Thursday, December 29, 2005

One year

January 2005 -> June 2005 -> December 2005

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Sometimes I talk too much

Scene: Brad Paisley's "I'm gonna miss her" starts playing on the radio

Kevin: What's this [song] about?

Me: It's about a man who likes to fish. He really likes to fish. A lot.

Kevin: Oh.

Me (instead of stopping talking like I should have): He goes fishing too much, actually.

Kevin: Why he go fishing too much?

Me: It's too much because his wife thinks that he should be home more and spending more time with her.

Kevin: Why he go fishing too much?

Me: He really likes to fish. But it's too much because he's not at home with his wife enough.

Kevin: Why he not at home?

Me: Because he's fishing.

Kevin: Why he go fishing?

Me: He really likes to fish.

Kevin: Why he like to fish?

Me: Fishing is fun.

Kevin: Oh.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

West Side Story

For his birthday, I gave Andy 2 tickets to see West Side Story at the Lyric Opera House. Andy said that the real present was that I was using the second ticket rather than sending someone else with him because he knows how much I don't appreciate musicals. We had a nice time and were grateful that my parents came to babysit, including putting Kevin to bed. We've only had one other person ever put Kevin to bed and that was Elesa when she stayed with us for a few days last spring. He did great both times but he's had so many sleep-related security issues that we're very careful about switching things up on him. Enough about Kevin, though, back to West Side Story.

I thought we were in the high-falutin' crowd because we were in the orchestra section but there were kids there and people in jeans as well as the more high-falutin' looking people. The seats really were great - we were at the actors' level just left of center and there was nobody sitting in the seats directly in front of us for 3 rows. If you're short, you'll realize how much of a difference that can make even when the seating area is ramped.

The show started with the 2 gangs dancing and it was difficult thinking of them as tough when they were prancing around in tight jeans. I kept reminding myself to keep my mind open - 1) it was a musical and 2) who says men in tight jeans who dance like that can't have street cred? Andy told me afterward that during the first scene with the guys dancing he thought to himself, "Oh man, Dianne must love this."

There were parts of the show that I really liked. I mostly liked the women dancing in those floofy skirts because they were bright colors and the dances were fun. I thought the timing within the group dances should've been more together and the actress playing Maria had a fine voice but it was too opera-like for the grit of the story. Andy thought "I like to be in America" could've been more "punchy" (his word) and that the actor playing Tony had a nice voice but lacked acting skills. The actress playing Anita was great - we both enjoyed her singing and dancing.

And yes, when we got home all was well.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

May the peace of Christ be entrenched in your heart, mind and soul and throughout our world. Happy Birthday, Jesus.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Picture parade

Because you know you want to see more pictures of my kid

This ornament is last year's birthday gift from Kevin to Andy so the photo is from shortly after Kevin came home a year ago.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Need legal documents without the legal fees? Call me.

Oh, I'm good. I always knew it but it's best for my social life if I don't flaunt it, you know? Last night I was typing up a motion to the court for the return of our original documents handed into the court clerk's office and then to the master's office to prepare for our readoption hearing and I found online an example motion for the district court of Clark County, Nevada. Our hearing was nowhere near Nevada but I figured the basic information that needed to be in our motion would be the same.

We met with the master this morning in the Circuit Court of Howard County, MD, and she said, "Wow, you're better than an attorney - they never give up the originals" as she held up Kevin's Guatemalan birth certificate. "Well," I responded, "I was told that's how it had to be. We are planning to request that they be returned to us." She answered that I'd have to file a motion and I told her that I'd brought a written request with us. She said, "Well, you'll need to do it in motion format." "Oh, but I did," I answered with a snooty smile. Actually, no - it was more like, "I tried to do that; who can look at it and let me know if it is acceptable?" She looked at it and said, "This will be just fine! You can file it in the clerk's office downstairs." "Suh-weet!!" I said. Or something to that effect.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Leaders need followers and followers need leaders

I'm in between when it comes to being a leader vs. being a follower. I prefer to follow and I play that role
very well until something goes awry or nothing gets done - then I get sucked into the vacuum of
"nothing-getting-done-ness" and take over until I resent the position and get mad
at everyone else in the group/team/meeting/etc and force someone else to take
over by spitting flames out of my nostrils.

Kevin is a follower of grand proportions. That's not entirely true as he is happy to boss Andy and me
around 24 hours a day but when it comes to anybody else, he's a shadow.

The other day we went to a friend's house (the sledding friend from a previous post) and both boys
(Kevin and T) waited for someone else to start the playing. T's mom and I helped start things up and then
we watched for them to take over. Didn't happen. Kevin and T waited for someone else to keep up the playing
as well! That surely didn't make for a relaxing playdate for me, let me tell you.

We went to lunch at a McDonald's with an indoor playground and although Kevin is now super-happy to climb
to the top and slide down the big, twisty slide 20 times in a row, he wouldn't do it because T
wouldn't do it. They'd get halfway up and T would start back down the steps and Kevin would follow. I
tried to get Kevin to lead T to the small slide to get him acclimated but at the slightest hint of retreat
by T, Kevin would retreat in kind.

There's only so much energy that can be burned up taking one step up on the toddler slide and leaning over
it to reach the floor on the other side. It wasn't until T's mom and I said, "Three more turns and then
we're leaving" that Kevin, without even looking at anybody, took off to the steps and made his
way up to the big slide for his 3 turns.

Next time I'll say when we get there, "Twenty more turns and then we're leaving!"

Oh how I love macro photography

I could look at these photos for hours. Well, maybe a minute each. On third thought, probably 30 seconds - but that's way longer than I usually look at anybody's (including my) photographs.

On Location with Rick Lee

Friday, December 16, 2005

I'm such a sap

We all know that I will be really sad when we get rid of my truck. It was the first vehicle I owned. I've had it since my senior year of college so we've been through a lot together. I wasn't expecting the same sort of reaction to getting rid of an old, dusty textbook, but it happened.

Last night I received an email message from saying that one of my old textbooks that I listed a few weeks ago had sold. I was seriously excited as I hadn't expected any of them to sell. They're from 1990-1994 and most of them were used at the time and the versions are quite out of date. I bounced around and told Andy about it and then I looked to see which book it was - Discrete Mathematics! I felt a pang of something inside - something that made me want to refund the buyer's money and keep the book all to myself. But why? I hated that class! I squeaked by with a C (squeaked because a C or better was required as it was within my major) only because the whole class did so poorly that we all got bumped up a few tens of points so that good ol' Professor Kanal wouldn't have to give us all F's.

So anyway, I wondered what made me feel anything about this book? Maybe it was the penciled note inside the back cover that said, "Are you almost done? I'm going to turn mine in now - I'll wait for you outside" which I probably wrote to my first boyfriend, who I met in that class, during an open-book exam. Maybe I just miss the feeling of complete cluelessness that first semester of college after being so smart and scholarly in high school. No, I doubt I miss that.

Whatever it was, it caught me off-guard and I am so ashamed of it that I had to post it here for all the world to see. I mean, if I can't embarass myself in front of you all, then what's the point of having a blog anyway?

Monday, December 12, 2005

There's always something more to learn

Last Friday when we were sledding back at our house after Kevin became Mr. Daredevil at our friends' house, I learned a valuable lesson. When pulling someone down a hill to give them more speed to catch more air over a jump, you should let up on the rope while the person is in mid-air. Otherwise, the saucer might be pulled out from under the person and they might land with their face in the ice-crusted snow resulting in, oh, about 30 cuts on his or her face, all oozing a drop or two of blood.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

You're a what?

Andy's Dad: Aaay, Muchacho!

Kevin: I'm not a chacho - I'm Kevin.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Who are you and what have you done with my cautious son?

Overheard today while sledding:

  • "Mama, push me into the table!"

  • "I want to sled all the way into the street!

  • "Can I sled down into the water and go 'splash'?"

  • "Faster? Yeah, let's do it!"

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Top 2 reasons why my truck is better than the van

1) it's a stick shift

2) I determine how much hot air blows out of the heater rather than the cabin temperature being determined by an automatic, digital-thermostatically-controlled
system that blows cold air as soon as I get warm unless I turn the temperature to 85 degrees, which makes no sense, or I turn the system off, which the owner's manual warns me not to do for long or else we will all die of suffocation or Legionnaire's Disease

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Be our king of peace

O come, Desire of nations, bind

In one the hearts of all mankind;

Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,

And be Thyself our King of Peace.

"O Come, O Come Emmanuel", translated from Latin to English by John M. Neale, Mediaeval Hymns, 1851

Monday, December 05, 2005

Songs in the key of tone-deafness

Consider the following song that I made up for Kevin when he asked me to sing a song about one of the cars in his zoo train set, sung to the tune of "Frere Jacques"/"Are You Sleeping?":

You have that train car

You have that train car

It is a gorilla!

It is a gorilla!

"Oogh, oogh, oogh" is what they say

"Oogh, oogh, oogh" is what they say

Drag your knuckles

Drag your knuckles

Pretty good, no? Well here's his rendition of it about an available car for his train set that he doesn't have:

You don't have that train car

You don't have that train car

It is a butterfly!

It is a butterfly!

(break)---Mama! What does a butterfly say? I respond, "I don't know, maybe it's wings sometimes sound like, "fth fth fth" when it's flying?"---(end break)

"Fth fth fth" is what they say

"Fth fth fth" is what they say

Drag your butterfly knuckles

Drag your butterfly knuckles

Christmas Shopping

A friend asked me the other day if we're done shopping for Kevin for Christmas. I replied, "Finished? We haven't even started." She looked blankly at me not knowing whether I was joking or not, so I clarified for her (and horrified her?) by saying that last year, we only gave him one present and it was a hand-me-down from a friend's kid.

On the other hand, we're being a good aunt and uncle for once. We have a nephew and niece in Missouri who never hear from us, even on their birthdays. I don't think we sent them presents last Christmas either. That wouldn't be a big deal except that their family always sends us and Kevin presents for every holiday. Now we get along great with them when we see them, usually once a year, so it's not like they're long-lost relatives or anything. I showed Andy what I bought them today at the mall and I asked if he thought they'd mind that we didn't spend much money on them. He said that he thinks they'll be happy to know that we realize they exist no matter how little we spent.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Get your applesauce

Today our church had Christmas on the Farm which includes picking up pre-ordered Christmas trees, wreaths and roping, hayrides, bake sale and craft sale. I was part of the craft sale and I sold homemade applesauce. I had made applesauce before but this was the first time I'd canned it. That part was lots of fun and I look forward to canning some other things (like tomatoes and maybe pickles) next year.

Anyway, I sold about 2/3 of the jars that I took. I don't feel like looking at my list of how many quarts and pints I made so you really have no idea how many that was, do you? Oh well. I'm pretty much done with applesauce for right now. I still have some jars that I can give away as gifts and we will eat the leftovers as well. What was cool was that everybody who tried a sample bought some.

Andy sold some of his leftover jewelry and some beaded candle holders, too. It's neat to see how much people love his creations.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I suppose it is better for lots of things in life

Kevin had a playdate yesterday with a new friend and they got along really well. We walked to
the park and the kids laughed and ran around the playground. There was a wide slide and when the
kids were sitting at the top ready to go down side-by-side, the girl said, "It's better if you hold
hands" so she grabbed Kevin's hand and they giggled and shrieked down the slide together. "Let's do
that again!" Kevin said and that turned out
to be fun for about 15 more trips! When it was time to go home they held hands and ran up the

Monday, November 28, 2005

I'm so proud

We just had to cut Kevin off from my reggae music because he was dancing himself into a frenzy and it's almost time for bed. Sweet.

The Healing Power of Splitting Wood

My grandfather logged as a side job of sorts but I didn't know much about it when I was a kid. My mom always told me that his father was in a wheelchair with debilitating arthritis and Grandpa kept logging and splitting wood as a way to keep the arthritis in his back at bay so that the same thing wouldn't happen to him.

When I started camping with Andy, he would split wood for the campfire and he handed me the splitter one time and said to give it a try. I was scared but got some easy pieces so that I didn't have to swing much as I was afraid of missing and splitting my shin bone off the rest of my leg.

Many years later, I am now a more seasoned (pun intended) splitter of wood and let me tell you, I understand why Andy's first inclination when he's mad is to go to the log pile and wail on some wood. I've gained the confidence to swing the splitter over my head and bring it down with all of my momentum and I haven't recently met a (reasonable) log I couldn't split.

People ask why we aren't filling our fireplace with a thermostatically-controlled natural gas stove or even a pellet stove. Our first answer is that we like the crackling sound and smoky smell of a "real" fire but we have to admit that we also like - love, really - the natural act of preparing the wood and building the fire.

There's something about feeling all of your energy flow up through your body, out your hands, into the sledge and down into the log that appears impenetrable but which splits into pieces like a toothpick when you pound it. Maybe it's just the endorphins that are released. Maybe it's just that I feel powerful. Maybe it's the connection I have to days gone by when people had to split wood and use fire for all of their heating and cooking.

I'm beginning to wonder if Grandpa had more in mind by keeping up with his logging than just keeping his back limber. I don't recall seeing him get angry with Grandma but I'm sure he did (and his 3 daughters) and maybe he just needed to be by himself and whack some logs to keep his sanity.

Mr. Grandma

My Mom: Why are you bouncing around so much, Mr. Kevin?

Kevin: I'm not bouncing around so much, Mr. Grandma!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

You never know

Two years ago we hosted both sides of our families on Thanksgiving. Andy came up with the idea of having a turkey drawing contest. Contestants would trace their hand with a crayon and then decorate it to look like a turkey. Entries were taped to the dining room wall and then we gave out prizes for the "best" drawings. One nephew, who was 2 1/2 at the time, won an extension cord from the dollar store. We heard tonight from his parents that he wouldn't let anyone else use it ("It's MINE!") and that he slept with it for months. You read that right... months. Who would've thought?

Cleaning before guests arrive makes little sense

Our Thanksgiving guests have gone and Kevin is snug in bed. We did a fair amount of cleaning up while the family was here but there is plenty left to do. We don't mind as we really enjoy hosting people at our house and most that goes with it. However, I realized while looking at the mess that it's not just about dirty dishes but about dirty floors, toys scattered around and sticky messes on the table. Why, then, did we work so hard last night and this morning to prepare our house for visitors by cleaning? It was fairly pointless considering that we have to do it all again. It would make much more sense to just clean AFTER the guests have left rather than trying to make the house look good before people arrive.

Whose idea was it to clean a house before a party? That just makes no sense.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Good and the Bad

Good: It snowed tonight! We had about an inch accumulate on the cars and bushes. Yay, snow!!

Bad: We have an early Thanksgiving guest whom we did not invite. Some sort of (presumed) rodent is clattering around in the wall behind our fridge between the kitchen and basement steps. We'll hope he/she doesn't make an appearance while our holiday guests are here.

Monday, November 21, 2005

My new favorite website

Raptor wins again

Andy took this photo of a Red-tailed Hawk devouring a squirrel it caught in our neighbor's yard. It was the same week that we saw a Cooper's Hawk nab, pluck and eat a Goldfinch from our feeder and that we saw a Red-shouldered Hawk eat a rodent while standing on our clothesline pole such that it dripped some of the, um, juices, down the pole.

I Am 3 Years, Going on 17....

More Ovaltine Mom, pleeeease

Kevin thoroughly enjoyed is first Ovaltine chocolate malt beverage at Will & Beth's house.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Sunday, November 13, 2005

We just adopted him, so....

I've realized recently that I haven't had a need to explain that Kevin is adopted very often anymore. Most of the times that it comes up are when there is a timing issue, such as when people would ask questions shortly after he was here assuming that because he was 2 1/2 years old, I'd known him that long, and I'd have to say that we adopted him and he'd only been here such and such amount of time and that's why I didn't know what they were talking about.

Today at the reception at church we met Matthew, the new pastor, and we introduced Kevin. No need came up to mention that we adopted him and I realized that felt nice. I don't mind telling anyone that we adopted him but it was nice that it wasn't an issue and that I didn't have to feel like I was lying by not mentioning it and making some excuse to explain something that didn't make sense. There was just no need.

Then we were at the playground this afternoon and I was talking to some parents there and we discovered that we moved into the area around the same time. Their son is close to Kevin's age so I commented that it must've been pretty stressful to move while 8 1/2 months pregnant. It never dawned on me that they'd be doing the math, too, and coming up with the fact that we moved when Kevin was 6 months old. Well, maybe we did, but he was in Guatemala so he didn't factor into our move very much!

Clearly the need to mention his adoption comes more infrequently these days and that is a "normalizing" sort of thing. There will always be times that it comes up but it won't be so common to have to mention it (or lie, which I don't do very well.) I wasn't expecting this to be such a settling thing and it's a nice surprise.

Officially met the new pastor

A couple of months ago our church hired a new senior pastor, Matthew. He and his family are moving here from England but haven't yet sold their house so he's not working for us yet. This week they're here visiting to get a feel for some local neighborhoods in order to eventually buy a house here and get their kids in school, etc. After church today we had a reception to officially welcome them to our conregation and it was the first time Andy and I talked to Matthew. I feel better now because although I don't expect him to remember our names or where we live or any of that stuff, we've met. He's heard our names and seen our smiling faces. And when we moved to the other side of the room and he came around meeting people, he remembered that he'd met us 30 minutes and 25 people prior.

Also impressive was his comment that they know our congregation will support them and that we're allowed to register our opinions with him. I know that Brian, our out-going senior pastor, has to say that we're not to complain and we're to be 100% supportive but, honestly, I've heard him say that about too many things and it creates a feeling, at least with me, that I'm not allowed to ever disagree with something about our church. I do have negative opinions of some things and I'm sure everybody does. I don't expect that most of them matter a whole lot because it's not like a large group of people can all be satisfied at the same time. I realize that. But I also realize that when people have bad feelings about what's going on with something very important and they're not allowed to share that, they'll feel very separated.

I do intend to support Matthew and Lisa and their kids and I intend not to complain about things that really shouldn't matter. But when something does matter, I intend to expect my opinion to be registered and I think that will happen with Matthew at the helm.

I have low expectations in the sense that I don't want to expect too much when all I could be is disappointed, but I have high expectations in the sense that I won't be surprised if Matthew does a really, really good job leading our congregation.

Another lesson learned

Kevin is learning not to play with things over top of an open toilet, especially not while it's flushing. The marker was our first foreign-object-down-the-pipes situation.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


The world would be a better place if God hadn't broken the mold after creating you.

Lessons Learned

I'm canning applesauce to sell at a "craft fair" at our church in a few weeks and I wanted to decorate the jars with a piece of fabric over the lid tied with a ribbon. I needed something apple-related in a small print because each piece would be small. We checked out the local quilting store assuming they'd have the perfect design. True enough, they did (in multiple colors, even!) It wasn't until the saleslady was cutting my second yard of fabric that I realized I didn't know how much it cost. I checked the end of the bolt she was using and my eyes widened. Next time, I'll try Wal-Mart first and the quilting store as a last resort.

Ask Kevin what he learned today at the hardware store and he'll tell you that he shouldn't put his finger into a small hole because it may not come back out easily.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Disaster Averted

On Sunday afternoon we attended a birthday party for my college roommate's 1-yr old son. Kevin joined in some of the fun with the other kids there, throwing balloons around, running in circles and ganging up with balloons on the oldest boy who took everything in stride. Then came time for the goodie bags to be handed out and there was a special treat. A well-dressed Storm Trooper made an appearance to hand out the bags!

Perhaps I've mentioned previously that Kevin is afraid of costumed characters, won't wear costumes, doesn't want us to wear costumes, etc. You can imagine his distaste of the Storm Trooper!

He ran screaming and crying from the front of the room and I recall leaping over a few tables and some startled grandparents to get to him because he couldn't see us. I carried him, shrieking, out of the building. He continued screaming with tears running down his contorted face for what seemed like an eternity and he kept yelling that he wanted to go home, he wanted to get in the van, he wanted to sit in the van by himself, he WANTED TO GO HOME. I didn't feel comfortable just leaving like that and then I came up with what might be my most brilliant parenting move yet.

I went back inside (Andy was outside with Kevin) and waited until all of the families had taken their pictures with the Storm Trooper and I asked him if he could take off his helmet and talk to Kevin so that he could see that he was a real person wearing a costume. The man (it's funny to say that as he is my friend's little brother's friend from high school but technically he is a man now) was very happy to make things better for Kevin so he took off his helmet keeping the rest of the suit on and peeked out the door to say "Hi" to Kevin. We spent a few minutes pointing out that he was just a man in a costume and that he was really very nice and he talked well to Kevin.

After that was over, Kevin wanted to see the man without any of the costume on so we waited around until he came back out and then Kevin couldn't get over the fact that he was wearing his ball cap backwards. "Why he have that backwards?" "Why he wearing his hat backwards?" "Why he wearing it like that?" Without any screaming and crying, we figured we could just explain away the hat conundrum without an intervention.

Kevin still talks about the man in the costume and he seems to be processing it well. Earlier in the year he talked for months about the Easter Bunny that we saw at the mall so I'd say he's doing ok. I'm glad that we were able to avert the almost guaranteed nightmares he would've had from that well-meaning Storm Trooper.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh!

I'm trying not to post during work but this can't be kept to myself. I was just offered a chance to play on a women's ice hockey team that is just starting up with some new players! Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh!

I probably won't do it as I'd likely need to drop volleyball and it would be more expensive than volleyball. But, wow, can you imagine??

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

We left with a different child than we arrived with

The host of tonight's party said Kevin was "friendly" as a quizzical look passed his face. Another good friend said she didn't recognize Kevin tonight. What was different? He was being personable! He was social! He was touching other people! He talked to people he didn't know! Perhaps we gave him 4 glasses of punch from the wrong bowl. He was raring to go for the couple of hours we were there (after a very short warm-up period) and he kept playing happily with various people all night. He was wired when we left the party so we expected that he may not fall asleep on the drive home. Then before even being buckled into his carseat, his eyes turned glassy and his jaw went slack. In 90 seconds from walking out the door to putting him in the car, he had turned from party animal into zombie. I said to Andy, "Oh no - it's almost as if he was energized by..." and then together we slowly mouthed, "PEOPLE." Our Myers-Briggs "I-ness" twitched nervously the whole way home.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Programming Humor

I know that most of my readers aren't programmers but this is for those of you that are. It's one place I hope to never be recognized should I show up on the front page.

The Daily WTF

Monday, October 31, 2005

He cracks me up

I try to leave the blogs that I regularly read in my blogroll on the side of my page without advertising them directly in a post. However, I really think that if you enjoy humor, you should go see Geese Aplenty. I can't remember reading a post of his that I haven't at least chuckled at and most of the time, I laugh outright.

I hate it when that happens

Don't you hate it when you silently complain about your husband's lack of attention to detail when he parks the truck right on the edge of the driveway so that you have to walk in the dew-covered grass and get your shoes wet and then he forgets to unlock the passenger side door when he knows that you have to put the carseat in there tonight and then you remember that he didn't go to work today and that you were the last one to drive the truck last night and park it on the edge of the driveway and leave the passenger door locked? Yeah, me too.

Friday, October 28, 2005


I've posted previously about freecycling but I recently threw my hat back into the ring attempting to get rid of a few things without having to just send them to the landfill. Now, I understand that nobody wanted a broken freezer. Crazier things have been taken on the local freecycle list, but I'm ok with people not stampeding in a mad rush to come get our broken freezer.

I wasn't so ok with nobody wanting to take 2 brand-new Fram oil filters. They were FREE, people. Many would argue that Fram is top of the line and these were SureGrip style, with the rubbery grippy part so that your hand doesn't slide around while trying to twist it off the engine. I expected people to stampede in a mad rush to come get our brand-new Fram oil filters.

I told Andy of my bafflement and our conversation went like this.

Me: How can nobody want 2 Fram oil filters for free?

Andy: People don't change their own oil anymore.

Me: Oh, come on - I can't be the only person.

Andy: Probably not, but how many of those people also use the Internet?

I think he's onto something.

Soccer series

Ahahaha, this is fun!

Yeah, this is *really* fun!

Man, that was tiring.

I'm King of the World!

Thursday, October 27, 2005


How is it that when Kevin is playing with his Leappad and eating an apple in the backseat that he can pick up on the words to, say, AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long" but when he's doing nothing but dribbling a soccer ball around the field and the coach yells, "STOP!" he keeps going? Every time?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Left home without it

Today I was a rebel... we went out for a few hours without the diaper bag. Granted, I knew we wouldn't need the diapers but I didn't even have any extra clothes for Kevin. I probably won't do that again anytime soon, but it was my way of saying to the world, "My son has had 4 non-disastrous days in a row wearing underwear!" Not that anybody but I knew that I was out sans diaper bag, but still.

In an unrelated note, the poor kid is sick with what seems to be a cold. We're hoping that's all it is and that it doesn't get much worse. We don't want him to have to use the nebulizer again.

In another unrelated note, I dropped the digital camera we've been borrowing from one of Andy's coworkers and now it doesn't work. I coulda done without that.

They grow up so fast these days

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Another trip report

I went scrapbooking with 16 other women this weekend from Friday through Sunday. Had a fun time. Got enough done to feel productive. Got too little sleep and still feel drowsy today. I need to replenish my creative stores as they seem to have been used up by the vellum, stickers, fibers, eyelets and brads I used this weekend although by looking at the pages I did you'd wonder why I call it creativity that created them but hey that's all I've got and I also went to work today which used up some of my creative stores because our email server was down and so was our connection to the internet off and on so I had to come up with ideas of how to spend my time so that I didn't waste it working.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Trip Report

So last weekend we were in Cape May, NJ, from Friday through Monday. It was our "annual" trip there with my parents for the huge bird migration. Last year we knew we wouldn't be able to go so we went in the spring instead. We didn't know if we'd make it back anytime soon but, lo and behold, Kevin likes watching and identifying birds and being outside so we went again this year. It rained a lot but we went out anyway. Didn't see much in the way of migrating birds (they either didn't stop there or were hidden in the cover to stay out of the rain) but we had a good time. Kevin really was superb - whenever he got tired of what we were doing, he'd occupy himself with something like playing in the dirt or sand or whatever. We ate all of our dinners at restaurants and he remained on excellent behavior there as well. We played miniature golf and he had a good time. He still talks about it and says that he wants to go again.

This weekend I'm going scrapbooking with a bunch of friends. I'll leave tomorrow and return on Sunday afternoon in time to throw my stuff into the house, scarf down some dinner and then head back out for a volleyball double-header. I am considering taking my bike with me - I can't remember the last time I rode my road bike without the trailer attached. That would involve taking all my gear, too, so I don't know whether I will or not.

Let's hope that I get some scrapbooking done this weekend - some progress would be nice. I don't work on my scrapbooks at home anymore and I can't recall the last time I made a card.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Cape May, NJ (October 7-10, 2005)

What Dianne Needs

This is so good that I'm posting it before anything else interesting such as a description of our very rainy and non-birdy birding weekend in Cape May and pictures from said weekend.

This is most recently from Betsy. The task: Google "[your name] needs". Here's what came up first for me:

  • Dianne needs to understand also the struggles of African-Americans could be helped and I say,could be helped,by marriage.

  • Dianne needs lots of reassurance that she is worth loving.

  • Dianne needs state President reports for the year by June 6

  • Dianne needs to know about lifestyle changes

  • Dianne needs to get her facts straight, dumb chick

  • Dianne needs a healing and God's strength.

  • Dianne needs support and not discord

  • Dianne needs to start getting some idea of how many people may show up

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Changing the Oil and Filter

Yesterday I attempted to change the oil in the van but needed help finding the drain plug so I consulted the owner's manual. I was pleasantly surprised that it actually showed a picture of where the drain plug was however I also found this:

Changing the oil and filter requires special tools and access form underneath the vehicle. The vehicle should be raised on a service station-type hydraulic lift for this service. Unless you have the knowledge and proper equipment, you should have this maintenance done by a skilled mechanic.

I'm sure if I worked for the Honda legal team I'd understand this as more than just a blatant ploy for more money from their customers. Changing the oil REQUIRES a hydraulic lift??

Monday, October 03, 2005

Bribery works

Kevin is officially toilet training. It still boggles my mind that we as intelligent, upright-walking beings with opposable thumbs have to train to use the toilet.

What method are we using? Bribery. We're not calling it our "incentive plan" or "reward plan" - it's plain old bribery and we don't feel cheap because we're doing it. Why? Because it's working. It's the only thing that has worked so far.

I won't go into details because, well, it's toilet training. It's not like it's fluffy bunnies training or happy wet-nosed dogs training. Who wouldn't want to hear about those things? But toilet training? Not so much. I will be sure to let you know when it's done and maybe a milestone or two in the middle but I promise to keep it clean. Haha.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

One year ago, we met Kevin

It was a year ago tomorrow (Oct 2nd) that we met Kevin. It kind of seems like yesterday which is weird because the first 6 or so months felt like forever. My first post after we returned home is here and it includes some information about our trip.

We couldn't figure out what to do to celebrate our anniversary (and we don't know what to call it... Family Together Day? Family Unification Day? something that can be used for future kids' celebrations, too.) I found on the Web a Guatemalan restaurant in Silver Spring but the day got away from us and we couldn't get down there in time for dinner. We ended up eating at a Mexican restaurant near us and Kevin filled up on milk and tortilla chips and didn't eat any (I mean ANY) of his meal. Andy and I reminisced about our trip to Guatemala and told Kevin about it and there was no mistaking either of our recollections of the ginormous amount of food that Kevin ate while we were there. Times have certainly changed and that's a good thing. Kevin knows (consciously and subconsciously) that we will continue to provide him food and that there will be more food available. So, he felt perfectly fine not eating a single bite of his dinner even though in Guatemala he ate more than any of us adults could even dream of eating. That behavior continued until about the 8th month he was home when he started to feel comfortable leaving food on his plate if we said that we'd save it for him.

Kevin is now sleeping in his bed all comfy and snug. It's nice that he likes to fall asleep when he needs to and that we don't have to carry him until he grudgingly falls into unconsciousness. And although it's tiring to hear "Mama!" or "Papa!" in the middle of the night, it's better than seeing him as we did in Guatemala laying in bed at 3:00 am wringing his hands and compulsively scratching his arms but not saying a word.

We look forward to many more Family Something Day celebrations in the years to come when it will be even harder to remember the way things used to be, when we met Kevin.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Outdoor Life Network

When I was younger, I wanted cable TV for MTV and HBO. Then I wanted it for Discovery Channel and HBO. Now I don't want cable but if there was ever a reason for getting cable (or satellite) it would be Outdoor Life Network. Why? Because not only do they show the ENTIRE Tour de France, including repeats of live coverage, but they're now covering the National Hockey League.

Let's all have a moment of silence in honor of Outdoor Life Network. OLN: you rock.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

A cycling first

Today I was stopped by a flagman while riding my bike. We were headed to the playground and I stopped in a line of cars until the flagman signaled us to go. Then on the way back I was the only one on my side but there was a line waiting to come through after I made my way past the construction. I bet nobody waiting was expecting to be waiting for the likes of me on my bike towing a trailer!

Slurpee prayer

Heard today during lunch...

Dear God, please help my Slurpee not be pretend hard. Amen.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


I fluffed my hair a bit after coming home from the salon to get the crunchy feeling out of it (mousse & curl revitalizer) so it looks a bit different than in the photo. And we've had a few more hours to get used to it. I asked Andy what he thinks.

Me: So what do you think of my hair? Do I look younger? Older? Sportier? Frumpier?

Andy: Hmmm...

Me: What? Tell me what you think.

Andy: I'm trying to come up with a way to say it nicely.

Me: If it's not nice, don't make it sound nice. Tell me what you're thinking.

Andy: It's a good thing by society's standards.

Me: But I won't think so?

Andy: Well, I don't think it's good.

Me: Ok, so tell me what it is. You already know I'm not crazy about how it looks.

Andy: It looks - sophisticated... glamorous.

Me: Can I write that in my blog?

Another Locks of Love donation

When pulled straight, it was about 1.5 inches longer.

You have to wonder who is looking forward to getting a hairpiece made with that mess?

It's longer than I anticipated but we'll see how it goes. This is one of about 10 photos I took of myself when I got home from the salon and they all look weird.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


I told Betsy that I read her blog regularly so now I should answer the questions she recently answered which made me point out that I read her blog regularly.

5 things I plan to do before I die:

1. Re-visit Alaska

2. Learn Spanish relatively well

3. Have more kids

4. Accept God's grace passionately

5. Ride my bike a few thousand more miles

5 things I can do:

1. Design an efficiently normalized relational database model

2. Type fast

3. Laugh at my own jokes

4. Throw a disc (frisbee) multiple ways

5. Stick my tongue out far enough to touch my nose

5 things I cannot do:

1. Art

2. Sing well

3. Juggle

4. Run fast

5. Take criticism well

5 things that attract me to the opposite sex:

1. Kindness

2. Mouth/teeth/smile

3. Humility

4. Voice

5. Muscles

5 things I say most often:

1. That's cool.

2. mmmMMM... (a la Marge Simpson)

3. But if you don't want to, that's ok.

4. I need to check email.

5. How about YOU do that?

3 celebrity crushes (I couldn't think of 5):

1. Matthew McConaughey

2. Brad Pitt in Ocean's Twelve

3. Will Smith

5 people I want to do this next:

Anybody - I love reading this kind of thing

Monday, September 26, 2005


Credited to St. Ignatius of Loyola, as used in Sunday service yesterday. It really strikes me, especially the bold line.

Jesus, may all that is you flow into me.

May your body and blood be my food and drink.

May your passion and death be my strength and life.

Jesus, with you by my side, enough has been given.

May the shelter I seek be the shadow of your cross

Let me not run from the love which you offer.

But hold me safe from the forces of the enemy.

On each of my dyings shed your light and your love.

Keep calling to me until that day comes

When, with your saints, I may praise you forever.


That's illegal in most states

I have a stuffed animal squirrel that Andy used as a prop during his wonderful, surprising and really cool marriage proposal to me. It sits on my dresser and sometimes Kevin asks to play with it. This is how it went today.

Kevin: This your squirrel?

Me: Yes, Papa gave it to me when he asked me to marry him.

Kevin: Marry the squirrel?

Friday, September 23, 2005

Stuck in my head

I see a fire truck

A big red shiny fire truck

I see a fire truck

Coming down the street.

And... there's... a...

Noisy siren wailing on that truck!

I see a fire truck

A big red shiny fire truck

I see a fire truck

Coming down the street.

And... there... are...

Firefighters riding on that truck!

And there are firefighters riding

And a noisy siren wailing on that truck!

I see a fire truck

A big red shiny fire truck

I see a fire truck

Coming down the street.

And... there... are...

Great big fire hoses on that truck!

And there's a great big fire hose

And firefighters riding

And a noisy siren wailing on that truck!

I see a fire truck

A big red shiny fire truck

I see a fire truck

Coming down the street.

And... there's... a...

Big ol' snaky ladder on that truck!

And there's a big ol' snaky ladder

And a great big fire hose

And firefighters riding

And a noisy siren wailing on that truck!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I'm a short, overweight and timid woman - hear me roar

I drove to the playground this afternoon and was the only parent actually on the playground. The others were playing tennis and such. So when I heard the teenage boys ram their motorized scooter into the port-a-john around the corner, I knew it was up to me to nip the hooligans in the butt - er, bud. It's unlike me to stick my nose into something that doesn't actually wrap itself around my nose so this is why I have to write about it.

I decided that I'd just let my presence be known. The kids were fooling around on the other side of the trees and probably had no idea that so many people were in the park. So I held my chin up high (up to about their chests) and walked confidently (I'm a good actress) around the bend and directly toward them. Kevin followed and asked what I was doing so I said rather loudly, "I'm just seeing who is making all this noise over here and checking out their cars." I committed their makes and models to memory plus the beginning of their license plate #'s just so I would have fire power should they choose to confront me. Of course if they did, I wouldn't have stuck around long enough to show them that I'd remember them. But anyway, they pretty quickly hopped in their cars and took off, leaving their poor friend on the scooter by himself. When he realized they were leaving, he picked up the scooter and ran to catch up, losing his fashionable drawers down by his knees. It was funny watching this guy try to hold onto the scooter and his pants and run up the park road to catch up with his rapidly retreating friends.

When he was passing us Kevin asked me what he was doing. I enjoyed the moment to teach them both that, "When people do bad things, the first reaction is usually to run. That's also when you find out how true your friends really are."

One of the cars waited for the scooter guy at the top of the hill and I kept walking toward them until they took off and I couldn't see them anymore. Then I turned around to return to the playground and while feeling seriously proud and empowered, I started to shake and got light-headed.

Friday, September 16, 2005

First soccer class

I just checked out the website for the soccer program (U.K. Elite) that Kevin started yesterday and I'm a bit overwhelmed. But anyway, his first class went well. I want to write about it before I forget.

We decided to forego buying him cleats (he's 3!) but we bought the required shinguards and then found out from the coaches that they aren't necessary. Oh well, no harm in being safer and like the coaches said, it will help the kids get more used to them the longer they wear them. Coach Josh and Coach Dave both hail from the U.K. and talk funny like our friends the Greens, who just (sadly) returned to the U.K. after living here for over a year.

I had to walk Kevin over to the group to sit down but then he was ok staying there by himself. He was a step behind for awhile as he figured out what the coaches were saying to do and seeing what the other kids were doing but he hung in there. At one point he started kicking his ball and running directly to me but he was intercepted by a coach and didn't mind being guided back to the field.

Twenty-five minutes into the hour, he ran over to me and said, "I'm done. I want to go home." I asked if he wanted to go listen but not play and he again said, "No, I'm done. I want to go home. Let's go home." I told him we would sit there and watch and wait for Andy to come before leaving. He sat with me for a little under 10 minutes and after drinking a huge amount of water, I suggested he might want to go listen to the coaches even if he didn't want to play. He agreed and grabbed a ball and headed back to the group and stayed the rest of the time. When Andy arrived, Kevin ditched the ball and the field and ran over for a hug but then went back to playing pretty quickly.

He needs to learn to stop picking up the ball but otherwise, he did pretty well. I don't think he understands the coaches' instructions but he'll get there. They played some fun games and the coaches were good.

When it was time to leave, Kevin cried, "I want to stay here. Can I stay here, pleeeeease?" Then he said that the whole ride home. "Mama, pleeeeeease. I want to stay there. Pleeeeease!" That was a bit tiring but I was really glad that he'd had a good time. Now he's excited to practice with his soccer ball at home and wear his shinguards again.

I should be packing

I'm moving back and forth from the couch to my computer desk today. Nap on the couch, read email, nap on the couch, read email. I should be washing dishes or packing for camping but I really have no energy to do so. I noticed this morning while lying on the couch that my throat felt like it was closed in. I attempted to relieve the feeling by changing positions but it didn't get any better. This feeling continues.

The only other time in my life I had such a painful sore throat and a feeling that it was closed in was when I had mono. Of course when I realized this a few minutes ago, I raced (well, walked slowly but with determination) to the computer to look up whether I can get it again. Probably not, which is what I remembered reading/hearing previously. That's good, although all of the documents I read left a little window of opportunity open for a strange body to have multiple active infections in their lifetime.

Did I ever mention that my shingles was misdiagnosed by a couple of doctors? Ok, I know I did. But did I ever mention that my case of mono was also misdiagnosed by a couple of doctors? And in a university health care center setting? Sheesh. Anyway, I had a raging case of mono with the whole liver involvement thing and I had to leave school for a few weeks and drop some classes for that semester. Seems like I don't get sick very often but when I get sick, I get sick!

So I doubt I have mono but even if I do, it's not like there's anything to do about it but rest and drink lots of fluids and try to tame the symptoms, so I should just go camping this weekend with Andy and Kevin, right? I just need to let them do all the packing and setting up of camp :-)

Real self pity - not just a post *about* it

I feel like I was run over by a truck. I haven't had a fever like this in a long time and it's knocking me flat. The knives in my throat I can handle - the all over prickly, painful, stiff, sore, sweaty chilly feeling has got to go.

No work for me today and, thankfully, no Kevin for me today. He's at Magy's house. Maybe I'll get some rest and he'll have fun without cranky Mama for a day.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Self pity

I don't know whether this is normal for other people or not, but this is how being sick works for me. I might feel a little sick or a lot sick, but I'll keep going like I'm not sick until somebody officially tells me that I'm sick. Then I'm miserable.

To this day I'm still bitter about the lost self-indulgence and pity that I could've had when I had shingles a couple of years ago. Granted, I was miserable even while some doctors were telling me I had a sinus infection, but because it was "just a sinus infection," I kept going to work and doing all of my usual things. Then I found out I had shingles and I thought 1) I knew there was an explanation for my excruciating pain and I wasn't just being a wuss and 2) well NOW I can feel sorry for myself and tell other people about how bad I feel. As if I couldn't tell people had bad it really was when it was "just a sinus infection."

The same thing is happening this week. I've been sick since the end of last week with it getting progressively worse this week. My throat has been sore all day, every day - every time I swallow, it's like I'm swallowing a knife. My skin is prickly and sore all over and I'm tired and cranky. My glands have bulged such that my neck is always painful. However, I still went to work, I still took care of Kevin, I still planned packing for the camping trip and grocery shopping, etc. Then I went to the doctor today and was diagnosed with a throat infection of some sort, was told I do have a fever, was told to take both Tylenol and Advil at the same time for the pain, was told to get lots of rest, was told I'd be called if my throat culture shows up some weird strain of something, and was told not to get near to Kevin and by no means should I kiss him.

And now, I'm a sniveling, whimpering shlump of a person. Because now it's official that I'm sick and I can prove it to everybody because the doctor told me so.

Hopefully just strep

Can someone recommend a good thermometer to use at home for testing my family members' temperatures? The ones I have never seem to work. They tend to be accurate (they give the same reading under the same conditions) but they're far from precise (giving a true reading.) [Mr. Heitz, if you're out there... see, I DID listen well in high school chemistry class!]

I've been sick this week although pretending I'm not. I'm swallowing knives and the glands in my neck are now big enough that I can see them bulging out in the mirror. Ick. I've also had prickly, painful skin. That usually means a fever but, doggone it, I've checked my temperature multiple times and it never registered higher than 98.9. So, no fever. I am taking Tylenol for my sore throat but I've even taken my temperature after letting the Tylenol run out.

The knives and prickly skin and bulging glands got to be too much this morning so I went to the doctor. After taking Tylenol, my temperature was 100. I wouldn't have thought that's a big deal but the Dr. said that on Tylenol, that is defintely a fever. She swabbed my throat for a culture and put me on antibiotic. We'll find out Monday whether there's anything out of the ordinary growing in there. I surely hope not.

When I was a kid, the doctor said, "Let's do a throat culture just to see what's going on." I freaked out. Seriously freaked out. I remembered a throat culture as something different (a brown q-tip with bad-tasting stuff on it) and was quite against having that done again. When the Dr. put the long swab in and just brushed around, I was like, "Hey, that wasn't bad at all!" Then we got home and my mom and I walked down the driveway to tell my dad about the appointment and I suddenly saw the world spinning before my eyes and felt like I was moving even though I wasn't. I woke up laying on the driveway feeling really groggy and then I threw up. Fun! My mom called the doctor and he said that he was surprised that I hadn't fainted in his office as worked up as I was about the throat culture. Nothing to worry about, just nerves.

I told the Dr. today that I once fainted from getting a throat culture and she backed away and said, "Well, you just let me know when you're ready. I'll wait."

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

This is why I'm not a dentist

Kevin's tooth is not missing or broken, it's just now erupting out of his gum. How we thought he had 20 teeth before and now only 19, I don't know. He has an area of decay on his front tooth that needs to be drilled but the dentist wants to wait until he's a little older to do that. He said it'll keep growing even though we brush his teeth every day. He also said there aren't any other pitted spots to be concerned about, which is good.

Kevin is now the proud owner of a blinking toothbrush. You push on the handle and the light blinks for a minute, at which point you know you've brushed long enough.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

What's up

  • Kevin's Parks & Rec class, "Twist, Jump & Shout," was cancelled so he is now registered for U.K. Elite Petite Soccer for an hour on Thursdays. We had to buy him shin guards - I never knew they made 5-inch long shin guards. They're labeled "Size: Peewee."

  • Last Thursday Andy finally went to the climbing gym with no injury to stop him only to find a "Closed for the evening" sign on the door.

  • Last night while brushing Kevin's teeth he cried more than usual and his toothbrush came out pink. We discovered that he now has 19 teeth instead of 20. He has an appointment with the dentist tomorrow.

  • Tomorrow we have an appointment with our social worker for our 12-month post-placement report interview. Yup, we'll celebrate our 1-yr anniversary as a family in 2 weeks. Hard to believe!

  • This weekend we're planning to go camping. We spent one night in our tent on our church property but this will be our first family-only camping trip to a park.

  • I have an appointment to get my hair cut (and donate it) on Wednesday, Sept 28th. Instead of a buzz-cut like last time, I think I'll go for a round, "frumpy mom" cut.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Dear Drivers

As a cyclist I promise...

  • to do my best to signal my intentions regarding slowing down or changing course

  • to stay on the shoulder where the shoulder permits me to safely ride

  • to stay on the roadway where the shoulder does not permit me to safely ride

  • to make my presence known to you, even if that means being in your way on purpose

  • to expect that you will be annoyed by my presence and do stupid things because of your annoyance

  • to continue riding despite your annoyance because I know that while on my bike I am a) not adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, b) decreasing your health insurance premiums as I become healthier and cut down on the number of claims I make, and c) decreasing the demand for gasoline thereby increasing the supply (and reducing the price) for you

Monday, September 05, 2005

Bedtime funnies

I've always found the bedtime routine thing to be annoying. At least now there are moments of humor.

  • Tonight when I went back in his room he asked for a drink and after that he said, "Sing, Mama. 'See my vest, see my vest, ...real gorilla chest.'" He wanted me to sing Mr. Burns's rendition of See My Vest (to the tune of "Be my guest" from "Beauty & the Beast") from The Simpsons.

  • Last week I went back into Kevin's room when he called out and I fluffed his pillow, tucked him in tighter and sang to him. In the middle of my soothing lullaby he said, "Where's Papa? Can you go get Papa?"

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Picture Parade

This is for Elesa. The giraffes were out and active at the zoo last Friday.

Update:This turtle (Clemmys muhlenbergii) is not a herbivore - it is an opportunistic feeder but prefers invertebrates such as slugs, worms, and insects. Although Kevin's fingers are not sluggy, wormy or insecty, I still think he'd lose one if this were real and true to size.

"Look, Mama - Papa is a ladybug!" (yes, he really said that)

At the beach

Great Questions

Our church is doing a series on peoples' stories in an effort to learn more about God through the experiences of other people just like we learn from the stories of peoples' encounters with God in the Bible. The stories this week were Stories of Struggle and one of the discussion questions that came out of it is "What did someone else do for you that was an expression of God's love to you during your own struggle?"

One of my friends consistently shows me expressions of God's love by asking me questions that show she understands what's lying beneath the surface of the issue/struggle we're discussing. This means two things to me: 1) she (and God) help me realize things I hadn't thought about before and 2) she (and God) show me that I'm not the only one who cares or "gets" what's really going on.

Here's an example: You all know (if you've read my blog before) that I went through a really dark time when we first adopted Kevin. During a visit to my friend's house a couple of months after Kevin came home, I told her that it was difficult but I didn't go into too many details. I told her it was hard, I didn't think I enjoyed being a parent, etc. She asked me, "Do you love him?" I was stunned that she'd even ask that because why would someone think to ask, "Do you love your child?" Truth be told, I didn't feel that I loved him but it's not something I felt open to say. When she asked that, I knew that at least God (and probably my friend :-) knew how I was feeling and that I had a lot of stuff going on inside that I couldn't/shouldn't share.

I've talked to this friend about many issues since I've known her and I always leave our conversations feeling loved, understood and more clear-minded about things. She shows me through her questions how God loves and understands me deep inside.

Monday, August 29, 2005

I must brag about my volleyball team

This being our second season in this league at The Volleyball House, we were hoping for a better than .500 record (which would've been much better than our previous/first season.) We definitely did better than .500 and we even got ourselves into the playoffs as the 4th seed. We played the team seeded first and we won in 2 games. Yes, they were without one of their regular female players and yes, the substitute was a bit inexperienced, but they also had an A level male player who is not usually on their team. So, that technically balanced out in my opinion and our 2-game win was really cool. We had to wait around for the #2 vs. #3 match and then we took to the court against the winner. Some on our team are in great shape and some of us are not - those of us who aren't really petered out in the last match from fatigue and muscle stiffness (that sets on quicker the older you get, I hear.) Anyway, we won the first game but then lost the last 2. We were disappointed but proud that we got much farther this season than we expected. And we got a compliment from the ref when she said she thought we were in a league higher than we are. That was before our second match, but that's ok, it's not like it wasn't us out there during the first match, it was just a "fresher" us.

Andy's back (you can take that 2 ways and either way fits!)

So last week was a little crazy. At 4:30 am on Tuesday morning, Andy rolled over in bed and wrenched a muscle in his back. The pain was excruciating so I took him to the doctor that morning. He didn't go to work for 3 days and could barely move. Even when he wasn't moving, he was in pain. I wasn't able to get all of my work hours in and I was responsible for more than usual as Andy couldn't do anything around the house or with Kevin. I honestly don't know how single mothers do it and I start to have a panic attack when I consider what would happen if Andy wasn't around and it was just me left with Kevin or, in the future, even more kids. I do know that I have a large and deep net of support from friends and family and that I would do ok but I don't really want to find out for sure how well I'd cope.

Andy is feeling much better now. He can do most everything although his back does bother him sometimes still. At least he can drive and play with Kevin - woohoo!

In other much more vain and less important news, I almost called today to make an appointment to donate my hair. I was planning to go a few extra months to donate more, but I'm about at the end of my rope and I know this feeling - usually it ends in a very last-minute trip to the hair cutter but this time I have to wait a month for each month I miss because the salon that I want to go to (the one I went to last time) only does free LOL cuts on the last Wednesday of the month. So... if I don't go the day after tomorrow, I have to wait another month. That is likely what will happen and maybe by the end of September I'll change my mind, but I doubt it - especially since I have a trip to Cape May, NJ, planned in October. Traveling with this rat's nest, especially by the ocean where it's humid even in the fall, is quite a pain. Not that anybody cared to hear all that but, oh well, there it is.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I'm such a sucker

Last night we watched Hitch on DVD. I realized quickly that I'd seen the movie before, although it previously starred Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson and it was called How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days. The lead characters get together in a wildly cute manner and decide that despite themselves, they like each other. Then their jobs blow them apart and in the end, they realize that they were wrong about each other and they need to be together. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind that Hitch was technically a remake. What I do mind is that both of those movies make me giggle like a school-girl and it annoys me that they sucker me in. "Romantic comedy" is not what I'm about; I'm not supposed to be about love stories, 'k?

Sunday, August 21, 2005


I've always preferred single-player sports to team sports mostly because when I do poorly, I don't bring down a whole team. I don't like being responsible for whether other people win or lose. I'm learning in my wise old age, though, that there is no comparison to the feeling of a team coming together in victory.

My volleyball team won all 3 games tonight for the first time since we moved into our current league (which is way more competetive than our previous league.) While some people have improved their individual skills, that wasn't the deciding factor in our commanding play tonight. The real difference was that we played as a TEAM. We weren't 6 people on the court trying to hit the ball to one another, it was like we were one entity. We covered the court better than ever, patching holes that our opponents tried to pry open, and we communicated clearly. I don't think we had a single unforced error of the ball dropping when somebody should've had it.

Our teamwork didn't come together by running drills or practicing our passing, setting, serving, and hitting - our teamwork came together from playing together, period. There's no way to quantify how we improved working together and you'd be hard-pressed to find noticeable differences in our teamwork from match to match. If you look at our play 2 months ago and compare it to tonight, though, you'd see a group of people playing volleyball turning into a team of players coordinating a win. And what a sweet win it was.

Wholesome Family Fun

Here are cousins Julia (4 1/2) and Kevin (3) with Grandma and Grandpa enjoying (some of) Grandpa's stash of super soakers.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

It's a sand thing, you wouldn't understand

We've been at the beach (Ocean City, MD, area) since Wednesday. We were fortunate enough to go with a friend whose family has a house down there and we had a terrific time. We relaxed more over the past 4 days than we have in a year as Kevin was occupied with/by Daniel and Noel for most of the time. He had tons of fun with them.

We went to the beach (Assateague) on Thursday and although I absolutely love to swim in the ocean, I'd forfeit that from now on if it meant never getting another grain of sand in everything we own. I've never been big into the beach as I much prefer being in the woods in the mountains, but now that I have a child who doesn't swim, who won't go barefoot or even wear sandals without socks and who doesn't remember not to touch his mouth or eyes when his hands are sandy, I see that I'm even less of a beach person. But it was fun to go and maybe Kevin will someday not be so afraid of water that he'll have fun with the ocean.

Friday afternoon we went to the boardwalk between the raindrops and mostly ate and walked although we did stop in The Kite Loft, which was pretty cool. Kevin's greatest desire in that store was a lollipop. When told that he could choose either the lollipop or ice cream later he said, "Lollipop!" I clarified a few times asking, "Do you understand that when the rest of us stop for ice cream you can't have any?" and he replied, "No ice cream! Lollipop!" Ok, that was easy enough. Half of the lollipop still exists in all its sticky, watermelony glory on our kitchen counter.

Kirsten and I spent a lot of time at the kitchen table putting jigsaw puzzles together. Yesterday we finished the really tough one she had started before we got there so we put out another one in the afternoon and finished it before bed. Woohoo!

We drove home today and the second thing that I did after unloading the van was to wash off the sandy toys. Some of them went right back into the sandbox but the ones that didn't start out there got a good dunking and they won't be let back into the house until they receive a certificate of lack-o-sand from moi.

It was nice to come back today rather than tomorrow because 1) the traffic was way better than it will be tomorrow and 2) we still have tomorrow to spend together before the work week begins.

Thanks Kirsten, Daniel & Noel - we had a tremendous time!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Solo weekend

I'm so happy that you want to know how my weekend went! Thanks for caring.

It went very well and that was only partially my fault. On Saturday we went to my parents' house and they were watching my niece for the weekend so she and Kevin played together a lot of the time. We went to a pool and, of course, Kevin didn't swim but he hung in there with us well enough. I hoped that having other people coax him into getting in the water would help but it didn't.

He fell asleep in the car on the way home that night so I didn't have to deal with bedtime, which was a relief. I find the whole bedtime routine and his sometimes flaky sleep difficult to deal with.

I did something very smart this weekend. Before it got really dark out and before I got the willies about being in the house "alone" I turned on the light by my bed and I closed the drapes in my bedroom and the bathroom. That way when it was time to go to bed, I didn't have a panic attack that somebody was looking in the window or following me down the dark hallway. It worked amazingly well and I have no idea why I never thought of doing that before.

Sunday morning we got up and went to church, played at the playground and then came home for lunch. I was tired but not in a bad mood, per se. Andy arrived around 1:00 pm and wasn't really ready for the barrage of questions and stories that I was trying to throw at him so I tried to back off until he was ready. He showered (that made us all feel better) and then I took Kevin with me to the grocery store and when we got back, Andy was ready to deal with us again.

Kevin wasn't head over heels excited to see Andy, which surprised me. However, we've since realized that he can only like one of us at a time. Whichever one he currently fancies, he completely un-fancies the other. So, he'd been with me all weekend and was comfortable with that but after he and Andy played awhile and I took a nap, then it was all about Papa and I was shunned.

Tomorrow we're headed to the beach for our first "vacation" together. Should be a good time trying to convince Kevin to wear a life vest, get in the canoe, walk near the ocean and stay out of Daniel's and Noel's faces at least a few hours a day. Seriously, I'm looking forward to it (well, maybe not the car ride). I think we'll have a good time.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Don't hug me, yes hug me, don't hug me, yes hug me

When Andy got home from work today he had time to finish packing and eat dinner before heading out. While he was packing, Kevin wanted him to play so we tried to keep his mind off the fact that Papa didn't have time to play by showing him the things packed in Papa's bag. Paul arrived and we put Andy's things in his car and I suggested to Kevin that he give Papa a hug and a kiss and he said, "No" and backed away. What was that?? So I fake him into giving Andy a hug and then we say Bye and Kevin and I stand on the front porch waving as they drive up the road.

We get back into the house and Kevin starts to cry. Then he says, "I want to play with Papa" with tears running down his cheeks. I reply, "That's sweet, I bet Papa wants to play with you, too. You will be able to play with him when he comes home on Sunday after we come home from church." Still crying, Kevin says, "I want to play with Papa NOW." Visions of an entire 36 hours of this sadness and crying flash through my mind but before my inner freak-out becomes public Kevin says (while still crying), "I want to watch TV."

He was so allowed to watch TV.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Life is a learning experience

As previously mentioned, I didn't bring lunch today because I thought there was a contract party (ahem.) So, I jetted over to McDonalds and here are some things I learned on my trip.

  • Traffic is easier to get through when you make all right-hand turns

  • Not having air conditioning is a good thing at the drive-thru because you don't waste any cold air while sitting there with your window open

  • Mattel now makes light-up matchbox cars

  • The Chipotle next to McDonalds has seriously put a crimp in McDonalds business
  • Cutting across traffic in an accidentally dangerous manner is best done not in front of a police car

Go Away, Husband

Andy is going camping this weekend with a friend who promises not to talk except when necessary or Andy wants to be talked to (now THAT is a great friend, no?) I can't fully describe how excited Andy is about the trip and I am honestly excited for him.

The farther I get away from despising my role as a parent the more I realize what bad shape I was in back then. This weekend shows me a glimpse of how far I have come because I'm not dreading it. Yes, I have plans out of the house already so that Kevin and I don't get sick of each other but I don't think that negates anything. Even if I didn't have plans out of the house or with other people, I know that I'd survive and wouldn't crumble. That's saying a lot based on how I felt previously.

When Kevin had been with us for about 5 months, I went away for a scrapbooking weekend with some friends. I didn't want to come home. It wasn't that the scrapbooking was so great (I didn't get much done and didn't really like the pages I made) and it wasn't that I wouldn't see all of those friends regularly once we got home... it was just that I didn't want to return to my house and family. My shoulders sagged and my head drooped at the thought of coming home.

In October, I'm going away for another scrapbooking weekend and I expect it will be very different. I expect I'll enjoy being away from the family but that I'll be ok with going back even if I'm not itching to return. And I think that's normal, unlike what I felt before and continue to glide away from as I get more and more used to this thing called parenting.

Enjoy your weekend, Andy. I will enjoy mine.

How To Embarass Your Officemate

Tell him yesterday that the Contract Party scheduled for August 25th is TODAY so that

  • he doesn't bring his lunch

  • when he is in the elevator with his project manager he excitedly says, "So, big contract party today, eh? How do we get there, by bus?" To which his project manager can only reply, "Uh, I don't think that's today... And it'll be in our conference room."


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Email exchange

This morning at work, one of our database servers crashed hard twice. My brother is the system administrator in charge of such things and somebody asked him if he had any idea what was killing the server. His response:

No but Dianne says "she is working on the system" which almost certainly has something to do with this.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

What's up

I'm working in the office 3 days this week to make up for last week's lack of hours at home and my predicted lack of hours from home this week.


I began writing our petition to "re-adopt" Kevin in Maryland. While the US government sees our adoption of Kevin in Guatemala as complete, Maryland does not. We have to file the same petition as someone who is adopting a child domestically. It's another bunch of paperwork and some of the instructions are very confusing but I think it'll be ok. We'll have to go to court after we file the petition but that shouldn't be a big deal. This will allow us to get his Certificate of Citizenship as well as a Maryland birth certificate (much easier to use for entering school, sports programs, etc. Plus if he decides to adopt children, he won't have to jump through extra hoops (hoops, yes - extra hoops, no) to get appropriate paperwork.)


I'm wearing a shirt that says "Summer" on it while covered in a chamois-cloth shirt because it is 68 degrees and windy in my office. [Please, don't write and tell me how your office is so hot and you'd love to have it be 68 degrees and windy where you are - I'm not complaining, I just find my attire ironic.] And I'm drinking hot chocolate. In August.


Andy's sister and her family came to visit this weekend from Missouri. Poor Andrew was sick the whole time - we mostly only saw him between naps while taking medicine for his fever. Kevin warmed up well and had fun playing with his new-to-him family members.


Kevin slept-in the past *4* days - twice past 8:00! I've considered banking on him waking up late but as soon as I get up early to get some work done while he sleeps, I know that he'll get up with me and I'll be nothing but annoyed. We measured him last night in preparation for him to grow an inch in the next month. Why else would he be sleeping more? We can't think of anything that has changed.


A couple of my coworkers went to Big Nerd Ranch two weeks ago and when they returned, we all gathered around them to hear the details. Did you learn much? Was the food good? Were you the only two non-nerds there? [Oh hush, Andy - I and everyone I work with are NOT nerds.]


Andy works for the US Gov't Printing Office at a warehouse in Laurel. It's been officially announced that the warehouse will close. They expect to close it by next summer and while they will offer any employees who don't take the retirement buyout (Andy's old, but not old enough that a retirement buyout would work for him) a position in the downtown DC headquarters, Andy does not plan to work in DC. We're both of the "whatever" mindset at the moment, I suppose for various reasons: 1) he could always work in DC for awhile even though the extended commute would put pressure on both of us, 2) he's got a fair amount of time to look for another job, 3) I could work full-time with benefits to get us through short- or long-term while he could stay home with Kevin, and 4) God will show us the right thing to do and when to do it.

Monday, August 01, 2005


Conversations are great blog posts because they write themselves and I always find them funny (why else would I post them?)

Scene: The dinner table

Dianne (to Kevin): Tell Papa what you did at the playground today.

Kevin (facing straight ahead): I can't hear you talking, I'm trying to eat. (looks at plate and resumes eating)

Papa (to Kevin): Are you already learning selective listening?

Kevin (looking up from food at Andy): Huh?

Papa (to Dianne): You're going to blog about this aren't you?

Friday, July 29, 2005

Overheard at our house last night

"You're STILL reading Tour articles?!"

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Call me hardcore

We haven't played ultimate in a long time because of the high heat and humidity over the past few weeks. Even when the high temp is in the upper-80's, we err on the side of caution and don't subject ourselves to running around in the sun for an hour at high noon, so it's actually been 6-8 weeks since we played.

You can imagine my glee upon hearing today's weather forecast - high of 80-85. Whoopee! I packed my bag for ultimate last night so that I would be sure not to forget it this morning.

Tuesday, yesterday and today Andy has been in a training class in DC so he's driven the truck to the train station and taken the train into the city. Because I'm dropping Kevin off and picking him up, I've secured the van for the past few days even though I've been driving to work.

So on the way to drop Kevin off this morning, I realized that I didn't have my cleats for ultimate - the horror! The only shoes with me were my new shoes that I didn't want to get wet and grass-stained. The thought came to mind that I could drive to the train station and get my cleats out of the truck. That would be a bit desperate, though, wouldn't it?

Maybe I am desperate or maybe I'm hardcore, but I knew I was going to play today and I knew I'd be annoyed if I messed up my new shoes so I did it - I drove to the train station, wound around the parking lot looking for my truck and then hopped out, stole the shoes, and headed to the office. If I hadn't gotten stuck in traffic, my detour would've only cost me about 7-8 extra minutes. The ramp to get back onto I-95 after my detour, though, was stopped pretty far back so I added at least 15 minutes to my trip. You can't argue that it wasn't worth it though, right? Yeah, ask me at 1:30 this afternoon if it was worth and I guarantee I'll answer, "Duuuuude! I played me some ultimate!"

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Dianne: [The Senior Pastor Candidate] talked in his sermon about some things they did in the other U.S. church that he was a pastor with. They did a lot of "small-scale" service projects like raking peoples' leaves in the fall, giving out coats at football games, washing cars, etc.

Andy: That sounds good. I wouldn't mind having our leaves raked.

Monday, July 25, 2005


Kevin: What are you doing?

Me: I'm dusting.

Kevin: What's dusting?

Me: I'm wiping the dust off of these things with this rag.

Kevin: Where does dust come from?

Me: It's mostly dead skin cells with a little bit of dirt and a little bit of volcanic ash in it.

Kevin: Oh. Where did these crayons come from?

Celebrity Sighting

Dave Shields, author of The Race, a novel about the Tour de France (which we all know that I love), wrote a comment on this here blog.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Number Seven

Congratulations, Lance. You're a heck of an athlete.


At the Independence Day Parade in Catonsville, MD. He seemed to enjoy it and it was fun to watch him wave to the people passing by.

Kevin asked for a camera because I'm always taking pictures of him so I bought him a cheap disposable one and I love the things that make him think of taking pictures (tree service guys working next door, Papa working in the garden, etc.)

Chillin' in Grandma & Grandpa's yard.

Processing a new pastor

Our church's Founding Pastor is stepping down from the role of Senior Pastor so we've been in search of a new senior pastor. This is weird as there has never been another senior pastor except for Brian in all of our church's history (he and his wife and some friends founded it, after all.) But, I think it's time and I'm all for that decision.

Most of you know that I have had issues with our church and its leadership for awhile and some specific situations regarding Brian. This means that I have a very strong opinion regarding who should be the next "head" of our church.

This weekend, the man who our Senior Pastor Search Team recommended to our Leadership Team as our next Senior Pastor came with his wife to visit our church and our area. Granted, a few days will not be enough to really get a feel for what's going on on either side of the situation, but that's why God is in control of this and we'll all just do what we can with what time and other resources we have.

So I heard this man speak this morning during our church service and we also attended the Q&A/Meet 'n Greet afterward. That went on for awhile but it was worth it in my opinion.

All along I've thought that the new senior pastor's theology is the least of my concerns and that lots of other issues ranked higher up in my list of what's important. I want someone who will help get things done, who cares about each member of the congregation, who cares about the next person who walks through the church's doors, who is available to the congregation, who has leadership abilities and can pull teams together and encourage them, etc.

I was surprised to find while listening to the candidate that his theology comforted me. He was really on-track with my theology, which I wasn't even sure of myself. It's not that he said anything new or earth-shattering or different from Brian, but it was nice to hear it from someone who is not in the thick of trying to bring that message to the world at-large as the appointed spokesperson for the emerging church. I'm not saying that Brian's role as such isn't important, but it's not what I need right now and I'm a little tired of it. So, to hear this guy just "be" that kind of person with that kind of theology and be passionate about it was refreshing.

From what little I know, I really like the candidate. I think he's a good guy and will get the job of senior pastor done well and he seems to mesh with our church's personality. My biggest (maybe only) concern is that their family will need to move here from England. They lived in Cincinnati for awhile and he pastored a church there but from what I can tell from others who have come to our area to work in our church, the Baltimore-Washington metro corridor is not like most other parts of the country. Good or bad, it is what it is - fast, driven, I don't know what. A senior pastor isn't something that we ultimately want to gain and lose and gain and lose a few times in the near future. It would be nice to have one for awhile. This is a big deal. So I'm afraid of his family not fitting in or liking living in our area after making such a huge life change to be here. Of course, nobody is going to know whether they will like it or not until they've been here awhile, so we just have to let God make the final decision, eh?

Next weekend the church congregation will vote on whether to accept or reject the candidate as our senior pastor and then he and his family will be able to accept or reject the offer.

I think I'd really like for him to be our new senior pastor although I'm afraid to voice that out loud.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

If only I'd read this sooner

Here's an article that I should've read when it was published on July 2, 2005. If I had read it then instead of now that the Tour's mountain stages are over and we know who the winner will be barring any serious misfortune, you can be sure that my blog would've screamed "Le Tour!" far more than it did over the past 2 weeks. So, friends, I'm sorry that I let you down. You may not realize it, but I've contributed to your loss of excitement over this amazing sports spectacle called Le Tour de France.

I leave you with this morsel from the aforelinked article by Dave Shields:

CNN has invited me to do a series of interviews on their network as this year’s race unfolds. I’m also doing lots of segments with other media, radio in particular. In tiny sound-bites I’m expected to convey the essence of this misunderstood and complex sport. The surprising thing is, it’s the easiest job in the world. Nearly everything about cycling is more interesting than casual observers assume. Yesterday I spoke with the hosts of a sports talk station in Nashville. I told them facts about how this event works, and listened to their stunned reactions. Once they got a taste of this forbidden fruit they attempted to dislocate their jaws in order to take in a bigger mouthful. Our interview went twice as long as initially scheduled. I’ve seen it over and over again. It’s a mystery to me how so many sports fans in America have been able to remain unaware of this event for so long.

Should I add this to my resume?

Today I sent in my application to be a New Balance Wear Tester. If I'm accepted I won't get free shoes or clothes or any financial compensation. I will merely get the satisfaction of knowing that my opinion really counts.

You see, I've fought with my feet and various other parts of me related to my foot problems all my life. As a kid, I could never wear my new shoes home from the shoe store because I had to wait for the stinky glue to dry inside where the pedorthist put in arch supports for me. I competed in gymnastics and spent countless hours in the gym pounding away on my feet and jarring everything good out of my joints. Today I'm mostly dealing with plantar fasciitis which has been extremely painful for the past 6 months or so.

Since high school I've worn orthotic inserts in my shoes which have helped my foot, ankle, knee, calf, hip and back pain tremendously, although I still have some problems even with the orthotics. Add to the space taken up in my shoes by the orthotics the fact that I have wide feet (EE on a typical Brannock measuring system) and narrow heels and you can imagine how hard it is for me to find shoes that actually fit - and cost less than $150.00.

Along comes New Balance with their high-volume manufacturing output of varying width shoes and - voila! - I'm a happy (albeit poor) camper. I'll take good shoes that fit for a price because, hey, I've tried the cheap shoe suffering route and it's so not worth it.

I feel like I'm a good candidate to test NB's shoes because I am active and play sports regularly, I'm heavy (particularly for a woman), and my feet are weird. The guidelines for testers state that testers should be as detailed as possible in their test reports and questionnaires. I figured I'd start with my application just to prove how detailed I can be. I told them all sorts of details about the history of my foot problems and how much I'd love to be on their team to help them develop truly superior shoes.

I'm supposed to hear in 4-8 weeks whether I've been selected or not. Even if I am selected, I may never receive a pair of shoes to test, but at least the option is there. I would really love to do this.

Monday, July 18, 2005

I'm not being fair

Really, it's not fair that my last post was about George Hincapie giving me a birthday present when, in fact, he didn't. And when, in fact, my husband and other family members and friends did!

Andy and Kevin gave me a hand-made card and a computer for my road bike. I have a computer on my road bike but no matter how fast I go, I can't get it to register over 1.7 miles an hour. I swear I've gone faster than that, at least on the downhills. The problem is that we had to move some of the wiring to hook up the trailer and it's not made to be used the way we (ok, Andy) tried to rig it. So now I have a new cyclocomputer with both a spoke-mount and a hub-mount magnet so we can use whichever works and fits best.

My family gave me all sorts of fun things including a new CD-ROM drive for Kevin's computer (so he can stop playing Big Bird and Jumpstart on mine and I can use it for my important work [read: blog-reading] again), a long-distance phone card (a hint? no, I actually asked for that), gift cards, a Rob Thomas CD, and some other things. And yesterday afternoon 2 of my best friends stopped by with an Oreo ice cream pie. Yum!! And thanks to everyone who sent me birthday cards online and in the mail.

By the way, I'm now 33 years old. It's not as bad as I thought it would be. Thirty-two was actually tough and I expected 33 would be, but it's not. That's good. I don't want to get anymore worry lines on my forehead ;-)