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.