Catching Up

Hiya.  Haven’t been doing a whole heck of a lot the past few days, mostly catching our breath from last week.  (Did I tell you that Andy traveled the first half of the week, and I traveled the second half?  We had to really look at our schedules to make sure Graham was with a responsible adult at all times!)

My plane ride home on Friday was super fun.  One of those where you finish boarding and the pilot comes on the overhead and tells you it’s going to be at least 2 hours before you’re wheels up.  Then it’s only 3 hours before you’re home!  Aye-ay-ay.  They did have mercy on us to allow us to leave the plane for an hour (since we weren’t able to push off from the gate until then), although when we tried, we were stopped by an argument between the gate agent and the flight crew.  I had a front row seat for that show.

The captain saw passengers starting to line up in the aisle (since he’d given us the go-ahead to deboard temporarily), so he asked the gate agent to step into the cockpit to ‘discuss’ whatever it was that the gate agent wanted to discuss.  In the meantime, the head flight attendant – who bore a scary resemblance to Paula Deen – caught me up on the gossip.  Apparently the gate agent told the flight crew that they can’t let a few passengers off the plane – even if they took all their luggage with them (which we had).  He said that either they had to deboard the entire plane, luggage and all, or keep everyone on board.  The flight attendant shook her head and said, “I just got through boarding a 747, I’m not going to undo it all only to have to repeat the process.”

Except she sounded like Paula Deen, so it sounded more like, “Ah just got tha-rough boardin’ a 747, ah’m not goin’ to undo it awl only ta hafta repate tha process.”

At that point, the captain – also a Texan, as this was a Dallas-based flight crew – stepped out of the cockpit, shaking his head.  The gate agent started to protest something again, but the captain cut him off and said, “Son, what you don’t seem to understand is that you have no legal right to keep these people on this plane!”  The gate agent retorted, “I don’t know what’s so wrong with deboarding the plane.”  The flight attendant tilted her head, put her hands on her hips and said, “Honey, what’s WRONG is that it just doesn’t make any sense.”

And I go back to the words spoken by our adored Dallas tour guide on our second-ever visit to Texas.  She said, “… it just goes to show, there’s no messin’ with a big-haired Texas lady!”

The gate agent pointed his finger at me and said, “Ma’am, stay right there please.”  Then he walked off the plane and up the jetway.  The pilot looked at the flight attendant, said, “Idiot,” then looked at me and said, “Just go.  They can’t keep you guys on here.”  So we did.  He was right, they let us off, and we were able to get some lunch and get back on the plane much, much happier.

The rest of the weekend was low key.  Unsuccessful at trying to find a babysitter for Saturday night, we stayed in with our friends Jaime and Jeremy and celebrated Jaime’s birthday.  Graham was excited for her birthday, and showed her all his righteous dance moves.  I’m going to have to get these on video sometime.  He looks so happy when he’s dancing.  :)

Lastly, I entered Graham in a photo contest on Parents.com this week.  We’ve been voting for him like crazy.  He’s #300-something, but there were like over 2000 submissions which means he’s actually in the top 15%.  I should disclaim this by saying: I don’t expect anything to come of this, but it’s pretty fun to try.  :)

Here’s the link if you want to try too!

Click to vote!

[singlepic id=1881 w=320 h=240 float=center]

Yardwork and Play

Thank goodness for weekends. A good 48 hours and a good two night’s-worth of sleep, and I can’t honestly remember what I was so stressed about at work last week. Andy and I got to stay local, get some work done around the house, and relax. Again, I say – thank goodness for weekends.

Friday night, we laid low.  Andy played around with a shoe flash he got for his birthday.  It’s taking some tinkering, but he’s figuring it out.

Again, this is at night.  So, while there’s still room for improvement and ease of use, I’d say – pretty darn good.

We were reading a book that evolved into a rousing rendition of The Itsy, Bitsy Spider.  Have I said before how much I adore raising a toddler?

Now… segue.  It might be a bit bold to proclaim victory yet, but I think we’re figuring out how to keep up our landscaping and be parents at the same time.  It starts and ends with a thing called ‘naptime’.  It is a beautiful thing.  The only catch is: when naptime hits, you’ve got to be ready to drop everything and spring into action.  This Saturday, since Graham woke up with the birds, naptime came at 8:30 am.

Aye-aye-aye.

But, since we had a plan, Andy and I were outside digging up beds bright. and. early.  Andy went to the Home Depot and picked up several bags of mulch while I thinned holly bushes and rhododendrons.  Since we had a newborn this time last year, I was clearing out two years’ worth of dead leaves and brush under our bushes.  All the while, I had a spunky little sparring partner in a honeybee who did NOT want me to touch his hollies, thankyouverymuch, but was willing to let me clear out old mulch and prune the neighboring shrubs.  Touch a holly though, man, and that bee was all up in my business.

Graham awoke before we were done, of course, so we got him slathered in sun lotion, dressed in a romper, sun hat and sandals, and set up on a beach towel in the front yard. I am sorry to say we were too busy to drag the camera out for this.  Even the iPhone.

As with most things these days, the beach towel thing lasted for all of 30 seconds before he was off on more interesting, non-terrycloth pursuits.  This was the point in our weekend where Graham finally saw that walking might have some merit after all.  Bermuda grass and pavement are not all that knee-friendly, so he locomoted by ‘crawling’ around on his hands and feet.  He even stood for good long stints while recognizing his accomplishment.  (To date, he only stood if he was too preoccupied to realize what he was doing.)

Later that afternoon, I set out to run errands, of which one stop to stock up on 24-month/2T clothing.  One morning this week, Graham woke up and was suddenly busting open the snaps of his 18-month onesies. No kidding.  While I was out, Brian and Charlie stopped over to watch some basketball and play with Graham’s toys, respectively.

The kid’s so fashionable, he chose a toy that perfectly matched his outfit.

I was still out and about at this time, but apparently Charlie and Graham were totally amused by one another.  Just stood across the ottoman from each other and giggled at the other’s silliness.

This morning (Sunday), I sang at church and the boys met me for the 11:00 service.  Did I say 11:00?  I meant 11:25, which was when Graham and Andy rolled into the sanctuary after having gotten pulled over and issued a speeding ticket trying to make up for leaving the house so late.  Yikes.

After church, we stuck around for a lunch put on by our youth (a.k.a. Graham’s fan club).  The purpose of our cookout lunch was to hear about the youth group’s spring break mission trip to New Orleans.  Quite honestly?  I had no idea how far to go New Orleans still has.  It’s heartbreaking.  And our youth are awesome.  Period.  I know I never willingly sacrificed my vacation time to a week of manual labor for a complete stranger.

This afternoon, we all collapsed and took naps.  The weather went from sunny and 70s yesterday to cloudy, rainy and 50s today.  Nap weather.  Andy and I awoke to watch the last 10 minutes of the VCU/Kansas game (Woot VCU!) and the UK/UNC game – where Andy clinched our Braggin’ Rights bracket tournament.  Good afternoon.

What did Graham do this afternoon?

Graham played.

And played.

And played.

On a related note.  Please send toys.  Graham doesn’t have enough.  We’re desperate and are in dire need of more brightly colored plastic things that light up and make digital sound.

Great weekend.  I find myself ready to get back to work tomorrow and – in the spare moments – worry about Graham’s transition to the toddler room.  Hope you all have a good week too!

New Camera!

Well, Graham’s not the only one growing out of things around here.  Andy has gotten so into photography that he’s pushed the limits of what our XSi could do.  He knew his way through literally all the menus, how to reset options (and when and why you’d ever want to reset them), and then came the beginnings of frustrations with the output of our pictures.  Not that I don’t think they aren’t completely gorgeous or anything, but without going too far into it, there are nuances that definitely make my left eye twitch and drive Andy absolutely insane.  Like how far you have to stand back from your subject with various lenses, noise introduced by indoor lighting (and the fact that we refuse to use flash doesn’t help), flash recycle time (<– I lied, we do use it sometimes!) and frames per second burst rate for continuous shooting.

Sorry, I think I might’ve gone too far into it.

Anyway, since it’s Andy’s birthday weekend, we decided to go for it, and we are already so excited.  Nice thing is we only had to buy the body of the camera because we can reuse the lenses we already have.  Very nice!

If you want to check out some of our test shots, make your way to the Photographs page.  :)

Happy Tails to You

Hugo, I’ve come to find, is a great trail dog. We frequent a large park well north of town that has wooded trails. I let him off leash, as there is nothing around for miles, and I can be reasonably assured that Hugo’s smart enough to realize I’m the only sure path to dinner at the end of the day. In all honesty, I’ve never seen a dog behave like him offleash. He trots ahead, sniffs around, and, when he feels like he’s gone too far, he stops, turns his head around, and waits for me to catch up before he presses on. My family dog growing up, to the contrary, would’ve happily followed her nose to the neighboring county.

Friday, I threw my cell phone, camera, and a pouch of bacon-flavored dog treats in my backpack and the two of us headed out. I’m still learning what all the buttons do on the camera, and while most of the Hugo shots were blurry, I managed a couple of okay ones. Hugo, meanwhile, had the time of his life. As usual.

 

 

Tea for Two… or Ten

I recently got some gift cards to Sur La Table for some extra work I completed at the office. I’ve had them earmarked for a fabulous little kitchen appliance (what else?) for quite some time. The gift cards came in the mail yesterday. Tonight, we caught some dinner out and, on our way, we stopped into Sur La Table and picked up my prize.

This is an electric tea kettle, but not just any electric tea kettle. If you’re an avid tea drinker – or even a novice, as I became after a big project involving teas (if you believe it) at work, you know that you brew different teas at different temps. Green tea needs the least heat, and black tea needs the most. Black tea is easy: you boil water. Every other tea requires you to cool the water down from boiling (or watch the kettle and keep taking temperatures with a thermometer periodically.)

As I was saying, this is not any ordinary water-boiler. This kettle brings your water up to the correct temperature and holds it there for up to 20 minutes. 175F for green tea, 185 for white, 195 for oolong, 200 for french press coffee, and 212F (boiling) for black tea. I know it’s a little ridiculous to be SO excited about this, but I am. And all for $12, out of pocket. :)

Of course, I’ll take the opportunity to use my other amazing acquisition for the week to show ‘er off. (I’m going to need a break here, I’m literally starting to feel tired after the excitement… no, I’m not kidding. A camera and a tea kettle is all it takes.)

 

 

Oh yes, and after we bought the tea kettle, we went out to a little barbeque place that had framed signatures up on the wall. We sat underneath a choice picture of Jessica Simpson. This one was taken with my camera phone.