and Dan's genes, it is likely that he will end up wearing glasses sometime before he turns 10 years old. He is already practicing with my glasses.

Will the Egghead

Will is also fascinated with my contacts. He will give me the contact case and say, "Mom-Eye." If I hand him the (empty) contact case, he will touch the inside of it and then touch his own eye. Or, he will touch the inside of it and touch llama's eye. It seems that Mom, Will, and llama all need contacts.

Pushing strollers
Will should make a good older brother, at least in the area of stroller pushing. He will push his stroller every chance he gets. He is even pretty good at steering. This past weekend we went to Big Lots and he and his friend Asha ran around the store pushing matching, pink, princess strollers. It may be sexist of me, but I did not buy him the pink, princess stroller. Plus, I put the blue colored baby in the stroller for him.

Strolling at the Store

There are some better pictures that Lynn took from her camera phone displayed on their blog.

Will isn't one of those kids who recognize and request McDonald's. Instead, he is learning all about our yuppie lifestyle and the consumption of Starbucks. For a while we would only get him a small ice water. But then he learned how to take the lid off the ice water and get to the ice. Like Dan, much to our dentist's dismay, Will loves chewing on the ice cubes. When we fly, I always ask the flight attendant for a cup of ice for Will. It entertains him for minutes. But, the consumption of the lid-free Starbucks water usually ends in pronouncements of "wet-wet-wet" when Will ends up spilling the water on himself and his car seat. We have transitioned to occasionally buying Will a kid-sized hot chocolate. I believe that the cost of this tiny hot chocolate is $1.85. As part of our Christmas tree shopping, we stopped at Starbucks prior to going to the tree lot. Here is Will drinking the Starbucks in his car seat.

Mmmmmm... Starbucks

I guess it is true that kids take after their parents. Given this, Will has a strange life ahead of him. :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Angela's Pregnancy FAQ

In an effort to be fair parents to our second child, I am providing a pregnancy FAQ for this guy too. You see, so many parents put all of the emphasis on their first child, that the second one goes under-noticed. While we can't be completely fair since Will was here first, we can try. For example, for Will, we had photos done of him every month for the first year and put them safely in his "My First Year" photo frame. It's quite cute. We are planning on doing the same thing for kid number 2. We are hoping that some of the 2nd child issues that most 2nd children develop can be mitigated. Any advice on how to do that, Robin?

Here is the Pregnancy FAQ:

Top Question: How are you feeling?
A: Why is this the only question that people can think of asking? Why do people think I want to talk about my feelings? Have I done something in the past that made you think that I want to talk about how I feel? Or do you really want to know how I physically feel?
  • To answer the question, I feel fine. Other past answers have been, "I feel underemployed." "I feel tired because Dan has a cold and isn't sleeping well which causes me not to sleep well." (He's gotten a lot better at not tossing and turning lately.)
  • For a little while there I had some back pain and a pulled leg muscle. Fortunately my coach at the YMCA was able to recommend some stretching exercises that fixed them.
  • Lately I have had a weird hormonal shift. This has caused me to be too warm at night and unable to sleep very well. While I think that you sleep better before the baby is born, I can understand how most women in their 9/10th month of pregnancy think that having the baby will somehow improve their sleep. (Even though they are wrong. Got to remember that.)
  • I think that people who have toddlers should not be pregnant. How am I supposed to pick up a 28lb child when I have a 6lb child inside me? Holding Will on my lap is difficult. Getting up and down from the floor is difficult. Fortunately Will is a little patient with me. When he demands, "hand" so that he can guide me to where he wants me to go, I tell him to wait until I get up off the floor. He is usually cool with this. An added advantage to Will is that since he has been walking for 10 months now, he gets around pretty well. I gave up carrying him so much when I got pregnant. He actually follows directions such as "stop" and "this way." It is quite useful.
Q: Is Will excited about the new baby?
Will is excited when he sees babies. We have tried to explain to him that there is a baby inside my tummy. He is at the age where he doesn't get it. He also thinks that there is a baby in Dan's tummy and his tummy. At night when we kiss him good night, he kisses my tummy goodnight, then kisses Dan's tummy.

Q: Are you still planning on having the baby at home?
Yes. The closer we get to the due date, the more and more it makes sense. The alternative is: contractions start - call someone to come take Will - get stuck in traffic - go to place that freaks me out (hospital) - get poked and prodded - get sent home with false labor - pick up Will - if actual baby delivered, bundle self and baby into car within 24 hours - put poor new baby in car seat - go home. It just seems easier and more friendly to: contractions start - maybe they continue - if so (or not), hang out and play video games or watch TV from our comfy couch - continue in a warm, friendly, relaxing environment - use Will as a distraction from contraction pain - have baby.

Q: When do you think the baby will be born?
A: I'm going with January 8th. We are not planning on actively doing anything to encourage the baby to come during this tax year, although that would be nice financially. I believe that the baby needs all of the time he can get inside before emerging to face the cold, windy world. His lungs can develop fully, he can put on some extra fat cells, and his stomach can hold more milk if he is bigger. (I believe this leads to better sleeping.)

Q: Will the baby be as big as Will?
A: This may sound crazy to many people, but I am hoping the baby weights between 9.5 and 10.0 lbs. I suppose that it would be fine if the baby was as big as Will, but I really hope that he does not exceed the 10.5 lbs that was Will at birth.

Q: Will the baby be as cute as Will?
A: We hope so. Will kind of sets a high standard of cuteness. I mean, he has hazel eyes and golden hair! How cute is that! I guess an acceptable alternative would be to have a baby that actually looks like us. Brown-eyed brown-haired can be cute too. Just look at Dan. If we draw a goatee on the little guy, the look will be complete!

Q: Where will the baby sleep after he is born?
A: Ultimately he will share a room with Will. However, we don't want him to wake up Will at night. For the first week or so, he will sleep on a low bed next to me. Then we will move him over to the portable crib, probably put in my office. Then, once he sleeps through the night, we will put his crib in Will's room.

Q: What do you need most for the new baby?
A: Unfortunately some things that we need are expensive. Our digital camera and photo printer seem to be on their last legs. As we got them 5 years ago, this makes sense. But it will be somewhat frustrating to take and print pictures of the next baby until we upgrade. We also hope to get a Sit and Stand stroller. One of those that has a normal seating area for the baby, but a place for Will to stand on the back. Or a little jump seat on the back if he gets tired. Fortunately we do need some less expensive things too. If we are going to take pictures of the little guy each month, we will need some clothes that do not have banana stains on them. Will was not the neatest baby in the world. We are also thinking about replacing our entire collection of bibs. If you feel the need to get us something, check out our registries on Babies' R Us or OneStepAhead. One of the things we are registered for is a video baby monitor. I am really curious to know what Will is up to in his room after we put him down for a nap or bed and he is still talking to himself. Also, it will be good to check to see what the two of them are doing once they start sharing the room.

Q: What is your most unusual pregnancy symptom?
A: I am terribly clumsy. It is a good thing that Rich and Amanda bought me drinking glasses for my birthday when they visited last May. I think I have broken at least 2 wine glasses and probably 4 or 5 drinking glasses. Fortunately I have been able to sweep up most of the glass after the breaking. Only once did I "find" a piece with my foot in the kitchen. Will has been safe so far.

Q: How much weight have you gained?
A: If Will stands in front of me, and I look down, I can't see him. My tummy is very large. So far, I have gained over 30 lbs which is more than I gained with Will.

Q: Are you nesting?
A: Sort of. While I only performed virtual nesting via my Sims2 game last pregnancy, I actually live in my own house this time. Last weekend I made Dan organize in the garage and help with organizing books on bookshelves. I also made Will help me organize my closet. It's not really a personal nesting thing, more of a directing others to nest for me. Must be the residual effect of too much Sims during last pregnancy.

Q: Do you want to go out for coffee?
Yes! If you are in the Redondo Beach area and are bored during the day on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, call me to go out for coffee. Am I limited to decaf coffee? Not anymore! I figure that the little guy has successfully developed his nervous system by now. Will survived the coffee drinking that accompanied my Japanese pregnancy (where they are confused if you order decaf). And it's not like I am having that much coffee. I'm still on half-caffeinated. Most pregnancy references say up to 2 cups a day of regular coffee is fine. My midwife says that it is possible that caffeine may cause smaller babies. I told her that was not the case, that Will was 10.5 lbs and I was drinking coffee every day near the end of the pregnancy with him. Her response... "Just imagine how big he could have been." So, come and help me in my efforts to have a "smaller" baby!

Q: Have you had the baby yet?
A: Ok, this is not really a question that has been asked yet. But I know that as I get close to my due date, people will keep calling and asking. Here is the general guideline: Immediately after we have the baby, we will post to the blog. We may even email you. So before you call, check the blog. Then, a little while after we have the baby, we will set up our web camera so you can all see the new guy.

The end of the pregancy FAQ. Did you notice how I failed in my efforts to help this baby to be special like the first one? Nearly every question or answer had to do with Will. Ah well, that doesn't mean we should stop trying to be fair, right?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Downside to Will's Bed
(or my excuse to finally post a video on the blog)

Will's bed is awesome. We were originally thinking about designing and building a bunk bed when Dad and Lee visited back in July. However, when Dad and Lee were taking Will for a walk to Starbucks, they found a perfect bunk bed, free to a good home, just a couple of blocks away from us. So Dad and Dan re-finished it, we got mattresses, and it is now set-up in Will's room. Perfect for the plan of the two boys sharing the same room until one of them decides to move out.

A bit ago, we started putting Will in his bed for naps. This worked well. Then we started putting him in his bed for nighttime. As he is kind of big for his portable crib, this gave him a lot more space to move around at night. Plus he is able to sleep with about 10 stuffed animals now whereas in his crib he was limited to more like 1 or 2.

Will has learned how to climb in and out of the bed pretty well. This is good because it is an indicator that he is ready to sleep in it. However, we have found two problems with this. First, if he wakes up really early, like 6:30am, he can get out of bed. If we haven't closed the door to his room, he will wander over to our room and wake me up. Fortunately he can't jump up on our bed, he just taps me and says, "mom-mom-mom-mom." I like closing his door, but it can get pretty cold in there as our heater is just outside in the hallway.

Will Getting In and Out of Bed

The second problem is that if Will gets out of bed in the middle of the night, he gets confused since he is still mostly asleep. Then he has trouble getting back into bed or realizing that he needs to get back into bed. Unfortunately we aren't the lucky parents who wake in the morning to find their child curled up with his blanket peacefully sleeping on the floor. Nope, he makes us remedy the situation immediately and get him back up into bed. This causes Dan to be unable to fall back asleep which in turn causes me to have trouble falling back asleep.

We are working on these issues. If Will gets out of bed immediately after we put him there and shut the door, he might come over and knock on the door. However, if we tell him to get back into bed, he usually does this on his own as he is still fully awake during this time. We are hoping that this action of going back into bed will get stuck in his head and that he will learn to do it even when he is asleep.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Will is Traveling Ninja!

For Halloween this year, Will dressed up as a NINJA! Of course, you might be thinking, wasn't Will a ninja last year? And then you realize that, no, Will does not have creative parents. Plus, his outfit was big on him last year and it fit perfectly this year. So congratulations to his Aunt Robin on making a versatile costume.

Did Will like being a ninja? Last year he wore his cool ninja hood. It felt funny against his tongue This year, it made him kind of mad.

Seemingly Happy Ninja wearing Hood

Angry, Escaping Ninja

There were parts of Halloween that made Will happy. For example, he really like the pumpkins. Of course, he thought they were balls. But I think he finally learned that they are called "pumpkins" and started calling them that.

Happy Ninja with orange "ball"

You might be wondering why we called Will the "traveling ninja." As I was on a business trip until Halloween evening, Dan was trying to take Will trick-or-treating when my taxi pulled up to drop me off. Will loves luggage and immediately stole my rolling laptop bag. Even though it had heavy papers and a laptop in it, he is quite good at maneuvering it around and decided to take it with him to collect candy. I think he only ended up going to 4 houses or so, but as you can see, he started having fun when he got the bag.

"Traveling Ninja"

Ultimately Will figured out that his orange pumpkin bucket was for "treats" and went home to eat some and zone out on the comfy couch.

Tired Ninja

Does Will get to be a ninja again? Day of the Ninja is coming soon! Mark your calendars for December 5th! He probably won't be a ninja next year. His costume won't fit. But his brother will be about 10 months old and could take over the legacy. Maybe Will could be a pirate. Or maybe they could be some sort of other complimenting pair. Any ideas? Krispy Kreme box and donut? (oh, sorry... "dough"-nut) . Batman and Robin? Astronaut and Spaceship? We shall see. Maybe something train related. Will loves trains. Here he is at the mall riding their train.

Happy about Trains!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Surreal Work Experience

As my pregnancy progresses, I am getting bigger. That's how it works, right? So at the end of October, I went on a 3-day work trip to San Antonio. The airlines don't seem to be concerned about my size yet, but I always feel a little self-conscious when I get involved in a professional environment. However, it seems I didn't have to be concerned with this particular engagement.
The first day of working, I met the guy who I would be consulting with. His name was Chris. Turns out, he drinks a lot of decaf coffee. That worked for me. And, he also was a new father of a 4-month old. This also worked out, when queries were running, we had something in common to talk about. Plus, he was perfectly comfortable hanging out with a pregnant woman. We even discussed the advantages of a natural birth over lunch and he told me how hard it was to convince their OB that no, they didn't want to schedule a c-section to accommodate the doctor's schedule, but wanted to wait for the baby to come naturally.

However odd it might be to discuss natural birth with a guy who I just met, that wasn't the surreal part of this work trip. The final day of the trip was on Halloween. I was going into work early to attend the local Toastmaster meeting since Chris was also involved in Toastmasters. I signed in with security, then found Chris at the Toastmaster meeting. He was dressed for Halloween as a pregnant woman! This was slightly disturbing, but he reassured me that no, he wasn't mocking me, this had been planned in advance. There was a pregnant woman in their department. They had told her that their entire office was dressing up as doctors for Halloween. But secretly they were all dressing up as pregnant women and she would get to be the "Maternity Ward" doctor. Here is the sign they put on the door to their department.

And, here is the picture of Chris in his Halloween costume, platinum blond wig and all.

One of the activities that the departments do on Halloween is wander around to the other departments to show off their costumes and see the other costumes. I tried to bow out of this activity since I could be perfectly productive staying in the office. Plus, it's not like I was dressed in a Halloween costume. But they dragged me around with all of the fake pregnant women (3 women, 2 men in costume) and the actually pregnant "maternity doctor." Not what I expected when I signed on to this contract. A surreal work experience indeed!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Fire and Water Update

It's been a busy month, I can't believe it was October 23rd since the last post! And it is about the fires and our lack of hot water. So, here is the update...

The fires slightly affected us. The day after I posted about it, it got really "cloudy." Being outside in the daytime was weird because everything was cast in an orange glow with the sun being partially blocked out by the clouds. Also, there were tiny, visible bits of ash floating around in the air. Will's poor stroller was outside on our porch and collected a thin layer of particulates. Cars also got kind of dirty, we actually still need to wash ours. It wasn't as bad as the amount of pollen that builds up in a day in the DC Spring, but I'm sure inhaling the particulates was a bit more unhealthy than inhaling pollen. We kept the house closed up as much as possible and ran the air conditioner in the car. Now all is well and we are back to our mild, normal sunlight colored California weather.

The office that I interviewed for a job at was not burned down in the fires. However, I did not get the job. Me and my silly demands to work part-time!

Now onto the soggy water issue. I finally went to the Y to take a shower on Wednesday. It was great! Although I did have to keep pushing the button to turn the water timer back on for the shower.

The home warranty people sent out a repair guy who wrote us a repair estimate for $650-$900 and told us that the warranty people would be contacting us. The warranty people did contact us and told us that the pipe was not covered because it was "outside" of the foundation of our house. You see, our water heater is in our garage. The pipe that was leaking was somewhere between our house and garage and therefore not covered. We were quite annoyed since we had waited for the warranty people to take care of it instead of us taking care of it ourselves. It's not like we didn't tell them where it was in the first place. So, rather than being stuck with a large bill, which included leak detection, Dan and Will went searching for the leak.

Will Learning about Home Ownership Issues

It wasn't very hard to find the leak. Since it was a hot water leak, the grass above the leak had died by this time. So Dan and Will dug a hole in the middle of the dead patch of grass. They found pipes, then had me turn on the water. It sprayed pretty strongly, freaking Will out a bit, so we quickly turned it off. Then, we called a plumbing company recommended by Carlie (she knows stuff), they came out, charged us a lot less to fix the pipe, and all was well.

We were kind of disappointed that we had to spend money to fix the leak, but a few days later, we received a check from the home warranty people that covered all but $25 of our expenses. I think that our realtor, April, had given them a call and 'convinced' them to reimburse us a 'good faith' amount to keep us as happy home warranty customers. If anyone needs a referral to a realtor in the South Bay Area, let us know. It's been a year since we bought the place and April is still very helpful.

So we got our water back. And Will eventually got used to his baths in the big bath tub. It seemed to help him out to either sit close to the front of the tub, or to sit wedged sideways in the tub so it felt a little smaller. Now when his brother is born, we can use the little tub for the little one and maybe Will can hang out in the bigger part of the tub.

That's our update!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Not on Fire, Soggy Instead

As many of you watch the news and may have realized, Southern California is once again on fire. This is due to the Santa Ana winds which make it extremely dry. As for us, we are safe in our little haven of Redondo Beach. We are only 3 miles from the ocean and, unlike poor Malibu, we don't have hills that cause the fire to go crazy.

It's still dry here, I can tell because my lips are chapped. So where do I get soggy? Well, since Dan and I are lucky home owners, this is a home-related issue. One of our hot water pipes seems to have burst. Fortunately it is only making the yard soggy. Also, when we were wandering around at midnight in our yard on Sunday, trying to figure out why we kept hearing running water, we found the leaky area and turned the hot water off. Our poor yard just can't get a break. If it isn't the gopher digging around, it's the water pipe leaking and eroding away the soil.

What does this mean? One impact is that Will didn't have to take a bath last night. As he has been freaking out about the giant tub and the loss of his small bath tub, he was a bit happy about the lack of bath time. I told him that he didn't have to take a bath. He looked at me in a concerned manner, but didn't fuss as I reiterated, "no bath." Lately when he has been hearing bath, he runs away and protests.

The impact for Dan is that he gets to take icy cold showers in the morning. I think he is crazy. I skipped showering, but then again, it's not like I have to go to the office.

Speaking of the office, I did have an interview last week. It was in Rancho Bernardo, near Poway. Right in the middle of the fire graphic here. I wonder if I will get a call back. I wonder if they have phones. I wonder, should I follow up?

The burst pipe is not the end of the world, there is good news in this. Back when we bought our house, the prior owners provided a 1-year home warranty policy. This means that since it is not November 15th yet, the policy is still in effect. It's a bit slow, but the people are coming out today to check the leaking. If I am lucky, I will have a hot shower this afternoon. If they don't fix it today, I'm going to search out a hot shower elsewhere. What's this? Scot and Tammy's keys to their house while they are out of town? Hmmm...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Will is 18 months old!

Congratulations to Will. Somehow he has managed to make it to 18 months old, even with us as his crazy parents. We celebrated his 1 and a half birthday the same way we celebrated his half birthday. With Cake! The lucky little guy actually got to eat the cake this time.

Excited about Cake

Developing Fork Usage Skills

According to What your baby can do:
  • Understand that other people and even toys like his teddy are different and therefore enjoy play that involves make believe and pretend
Will is starting to pretend. It is very cute. He pushes cars and trucks around and makes "vrooom" noises. He also puts a cup on his foot and says "shoe" then laughs when I say, "That's not a shoe!" At school he wore an apron and chef's hat and pretended to bake cookies.
  • Begin to understand the concept of time and ideas like later, tomorrow, soon, after tea
We tell Will that things will happen "IN THE FUTURE" in a dramatic voice. I am not sure if he understands exactly what that means, but he does seem to understand "Wait" means a slight delay of gratification.
  • Begin to help dress himself but not yet able to deal with buttons or zips. To avoid frustration dress him in the simplest clothes he can pull off himself
We are working on this some. He will take his shoes off on demand. He will try to take his pants off when we are running the bath. He understands when we want him to put his arms up to take off his shirt. And he tries to put his pajamas on sometimes.
  • He may want to brush his own hair or try to clean his own teeth
Will doesn't just want to clean his own teeth, he is amazingly good at it. He goes into the bathroom, climbs up on the step stool by the sink, takes his toothbrush, and brushes his teeth. Back and forth. Then he says he is "all done" and gives the toothbrush back. Of course, part of the toothbrush success is due to the fact that he has bubble gum flavored toddler toothpaste and he sucks that off the brush.
  • He can help you and often likes to do the same as adults; he will try to sweep up a mess with his own dustpan and brush
This makes it kind of hard to accomplish cleaning tasks. Sometimes he is helpful and will take the silverware out of the dishwasher and put it in the silverware drawer. But sometimes he will put his toy train in the dishwasher. Or decide that dirty dishes should come out of the dishwasher. He also does laundry pretty well and will remove laundry from the dryer or move clothes from the washer to dryer. But he won't let me sweep anything. He wants to do it himself. He also helps with baking by licking the spatula when we make cookies.

I use my tongue to help!

  • Turns pages in a book, three or four at a time
"Harry the Dirty Dog"

  • He may now discover he can run as well as walk. Prepare for scraped knees!
Will has been running for a while. Like since March. He's pretty good about avoiding the scraped knees. It probably helps that I put him in pants a lot so that he can run around in our back "yard."
  • Language begins to develop rapidly now and he will take pleasure in learning and saying new words.

See prior post on Will's first 50 words. Even though we don't count the words that he simply repeats back to us, he is expanding his vocabulary all the time and may even be up to 100 words by now. He still gets frustrated when he can't let us know what it is that he wants, but hopefully he will work on that more before his brother is born.

  • Ask questions when you are looking at books together: ‘Can you see the dog?’, ‘What’s this here?’
He points out dogs, babies, mommies, daddies, balls, trains, and sometimes other stuff. However, if we ask him, "What's that?" He sometimes answers with "What's that?"
  • Send him on simple errands; he’ll enjoy getting it right and being helpful. ‘Can you find your hairbrush over there and bring it to me?’
This is a great developmental stage for a pregnant mom who has trouble getting up and down sometimes. "Will, go get mom's water bottle." "Here, take this to dad."
  • Crayons: chunky wax crayons are easy to grip and they make a mark no matter how they are held. Initially your toddler will grab a crayon in his fist and make lines from side to side. Up and down lines, dots and circles all come later. It’s the joy of producing a mark, not what it looks like, that matters
Will is all about drawing these days. He will go over to his little table and draw on paper with pens, pencils, and crayons. We may have to get him some coloring books, but for now, our reams of office paper seem to do the job. Will even performed his first "wall artwork" using a pencil (fortunately) to scribble on the wall. We are removing all ink pens from his reach now. I also need to buy a large eraser.

Will's Drawing Table

Missed the Table, Scribbled on the Wall

  • Balls: large soft balls to kick or throw. A beach ball or foam ball is ideal. Just as with everything else, the more fun practice he has, the quicker he’ll develop his skills
Balls are good, Will kicks, throws, and dunks. However, we may have to tone down on the usage of baseball bats. He has two baseball bats, one is a little wooden one that came from Spring Training in Phoenix. If it doesn't get hidden earlier, we will have to remove it before his brother is born. It's just too much fun to swing around. Will also likes blocks. He hasn't quite gotten the idea that he needs to push them together to keep them straight.

Building with Blocks

  • Ride on toys: he will now be able to sit astride a four-wheeled riding toy and maintain his balance while he pushes himself along with his feet
We tried a tricycle at Target the other day. He got mad when we took him off of it. I think it is time for us to get him a tricycle.

Will is a super developing little guy. Other stuff that we are working on include bed and bath time. Bedtime goes well. He gets all of his stuff (animal, blanket, water cup), gives us kisses, then tells us bye-bye when we put him in his bed. He is sleeping on the bottom bunk of his bunk bed these days. He has finally learned not to stand up and bump his head on the top bunk. When he wakes up in the morning, he will say "hey" "hi" to let us know he is awake, then when we go in to get him, he will army-crawl over to us until he is clear of the overhead bunk.

Bath time is currently a time of transition. We took his little tub out of the big tub and are making him take a bath in the big tub. It is very traumatic for him. He still has all of the same bath toys available, but for some reason the big tub freaks him out. He is just getting too long for the baby tub. It seems that we waited too long to do this transition. If anyone has any tips on how to make it less traumatic for him, let us know. We have tried bubbles, but maybe we need to try more singing. Will likes singing "Row-Row-Row your boat" in the tub.

Dan took Will to the doctor today to get his final shots until he is 3 years old. I'm just glad I don't have to take both little guys at the same time for shots. Dan says that Will is 33.75 inches long and weighs 26lbs 5oz. That is the 94th percentile for height and the 66th percentile for weight. The main impact of this is that since I am pregnant, our big little guy gets to walk everywhere. He can even get out of his car seat after I unbuckle it. It is quite convienent.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Rent Our Condo!

Have you ever thought, "I should live in the Washington, DC metro area!" Well, now is your chance. You don't have to bring furniture. You don't have to bring kitchen utensils. You don't have to bring a houseplant. All of these are provided if you want to rent out our condo. It is located in Falls Church, VA (Fairfax County), 6 miles from the Pentagon. If you are tired of living in places that have only white walls, you are in luck. The living room is a cozy light brown. The bedroom is a sleep-inducing dark blue. The den is a bright, energizing terracotta.

What kind of place is it? It is a small to medium sized apartment, 971 sq ft, in a condo building of about 340 units. It has 1 bedroom, plus a den, and 1.5 bathrooms. Here are the furnishings that we include:
* Living / Dining Room – Couch, tables, TV Stand, small TV, DVD/VCR, dining room table with chairs, floor lamps, large aloe plant
* Bedroom – Full-sized bed (frame will fit queen sized mattress if you would like to upgrade) & linens, chair, table, lamps, bookshelf
* Kitchen – Dishwasher, washer/dryer, microwave, toaster oven, water filter, kitchen supplies
* Den – Computer desk & chair, extra couch, floor lamp, bookshelf (space for an extra bed in here if you have a roommate)

And for you geeks out there, the place is wired for internet. Not only do we have a working, secure, wireless network... we also have ethernet drops in each room.

If you enjoy fresh air, we have a balcony on which you can relax. It has a view of Lake Barcroft. And trees, lots of trees that you can watch sway in the breeze. Behind the condo building is a rustic nature trail. There are places around the property available for grilling and picnicking.

If nature and other things make you sneeze, that's ok too. We have owned the place since 2003 and have never had pets. Plus, there is new carpet throughout.

If you don't have a car, you can catch the bus out front to the Pentagon or Pentagon City Metro. Or, if you do have a car, we have a reserved parking space (plus additional pass available for second car) .

BUT WAIT! There's more!
Turns out that our condo community has even more to offer: Outdoor swimming pool, indoor swimming pool, tennis courts, 24-hour front desk (includes package pick-up), 24-hour security, hair salon, convenience store with ATM, cardio exercise room, weight exercise room, sauna, steam room, hobby workshop, party room, game room, handicap access, car wash area, secure building entry with phone system for notification of visitors/deliveries, visitor parking.

We especially like the convenience store which is located very close to our elevator. Need some laundry detergent? Having an Ice Cream craving? Forgot to stop at the ATM? It's very useful.

What are the lease requirements?
* Minimum 1 year lease
* One Month Rent Security Deposit (refundable)
* Photo ID
* Proof of Income (i.e., 2 previous pay stubs)
* References a Plus
* Credit Check ($30)

Of course, if we actually know you, we can work out a special deal.

Utilities and Condo Fee are also included in the cost of rent, so it makes budgeting easier.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Our 100th Post to the Blog!

Dan and I have been blogging now for almost 2 years. And this is our 100th post! Here are some highlights from the past 99 posts:

First Post - November 2005
Introduction Post on our Anniversary

Angela's Favorite Post
The Search for Thanksgiving Turkey - Thanksgiving 2005

Angela's Sad Post - Caffeine Reduction
I still miss the caffeine. Haven't had more than about 8oz since January. By this time in my pregnancy with Will, I think I was consuming some caffeine. But then again, I don't have the "caffeine doesn't count in a foreign country" rule. Hmm... Maybe consuming caffeine causes 10 1/2 lb babies. Maybe we will have a normal 9lb baby this time.

Disappointing Post Comment Response - 100 days to new baby
Oddly, no one commented on our post about having a second child. I guess it is just one of those second-child things. Everyone is all excited about the first kid, but the second one, not so much. Oddly, even second-child Robin did not comment.

Dan's Favorite Post
Will's Birth Announcement

Will's Favorite Posts (because they involve birthday cake)
Half Birthday
One-Year Old Birthday
One and One Half Birthday - Coming Soon

Angela's Favorite Pictures
Dan's Precious Coffee Moment
Replacement Dan at Work while we were in Hawaii

How about you, does anyone who reads this blog have favorite posts or pictures?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

VG Day!

After a long and drawn out struggle, the forces of man have achieved a small victory over the gophers. For a past two months, I have been terrorized by a gopher continually digging up our front flower box. About one or twice a week, I'd come outside and find about a cubic foot of dirt excavated from the flower box. Whenever this happened, I'd strategically dig around the box and attempt to find the little bugger's main tunnel so I could set a trap or place poison, but I didn't have any luck. The soil was too soft, and the tunnel would always collapse before I could find it. I'd give up and cart off the cubic foot of dirt. I figure about a cubic yard of dirt has come out of the flower box. No idea where all the dirt came from since the box only holds about two cubic feet of dirt, and the total volume of dirt in the box has remained constant.

This last weekend, however, we had a bunch of rain. I hoped the rain had flooded gopher out or something. So, I re-leveled the surface of the box. Come Monday, the little punk gopher did it again. This time about two cubic feet of dirt. So, I carted the excess dirt off and packed the remaining dirt down. Checked Tuesday morning, but no movement. Tuesday night when I got home, he had made a small mound of dirt with a pretty good size hole. I tried to follow the hole, again no luck. But I had an idea, I'd make him come to me. I'd dig a bigger deeper than his hole. One where he would have to reveal the location of his tunnel. So, I did that. Dug about a 8 inches down to the hard clay bottom.

This morning, JACKPOT! I walked outside with Will to put him in the car, and I saw dirt moving! I must have let out a crazy noise because Will was a little startled. There was his tunnel! He was still trying to fill the hole I had made so he could plug his hole. Immediately, I sprung into action. I grabbed my gopher bombs (sodium nitrate, sulfer, charcoal), lit a fuse, stuck one in the tunnel, waited for the smoke to start, and plugged the tunnel hole. Chemical warfare at its finest.

End result: Gopher - 99; Dan - 1. However, I think he's finally dead. So, I'm declaring myself the winner by knock out.

Hopefully, his family won't seek vengeance. I may have to nuke from orbit if that happens.

Will's 50 Words

One of the developmental stages that a toddler achieves is the ability to learn and use 50 words. Will, in his super talkative, oddly social existence, has learned to say the following words:

hey, hi, hello, bye bye,
dad, mom, baby, dude, Asha (Derek and Lynn's baby), Sidney (Scot and Tammy's dog)
ball, box, block, truck, book, bubble, balloon, slide, swing
go, shoes, up, down, door, this way, outside, step
car, key, airplane,
llama, bird, dog, puppy, bee,
no, mine, me, you, oh-oh, oh no, thank you, please, more,
bump, ding, beep, pop, crash
bath, shower, towel, blanket
nose, eye, ear, teeth,
chair, food, hot, eggs, cheese, banana, cracker, water, milk, fork, cup, straw, bib
drawer, rock, dirt, hat, pen, phone

Of course, he has also learned a few animal sounds in addition to his words. If you ask him:

What does the bird say?
He says "Caw!" and will flap his arms. (We have a lot of crows around our house.)

What does the bee say?
He says, "Bzzzz!" (Got to teach him about our college mascots!)

What does the cow say?
Sometimes he says "Moo"

What does the dinosaur say?
He always says, "Raaarrr!"

He's not quite into sentences yet. At least sentences that we can understand. The most complex he gets is "Ball, Mine" or "No, Mine" or "More, Please." I'm sure all of that will come in time.

Fortunately for us, his favorite word right now is "Thank You." He went through a brief "Mine!" phase a few months ago, but it didn't last. We are awaiting the impending "Why?" phase, but are pretty sure that comes much later.

Unfortunately Will hasn't learned his name yet. We say it all the time. Complete strangers on the street figure it out pretty quickly. However, if we point to a picture, he will correctly recognize "Mom" and "Dad" but for him, he seems to think his name is "You."

Actually, he always correctly identifies "Dad" but because of his training to call for "Dad" when he needs something (now who taught him that?) both parents are pretty much "Da" but with different emphasis.

With all of his talking, Will can soon join Toastmasters. Ok, maybe in another 16.5 years.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

100 Days to Go!

Hello Everyone. As many of you already know, Will is such a great kid that we decided to embark on the journey of parenthood again. Already. In about 100 days, I will give birth to our second son.

Obligatory ultrasound picture that is hard to discern
fortunately it is labeled, "FACE"

Of course, this answers many questions for some of you. Like, why is Angela never available during Will's nap time? (I am napping too because pregnancy makes me tired.) Why were there so few blog posts from April to June? (First trimester makes me really tired, so I was napping.) Why does Angela look so fat in the camping pictures. (5 months pregnant will do that. And maybe lack of exercise because of all of the napping.)

So what do we call this second baby while he is living inside? As you may remember, we called Will "Riker" because he was the "Number 1" kid. Well, we haven't really come up with a consistent name for the little guy. Sometimes I call him "LasTbaby." Our lack of creativity when it comes to a name serves as a reminder that second-time parents are more lame than first-time parents.

Why become second-time parents if the first labor and delivery was so hard (4 days long)? Well, it turns out that I would rather go through all of the craziness of labor and delivery again rather than have an only child. Yes, it would be great for Dan and Will and I to remain a happy little family by ourselves, but really, I'm looking forward to the days where the two kids can play together on their own! If one gets hurt, the other can go for help. Even if they are fighting over something, that means that I might be able to spend some time checking my email in the other room while they work on their conflict resolution skills.

Of course, everyone says that second-baby labor and delivery goes much more smoothly and quickly than the first-baby labor. Technically my actual labor with Will was only 8.5 hours long with 1 hour of pushing. We are expecting something shorter. Now that we live in Southern California, we have decided not to fight the traffic and rush off to a hospital while in labor, hopefully arriving before the baby arrives, then turn around 24/48 hours later and put the poor new little guy in a car seat to return home. Instead we are planning on just relaxing at home and hope to give birth there. My midwife lives 3 miles from our house, so there is a very low chance that Dan will have to deliver the baby.

Are we ready for two kids? Sort of. While we are not going to be your typical parents and "decorate" the nursery, we are planning on doing the minimum by finishing the painting of the other 3 walls of the kids' room before the second one arrives (Robin already painted Mt. Fuji mural on one wall). While he won't be sleeping in there initially so that he doesn't keep Will awake, perhaps Will might like the nice, calming, green walls. Oh, and while Dad and Lee visited in July, they were able to find a bunk bed for the guys. Will currently takes his naps on the bottom bunk and he will be transitioning to night-time sleeping there too. He has even learned not to stand up when he wakes up, thus avoiding hitting his head on the top bunk. With the bunk bed solution, we can avoid the super expensive baby crib purchase and put the new little guy in the pack n play for sleeping. It has worked out great for Will as he can't climb out (mesh sides) and it is portable in case we need to travel.

Do we have enough stuff for two kids? Probably. As Will makes friends and we visit them, I realize that he has far fewer toys than most children. But really, he is welcome to play with all of our spoons and pots and cans and other safe stuff that he can find in our kitchen. Of course, Baby Number 2 gets to wear all of the clothes that Will got to wear. Although we will probably need a 2-kid stroller to accommodate the little guys, hopefully we can find a Sit and Stand second-hand. As time goes on, we learn more about what babies actually need as we spend time with Will, so we did register at two baby places. I really like One Step Ahead. We also did the default registry with Babies' R Us.

Is there a down-side to having this baby at this particular time? We are glad that the two guys will be 21 months apart, hopefully this means they will be friends. However, as I am completing my final week of work, this means that if I have job interviews, I have to interview while pregnant. "Hello, hire me, now can I take maternity leave?" Of course, this may mean that I don't get hired before the end of the year. If this is the case, I will spend my hours contemplating life, labor, nutrition, and the tastiness of healthy snacks such as pudding.

Oddly, Fat Free Pudding Tastes Better

What will we name the second baby? You will have to wait to find out until the baby is born. Perhaps something Klingon to go with our Star Trek theme. The little guy is due January 1st, so place your bets on the arrival date now! Of course, Dan was due on January 1st and was born on Christmas Eve.

Obligatory picture of baby Dan in stocking

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Happy International Talk like a Pirate Day!

In celebration of Talk Like a Pirate Day, Will decided to climb aboard this pirate ship on the playground at the YMCA.


We also visited a parakeet. Will and the parakeet said "birrrrd" to each other while flapping their wings/arms.

We are working on our pirate words including "Arrr!" and "Avast!" and "Ahoy!" Odd how so many pirate-y words come with explanation points.

We thought we would also avoid such non pirate-y things such as throwing mashed potatoes up against the wall and kissing chipmunks.

Perhaps we will celebrate Ninja Day on December 5th. You know, to provide balance in Will's life.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Will's Second Hair Cut

As you may notice, Dan and I have passed the what-do-we-do-now-with-this-baby phase of parenting and have entered the slightly-calmer-life phase. You can tell because we were lazy and didn't post pictures of Will's first hair cut. However, now, for your viewing pleasure, here are the pictures of Will's second hair cut:

Why are we wearing capes?

Dad? Um, Dad?! What is this guy doing?

What is this weird snipping sound near my ears?

Cute Little Boy!

Will managed to survive this hair cut much better than the last one. Why? It was performed by long-time Kroboth family barber, John. He didn't go after poor Will with a scary electric razor or a loud hair dryer to blow away extra hair. Only scissors. While Will doesn't look super happy, believe me, he is good.

And, just in case you wanted the pictures from Will's First Haircut! when he was 13 months old, here are the ones I took with my camera phone.

Excited Customer in Waiting Area

I'm ready!

Leopard Print Cape? Really?
Not a Happy Sleepy Camper

Back in August, we took Will on his first camping trip. The outing convinced us that we were past due in the department of taking Will outside of his comfort zone. You see, we hadn't traveled since Easter, so Will had gone to bed at home, in his familiar room, in his somewhat comfy bed, for months. We tried to stick him in a tent and there was no sleeping on his part. Of course, he eventually went to sleep, then spent the night skootching around, bumping into Dan. Of course this meant that Dan didn't get much sleep either. We were all glad to be back in our clean, comfy house by the end of the weekend.

Now, this is not to say that we didn't have fun. We had a great time. We went camping with another couple, Lynn and Derek, who have a daughter almost exactly Will's age named Asha. They also posted pictures on their blog from the camping trip.

Here are some of our pictures:

Will's First Camping Activity
Falling Off Bench of Picnic Table, Face In Dirt

Will Looking Suspiciously at our Tent

Dan and Will Eating S'Mores
(while Asha hopes she will get one too)

Dan Preventing Asha from getting the S'More

Will and Asha's Favorite Activity of the Trip
Chasing Each Other Around the Mini-Van, Giggling

Will and Asha at Playground

Angela and Will on Teeter Totter

Angela and Will on Swing

Dan Attempting to Catch Will at Bottom of Slide

Unfortunately the suffering of camping did not stop for Will once we got home. Yes, he got to sleep at home, in his familiar room, in his somewhat comfy bed. However, something that we put on him during the camping trip caused an allergic reaction. It could have been sun screen, bug spray, anti-fungal diaper ointment, after sun lotion, oatmeal infused lotion... we really don't know. Eventually Will became less polka dotted.

We are planning on going camping next summer. So, if you are a parent with a child near Will's age, you should join us! The kids have a lot of fun together.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Husband and Wife Roles

Dan and I don't go out of our way to play your typical husband and wife roles, but we don't go out of our way to not play them either. For example, Dan typically takes out the trash. He also mows the lawn. I do a lot of the grocery shopping. Dan changes Will when we are out in public. Dan waters the plants outside. I do a lot of vacuuming. I stay home with Will 3 days of the work week. This just works for us.

But tonight we did experience a bit of a role reversal. Dan (and Will) ended up at Costco in California, calling me for advice about which laundry detergent to buy. I was glad he called because I was stuck in Virginia trying to figure out why the toilet in the half bathroom was not filling properly. Ultimately neither of us was very helpful over the phone, we had to figure out our problems on our own. Here is how my experience went...

When I got to our condo in Virginia, Tuesday, the first thing I noticed was that the toilet was running. As no one has been in our condo since May, who knows how long this has been going on. So, I set down my luggage and opened the tank. Sure enough, the flapper was warped. Later I went to Home Depot and got a new flapper which I installed today while the Air Conditioning Guy was servicing our poor air conditioner. (There's a lot going on for the condo this week. Hence, the reason I am here.) Later, I noticed that while the flapper stayed in place, the toilet would run for a long time. Instead of spraying to fill, it was kind of dribbling. At first when I asked Dan about this, he said, "it sounds like you have a pressure problem." Ok, that might be it, maybe I didn't turn the water back on fully after I installed the flapper.

So, I turned the water on all the way. Still no spraying to fill. I start poking around. I love taking things apart and putting them back together so that they work. I used to do it with my toys when I was a kid. I wiggled and prodded. And, of course, I found the sliding thing that holds the float assembly tightly to the toilet. Now remember, the water pressure was still all the way on. Let's just say that pressure was there. The damp bathroom ceiling proves that. And fortunately I knew where the shut off valve was. However, it takes a couple of turns to get it shut off. My damp head, shirt, pants, and face prove that.

After being sprayed with toilet water, I got smart and began testing with the water turned completely off. Ultimately I got the float assembly taken apart, then put back together, then finally adjusted so that it actually works.

As I sit here and hear the water shut off for the full toilet tank, I breathe a sigh of relief.

Now I must go on to next condo project. Perhaps I should call Dan to see if he remembers how to re-set the filter indicator on our now functioning air conditioner.

Dan: "If I was standing there, I could tell you which buttons to push."
Me: "I'm standing here, I'll figure it out eventually."

Fortunately this is a much drier task than the toilet one. :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Unemployed... Again

It seems that I have difficulty keeping my job. That happens when you move around with your husband for 6 months at a time, both across the country and the world. The job that I spent 5 years in was abruptly interrupted when Dan and I moved to California (the first time) back in 2004. Fortunately, I was re-hired 5 months later. However, that only lasted until we moved to Japan, total employment lasting about 8 months. This began my episode of unemployment that lasted for almost a year. Of course, during this time I was pregnant, giving birth, then not sleeping, and had a brief contract when Will was 3 months old. At the end of this year long "break" I was happy to return to work. Now, about 10 months later, I find myself once again facing the lack of excitement that comes with being unemployed. But I didn't even move this time! It is baffling.

So basically, if anyone is looking for someone to create large-set automated data analysis programs using Audit Command Language, I am available. The queries that I have written in the past have saved over $60 million. (I earn my keep!) I make the queries automated and user-friendly which means that I usually program myself out of a job until a more complex task comes along (which it always does). I am great at documenting (which is probably why I never became a "real" programmer in C++ or Perl). I can write training documents, present solutions to upper management, and create and implement project plans in MSProject. I have led project teams both locally and remotely. I have a Statistics background in my degree (Economics and Political Science double major). I am familiar with Sarbanes Oxley. I was even an auditor in a past job. I am super-efficient. I have experience in Workers' Compensation, Purchase Card, Contracts, Facilities, Payroll, Financial Systems, Information Systems logs, and Credit Card Fraud. Basically I am very employable. Now I just need to find the appropriate company/agency who can meet my simple demands.

My simple demands:
  • Part-time Contract work (20 hours or so per week)
  • Work from Home, but willing to travel
  • Prefer higher hourly rate over benefits
Who wouldn't want this cheesy mug on a company id badge?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Will's Most Expensive Toy Ever

Yup, Dan and I have gone overboard, providing cutting-edge technology to our baby. We just bought him the most expensive toy we could. Is it a Smart Cycle Physical Arcade Learning System? Is it a Power Wheels Ford Mustang? No. Is it an I-Que Personal Robot? Based on our current robot obsession, you would think so, but no.

We bought Will a personal DVD player. Yup. Actual non-toy technology for him to use as a toy. Before you say that we are crazy parents who let their kid watch too much TV, um, yes, we already know that. We are those parents who told themselves that they would read their kid books instead of setting them down in front of the glowing electronic baby-sitter. But, like most real-life parents, we succumbed to the temptation of the quiet, zoned-out baby. We are able to do stuff like cook dinner, vacuum up Cheerios, and check our email. All with the use of the simple TV device.

Why a personal DVD player? Up until Will learned to crawl, he was great on planes. He could sleep, nurse, or eat snacks for hours. Then, once he realized that he didn’t have to stay in the plane seat, he was impossible to keep still. Fortunately we haven’t needed to go anywhere since April. But now we are taking a couple of different trips, starting tomorrow. Plus, I will be flying alone with him this week and Dan will be flying alone with him next week. We consider the portable DVD player to be the extra parent that isn’t going to be along. I told you we were the crazy parents.

Will it work? We have tried it out at home and Will seems very excited about it. He has learned how to use the headphones and only stops to say “oh-oh” when they fall out of his ears and he wants us to put them back in. So, if all goes well, my 4-5 hour flight tomorrow should go very smoothly.

Will Learning About Head Phones
While Watching "Handy Manny"