Monday, August 31, 2009

More twinny goodness

My nephews are now two and a half weeks old, and seem to only get cuter with each passing day (cuteness runs in the family):


I'm not sure about their dad's side, but on our side of the family, the last identical twins were my great grandmother Josie and her sister Mary, born in 1887! Oddly enough, they had twin brothers too, although the brothers were fraternal, not identical.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cheap date

Yesterday afternoon I needed to return a couple things at the outlet mall, so all four of us went. As we were strolling from one store to the next, a childcare place caught our eye. Our kids begged and begged to be allowed to go in (they had good toys), and once we discovered their rate was $5/hour for two kids on Saturday nights, we agreed. They even fed them dinner! M and I went to a restaurant at the other end of the mall that had half-price appetizers & drink discounts for happy hour. We shared a plate of calamari & a small pizza, and each had a couple drinks. So for under $50 including childcare, we had date night. At the outlet mall! I'm not proud of that last part, but for $50, you really can't beat it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Worried about BPA?

Did you do what I did a couple years ago? Look for that #7 on the bottom of your water bottles, and discover that nearly every one had it? We ended up buying aluminum bottles from SIGG for everyone in the family. Well, now it's come to light that SIGG bottles also contain BPA. It's in the lining put in all bottles made before August 2008. You can tell when your bottle was made by looking at the lining. If it's a shiny copper, you've got a pre-August 2008 bottle. If it's a dull yellowish color, you're OK.

I'm feeling very irritated about this. Those bottles are expensive! Buying them for a family of four comes close to $100. While SIGG may not have done anything that's actually illegal, like specifically claiming that their bottles were BPA-free, they had to know that the reason their sales shot up suddenly was because people believed this. It feels dishonest to me that they are just now admitting the truth. We bought ours from a co-op with a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee, so I think we're going to try to exchange them all this weekend.

Read the letter from the CEO of SIGG for yourself.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Some pictures

because I know a few people are starting to get the shakes from my lack of posting lately. (Oh yeah, you know who you are!) I'm a little overwhelmed at the moment with Z deep into potty-training resistance (that girl will sit in her own poop for an entire day rather than admit she has to go), being snack mom for 30 kindergarteners in the first full week of kindergarten, trying to figure out my schedule when I have to pick up the kids at two different schools, chronic insomnia (it's my dad's fault) and I forget what-all else. So mostly pictures today!

These are pictures from Miranda's 5th birthday party a couple weeks ago. It was a gymnastics party, and grownups were invited to play too. We did, as you can see. Actually, it looks like only M played, but that's only because I had possession of the camera most of the time. I played too, trust me! You can't keep me off a trampoline!

Both kids in the foam pit -- you ran down a long skinny trampoline then bounced into this. It was awesome, although I have to say it was a lot harder for us grownups to get out of the foam pit than it was for the little monkeys -- they sort of floated on top while we sank to the bottom.



That's the birthday girl in purple:

I busted Z getting into Miranda's makeup after the party: she looks awfully pleased with herself, doesn't she?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Universal health care: a first-hand account

This is a post by a friend-of-a-friend, an American living in Germany. She describes in detail the universal health care available there, and makes some interesting comparisons between the state of health care in Germany and the U.S. It's a good read and should dispel some of the unfounded fears about universal health care that seem to be floating around.

While we're at it, this is a good place to find out whether all the rumors floating around about the proposed government option are true or not. Politifact.com is run by the St. Petersburg Times and won a Pulitzer Prize this year for its investigative reporting in the 2008 election. They do a bang-up job of ferreting out the truth, half-truth and lies in what all sorts of politicians and talking-heads say, and they are completely nonpartisan. They rip President Obama just as often as Sarah Palin!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

B's first day of kindergarten


I dropped B off for his first full day of kindergarten this morning, and it was awful. He was fine right up until he had to go through the door of his classroom, and then he started crying and clinging to me. He had to be literally pulled off me and taken into the room. Of course, all this made me cry too, but I think B was too miserable to notice.

Z and I went down to the parent lounge to wait a few minutes, then went back to peek in to see if he was doing better. He wasn't. All the kids were sitting in a circle, playing a name game, and B was at a table in the back of the room with his head down on his arms, with the head of school talking to him. I waited around until she came out, and she told me that she'd promised him she'd go back later in the morning, and if he was still having a hard time, she'd take him for a walk outside.

He went yesterday for just about two and a half hours, and I guess he cried a little bit then too, but he called me afterward (I was at work) to tell me he "LOVED kindergarten!" I'm hoping today goes the same way.

Poor little dude. Change is hard.



Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunflowers

The kids and I spotted this from the highway on the way up to my mom & dad's last weekend. We had to drive all the way around it, keeping it in view the whole way, in order to get close enough to take a picture without trespassing.


There is nowhere in the world I'd rather be at this time of the year than Colorado.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The amazing B

My creation
Three things B has done this weekend that have blown me away:

1. He figured out how to swim. All four of us went to the pool yesterday, and after years of swimming lessons and a gradually shrinking fear of the water, B is now fearless, and he can swim.

2. He gets multiplication and fractions! This morning, he asked me how long it was until Halloween. I said about two and a half months. It took him all of three seconds to say "So that's ten weeks then?" You could've knocked me over with a feather!

3. He summitted our backyard mountain. He's been taking walks and mini-hikes on it for years, but today, he went all the way to the top with me. I am thrilled that B likes to hike and is developing the stamina for some real hiking, because it's one of my favorite things to do, and of course I'd love to do it with one of my favorite people on earth!

Upcoming amazing feat by B: Kindergarten, starting Wednesday!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friends


The more time goes by, the better B & Z get along with one another. I'm not saying it's perfect -- they are still brother & sister and spats are inevitable -- but they play together much more than they did a year ago, and there are way fewer instances of sibling abuse. B is no longer looking for opportunities to get rid of her, and actually seems to like her most of the time. Z thinks B hung the moon.

I do have to disclose, however, that just about half an hour ago, Z somehow managed to bite B on the chest in the middle of what seemed like a happy game of ring-around-the-rosies. She bit him hard, so hard that it broke the skin. I hope this doesn't lead to antibiotics...Oh yeah, and see that little scab on Z's chin in the photo? That's where B scratched her.

So no, it's not perfect, but they are doing so much better than they were. Anyway, perfection would be boring, wouldn't it?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Twinnalicious


Aren't they just adorable?! It's hard to believe that B was once that tiny. These little guys are almost exactly the same size he was when he was born.

Andrew Tyler was born at 9:55am this morning, and was followed a minute later by his identical twin Samuel Steuart. Both little monkeys are doing well from what I hear, as is my sister. I can't wait to get out there next month and hug them and squeeze them and smell their sweet baby smell!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

STFU or GTFO

UPDATE: This link was just too good to pass up. Or too bad. It's terrifying, is what it is.

This post has been brewing for awhile. This morning Hayley asked me to rein her in before she did an angry post on the teabagging anti-health care tools (from now just to be called "The Tools," because it's a lot easier to type), and I told her I was the wrong woman for that job because I was about to explode too. Fasten your seatbelts...please keep your hands inside the ride at all times...here we go...

Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.

I don't know who said it -- apparently not Thomas Jefferson, but maybe Howard Zinn? Anyway, it's been thrown around a lot lately by The Tools whenever someone objects to their highly objectionable behavior at the many townhall meetings that have been going on around the country. I happen to agree with this quote, regardless of its source. Dissent is patriotic. Democracy works best when everyone stands up for their own informed opinion [keyword: informed]. I lived by this phrase for eight looooong years as I watched W dismantle our Bill of Rights, engage in an illegal and unjust war, and cut taxes for the richest Americans in order to drive up the deficit in his attempt to kill government. And I respect any person who wants to offer a thoughtful and informed dissent to my opinions. I will listen, I will think about it, and who knows? Maybe I'll learn something or even change my mind. It's been known to happen.

But this is not dissent, it is not patriotic, and it is not democratic. It's rude and disrespectful, not only to the members of Congress who are holding these meetings, but to every person in the audience and every person who has to watch it on the news (like me). It is designed to inhibit the free exchange of ideas and honest questions by people who want thoughtful answers. The Tools are not dissenting; they are preventing dissent. I'll bet you all the money in my savings account (sorry, but it's not that much) that these are the same yahoos who were yelling "Kill him!" and the n-word at McCain-Palin rallies last fall. I know for a fact that at least some of them are the same @$$holes who held those dumb teabagger parties earlier in the spring, because I'm afraid that I'm related to a few of them and get their irrational and hate-filled emails. Or at least I did, until I marked them spam, and now gmail ever-so-kindly delivers them straight to my spam inbox and I never have to see them.

What are The Tools trying to achieve by this disruption? They want to make sure that nobody gets to hear just how sane, rational, affordable, humane and practical a government-sponsored health care option would be. Why don't they want us to hear those details? Because they know we'll like it, and we'll want it, and we'll make sure we get it. So who would be opposed to a government-sponsored health care plan? Uhhhhh, the health insurance companies? That's the obvious answer. They're the ones who stand to lose. A competitive government-run option would be appealing to a lot of people, and I imagine many of them would dump their hella-expensive private insurance that refuses to cover most of their health issues anyway and snap up the government option. I heard a tool on the radio yesterday saying, "We're just ordinary people who don't like this idea. How many health insurance executives or lobbyists do you think there are in those crowds? None." True. They wouldn't want someone to step on their Gucci loafers now, would they? And yet...I found it fascinating that a former insurance executive is organizing and funding The Tools. Read about it yourself here.

Another tidbit I found fascinating, yet perplexing: Obama's health care proposal is least popular among senior citizens. Hmmmm...don't senior citizens have Medicare? What is Medicare? Single-payer government-sponsored health care! GTFO, hypocrites. It's good enough for you, but not for the rest of us? You can have universal government health care, but the rest of us can go without? It reminds me of this. Jon Stewart is brilliant. He actually got ultra-conservative talking head Bill Kristol to admit that the government runs a "first-class health care system" for our military (gasp! a conservative admitted that government-run health works!), but that the rest of us don't deserve it. Tool.

So, you tools of the ultra-right, of the growing American corporatocracy, go home. We don't want you at any more town hall meetings. Some of us actually want to discuss the merits and flaws of universal, government-run health care. We want to hear varying opinions, criticism, praise, and analysis. We want to make up our own minds. We want to have a hand in shaping what eventually comes out of Congress. But we can't hear over all your shouting! In other words, we grownups are trying to have a conversation, and your two year-old hissy fits are preventing it. STFU, or GTFO.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Thursday, August 6, 2009

What the....??

At about 1:30 this morning, I woke up to an annoying and insistent sound. I laid there for a few minutes listening before I figured out what it was. "Oh, it's just Kenai playing with his squeaky ball." It stopped and I fell back asleep. But the instant it started again, I sat up in bed, wide awake this time. Unless Kenai had learned to open doors and let himself out (trust me, he's not that smart), something else was playing with his squeaky ball in the backyard.

I got out of bed and tiptoed downstairs. I stood in the dark and looked at the backyard until I saw it: a fox. It jumped up on our fence, walked along the top, then jumped down into the yard behind us.

Who knew a fox would play with dog toys?!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

iRun

Goal #1 was 50 miles in July; I ran 62.1.
Goal #2 was to shave 30 seconds off my pace; I shaved 21 seconds. Since I exceeded goal #1 by 25%, I think I'm OK not quite making it to goal #2.
Goal #3 is to be able to run 10 miles by mid-September. Since I met my secret goal #4 on the last day of July -- run a 10K -- I am feeling optimistic about reaching goal #3.

My August goals:

1. Get faster. I'm going to add one interval run per week to my routine, and hope to cut 24 seconds off my average pace by the end of the month. M swears by this four-minute program he read about: run at your maximum for 20 seconds, then rest 10 seconds; repeat eight times. He says everyone he's read about who tried it got faster. I'll give it a try, but I may die. At least I'll try it on a track, instead of on single-track up the mountain like he did. Nutcase.

2. Continue to keep my miles up. Since I'm really working on speed this month, I'm going to keep the goal for my monthly total at 50 miles.

3. Run another 10K at the end of the month, and run it faster than I did in July. How much faster? I don't care. Just faster.

4. And still aiming to be able to run 10 miles by mid-September.