Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Books vs. Ebooks

I posted this on facebook earlier, so sorry for the repeat. Just looking for more input before my 14 days of ability to return for a refund expire. So I got a kindle for Christmas and after a few days of using it I am considering returning it. Here are my thoughts on the matter. Am I missing something here? Aren't ebooks supposed to be better? Are they? I like it because: 1. It is kind of exciting - a whole world of books/magazines is at my fingertips and downloadable anywhere in the house or anyplace with Wifi at any time within seconds (seriously - 5 seconds or less!) 2. It is convenient to only have one "book" to carry around. 3. I can read in the dark (accomplish-able with just a reading light, of course) 4. The classics, for the most part, are free. 5. Most books are cheaper than buying retail/new. 6. I can get new books whenever I want (ie. Once we had to drive 25 minutes out of our way just to get a book we wanted to read on the road. We were lucky they had it!) 7. It holds my place in a bunch of different books without me needing to use a book mark or deface the book. 8. It will stay "open" on a treadmill, unlike hard copies of books. I don't feel like it is worth the money because: 1. I cannot see the setup of the book the way it is because all the pages are formatted for kindle. For instance, when I am reading Ivanhoe I cannot see where the footnotes go to because they are not necessarily differentiated from the rest of the text. Chapters start in the middle of the "page" and I can't necessarily tell what sections there are (ie. Introduction, Prologue, etc, which may or may not be an essential part of the text) and how they fit in or who they are written by, thus making it harder for me to determine whether or not to read them or from what point of view they are told, or if they are truthful or fiction!) 2. Suppose I just want to finish my chapter (often the case) - I have to flip through all the pages until the next chapter (which starts in the middle of a page) to see how far I have to go, and my place is not held while I do so. So I have to remember where I am in the book while I go searching around. Sometimes I like to look ahead in the book too, just to see what is coming - does anyone else do this?? If I am holding a physical copy of the book, I just hold my page with a finger. 3. There is just something about being able to flip through a book and tell how far you have read etc that is just impossible with a kindle. I mean, they have a little percentage on the bottom that will tell how far, but it is not the same as being able to feel it. Plus, they include all the pages in the book in their page count, not just the content of the book that I would actually end up reading (they include the notes and intros and everything, which does not make it a very good indicator of where you really are in your reading). 4. I would love for our kids to be in a reading mood and just go to our little home library and pick out a quality book. I am not sure how likely that is, and obviously it will be awhile before they start reading my kind of books, but in order for this to be a possibility, we have to physically have the books, not just digitally. Now, at least with the Nook I believe, you could share digital copies of the book. But that is not the same as being able to see how big a book is and read the back and see what kind of vocabulary level it is etc. 5. I am nervous about using it in the bathroom, kitchen, near the pool, etc for obvious reasons. 6. For some reason, perhaps intangible, I am finding it harder to "get into" the books I have got than I think it would be if I had a physical copy. I often read books that I think are page-turners that don't start out that way. 7. I could continue checking out books at the library or buying them used on amazon for less than the kindle copy. Please tell me what you guys think!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


It is only fitting that the day after I finished my "running" post, Boo would...LEARN HOW TO WALK!!!!!!! I can't even believe I am typing this. I have dreamed of this day for so long, both literally and figuratively speaking (for those who know my kinds of dreams!). I have so much to do right now, since I have spent the bulk of my day either helping him to start walking (he needs help starting out and then he takes it from there) or announcing the good news, so I do not have time to tell the whole story. We will just say this - THANK YOU to our Shriner's hospital physical therapist, for now our little speed-crawler who, prior to this day had never in his life taken an independent step, has taken a record of 28 consecutive independent steps without stopping. Even our PT didn't expect this! (Today was the first day we saw him). That's all for now. Hopefully I can capture this on video soon.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


So this year was a big one for me, exercise-ically speaking. I have taken up running! Again. Ever since my mission (2004) I have run off and on and enjoyed it. I started running again in Feb of this year for the first time since CeeCee was born. My goal was to run a half marathon by the end of the summer. Luckily, I have a great neighbor down the street who also happens to be a personal trainer and who also happened to be in need of a running partner. We ran together, starting short and slow, in the mornings in February, March, and most of April. Then we had to part ways as things began coming up in our lives such that we could not consistently run together. Sometime between February and April, I somehow was convinced, albeit not wholeheartedly, that I could actually run a FULL marathon. Crazy? Yes, I think so. I mean, I was always the last person to finish the mile run in middle and high school, walking most of the way because I could not breathe, with 20 minutes being a good time for me. I have struggled with sports-induced asthma basically my whole life, and I have sometimes needed an inhaler, or struggled big time without one. I always thought there must be something wrong with people who run. What is chasing them? Plus, I didn't really know any runners growing up - running wasn't a big activity in my hometown.On my mission, out of necessity (due to my companion being an avid runner who, of course, needed me to be with her while she ran every morning), I came up with breathing exercises that made running for more than a minute or two possible for me. They still work for me now, even though I don't usually need to use them anymore. Long story short, I started training for, not a half marathon as I had originally planned, but a full - 26.2 miles. After my personal trainer friend and I stopped running together, I found a marathon training plan on the internet and decided to go for it, but without my whole heart and soul. At one point, after an extremely exhausting 14 mile Saturday run, S asked if I really thought I could run 26.2 miles, since I had so much trouble with 14. I told him, no, at that point I did not think I could run 26.2 miles - that is why I was training. Silly S. Essentially, I just stuck to the plan like glue until I got within about 5-6 weeks of finishing, and then I figured that I needed to sign up for one - of course, by then I had to pay a late registration fee, but I didn't want to pay at all until I knew I could do it! The week before my marathon, I decided to take the kids to the finish line of another marathon nearby and cheer for the runners (even though we didn't know any). All runners know how nice it is to have even strangers cheering for them. Anyway, it's way silly I know, but it was definitely an emotional experience watching all the people cross the finish line and accomplish such a lofty goal. I was there at around the time I figured it would take me to finish, and I was pleased to discover there were still many people finishing at that time. I knew I would finish, but I had been worried about possibly being the last. Of course, finishing last was still a possibility, since the marathon I signed up for had about 1/10 of the runners that the marathon I watched did. But I didn't mind finishing last anyway, I just wanted to finish, and preferably within my time goal.Can I tell you that my first marathon was one of the greatest experiences of my life? I chose seriously one of the most beautiful marathons I could have chosen (email me if you are interested) and at the end of July, I ran it! I felt totally great for the first half, and I even ran faster than the pace I expected (I had not been accurately timing myself during training, but my trainer/friend lent me her Garmin watch for the marathon). In fact, I felt great for the first 20 miles. Then I started to slow down a little, about 1 min/mile slower. I still felt great though. At mile 23, the farthest I had run during training, I felt pretty good, but about a half a mile later I really started slowing down. Like 1-2 min/miles slower. I was able to pick up the pace a little bit around mile 25, and a little bit more around mile 26, but I definitely crossed the finish line quite a bit slower than I was running at mile 20. But I finished! 42nd out of 65! S was volunteering at the finish line and my trainer/friend, who had run most of the last half along with me, ran ahead and took some pictures of me crossing the finish line. Ultimately, I have only two pictures of the whole thing, but I am glad to have even those because we had a lost camera scare which I am glad to forget. :) It is a beautiful thing to discover that my body is capable of doing so much more than I ever imagined! The marathon recovery period lasted from Saturday to the following Tuesday, after which I would never have known that I ran a marathon by the way I felt. In fact, just hours after running a marathon, I found myself at home with my husband, children, brother, and sister, with all of the adults sleeping but me, leaving me with my sore little body to chase the babies around. That night, we went to a tourist site about an hour away and walked around. I was pretty tired, but, again, surprised and thrilled that my body was handling all of this. Now, nearly 5 months later, it all seems like a dream. Isn't life just like that? I still look at people who have run marathons and think they must be crazy - only now I am one of them! Ha.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Some Cute Things

To preface: I have misplaced my USB cords, so no pictures this time. Sorry!

CeeCee and Boo have been so cute lately. Not that they haven't always been cute, of course. They never cease to amaze me with their latest and greatest accomplishments of magnitudes great and small. Here is a list, in no particular order:

1. CeeCee's place - Lately I have noticed CeeCee's frequent appearances in a special place in our house. Right next to the sliding glass door, which is on the south end of our house, is a vent. Being that we have a little one (Boo) who, historically, has not expressed discomfort with extremes in temperature, we have our air conditioner set at a comfortable 70 degrees all summer long. Therefore, our vents have cool air blowing through them more often than not, or so it would seem. CeeCee has found one of the unique spots in our house where she can sit on a vent, having the wind blowing through her hair, and get blasted by the sun next to a window that spans the height of floor to ceiling. It is quite the spot. The only thing I can ascertain from this is that she must share my love for the sensation of being hot and cold simultaneously. One time I was standing there, inadvertently of course, and she became quite distraught until I left "her place" so she could go there.

2. Boo and ice cream - This is a long story. I will try to be brief. Boo has made extremely slow progress in feeding therapy ever since we restarted towards the end of last year. Don't get me wrong - progress is progress! But it has been very slow. Most recently (prior to the last month or so), the most progress we have made toward our final (quite distant) goal of Boo being an oral feeder, is having him play with food at the table while we eat. Not much, but more than what he has done in the past! Anyway, the therapist and I recently decided, thanks to his success in coming to enjoy horseback riding as well as dance class, that we can push a little harder. So we decided to start bringing things to his mouth. This was upsetting to him at first, but as with so many other things recently, he got over it after a few times. He still resists by fighting with his arms, but he knows he is expected to "kiss" each piece of his food after every meal and he will even do it himself sometimes. The best part is that the last few days I have been able to give him miniscule amounts of ice cream and pudding in his mouth and he didn't cry, in fact he was laughing - it has been a fun game for him! I think things are looking up, even though we still have an extremely long feeding battle ahead of us. :)

3. Climbing the stairs together - Often if Boo notices that CeeCee is following him he will wait for her so they can climb the stairs together. I love to see their little heads pop up at the same time. She is getting pretty fast at crawling, but is still no match for our speedy man Boo!

4. Monkey bars at dance class - Boo attends a little dance class on Saturdays called "Dancers with Disabilities". He is not the only boy, in case you wondered. I would never have thought of or considered putting him in a dance class, except that his personality is BEGGING for structure, which leaves me to seek diligently after any kind of class he can join which will meet his structural needs. (Did I mention that we/Boo can't wait for school to start again?) And so we have dance class, which has actually been quite fun. Except for the "Monkey Bars" part (really a ballet barre). He cries and cries when the children, all aged 3-6 years, must pretend to be monkeys and sit on the bar and fall asleep and wake up to the music. It is really horrible, I assure you. Anyway, this past Saturday I had to bring CeeCee along, which is usually not a good thing when I have to focus on Boo. But such is life, and along she came. One of the students there was willing to hold her for me and she got to somewhat participate in the class, which was so much fun for her. When we got to the Monkey Bars part, Boo started in and had already cried a few elephant tears by the time he got seated. Then CeeCee (brought by the student) came to sit by him and suddenly everything was OK! He leaned over to give CeeCee a forehead kiss (which she does now too, by the way!) and then they were both happy for the rest of the Monkey Bar part.

As a side note: I don't think anyone around me at the time could have witnessed this miracle, but I call it a miracle because that is totally how I would describe their relationship right now - miraculous. CeeCee seems to have a stabilizing effect on Boo that S and I don't necessarily have. I am so glad we decided to have her because she has been such an influence for good in Boo's life - things are happier, particularly for Boo, when she is near. All I can say is, far from being an extra burden (as I once feared another baby would be), CeeCee has HELPED Boo in ways I could not have foreseen and she is a huge blessing in all of our lives. It is a pleasure to raise her.

5. Boo and his blankets - Boo is so funny when he goes to bed. I "sneeze" his blankets onto him to make him laugh, and he proceeds to wiggle his body back and forth and use his arms to tuck his blankets underneath him on both sides. Maybe you can picture this? It is super cute, and it is a nightly occurrence.

6. CeeCee's feeding antics - My sister, H, recently put together and into words something I have long noticed about CeeCee when we give her her bottle. She LOVES to play with hair - even short hair like S's - and if you turn your head or lift it up so she cannot reach it, she will push your head, not so gently, back into her preferred position so she can play with your hair. Such a funny little girl.

7. Falling into the laundry basket - CeeCee LOVES laundry. Which is good, since it frequently appears in our family room, waiting for me to get around to it! More than once, CeeCee has fallen into the laundry basket headfirst, while trying to pick up some desirable item of clothing. It is too funny to see that little bum in the air, body folded almost completely in half, all to acquire some piece of laundry. I have not yet taken a picture of this, as my camera has always been too far away for me to justify leaving her like that long enough to go get it. One of these times though!

8. Sitting and laying on the coffee table - We recently made a trip to my parents' house and Boo quickly discovered the height of their coffee table to be optimal for scaling. He climbed right on top! Now mind you, he has never climbed on top of anything. I have always assumed he lacks the upper body strength, which I still think he does, but now I know that the height of all our furniture is also a factor in the equation. He got really fast at it too, so we would turn around for a second while he was laying on the floor and turn back to discover him sitting on top of the table "rolling a ball in his fingers". This was a particularly enjoyable aspect of the vacation for him, and he did it often while we were there.

9. Sleep training - It is, perhaps, too early to call CeeCee "sleep-trained". It has now been five days - 10 minutes of crying the first night, 3 the second, 1 the third, less than 1 the fourth, and now 3 on the fifth. Trained? I don't know. But I am really happy with how it has been going, compared with how it HAD been going! She has always slept through the night though (except on vacation...) since she was only a few weeks old. I think I am blessed. :)

10. Bathtub imitation - Recently, Boo has learned some tricks from CeeCee. Notably, crawling in the bathtub and standing up in the bathtub. Not that he couldn't have done these things before, he just hadn't considered it. Now that the idea has been introduced to him, he does it too. I enjoy seeing those two learn from each other.

11. Dishwasher and piano - would you believe that the babies come running (crawl-running) the second the dishwasher is opened or the piano is played? They do. CeeCee loves to climb into the dishwasher and Boo loves to throw things inside of it. As far as the piano goes, they both love to play (Boo plays individual keys and CeeCee bangs), and they also both want me to surrender the bench, the books, and the keyboard. So if ever I start, I soon have to stop. And, as always, they hate the flute. So we don't even go there except on extremely rare occasions during which I must be willing to tolerate my babies in hysterics.

So glad to be the Mama to such super cute and fun kids!

Friday, May 20, 2011

First and Last Day of Preschool

For some reason, when I post pictures lately, I don't see them on my draft, I see the html version. And since I have no idea where one "picture" ends and the next begins, I will just have them all at the beginning in a big clump. Anyone know how to fix this?

Contrary to what the title of this post suggests, Boo's first and last day of preschool were not on the same day. The pictures from his first day are the ones with his short sleeved shirt. The red sweatshirt is from his last day (yesterday). He was in preschool for a total of three weeks, one of which he was out sick.

Boo loved preschool. I don't know what I am going to do this summer to keep him entertained! He loves structure, and so do I for that matter, but I am not good at providing it. Especially now that I have two children, and CeeCee is entirely unpredictable.

Boo attended preschool (and will attend in the fall also) at our local elementary school in a special needs classroom. It so happens that all the children in his class had genetic syndromes, as he also likely has. Some of the children could walk, some were in wheelchairs. I don't think any of them talked, but they all seemed to have a few signs. Super cute kids. They attended from 12:30-3pm Monday through Thursday. In class, Boo loved to play with two little girls, A and I. They were the two who walked. Boo, of course, walked in his walker or crawled or back-scooted.

On the last day, his teacher threw a little party for family members. We congratulated the graduates (most of the kids in his class were 5 and heading to kindergarten in the fall) and everyone got an award. Boo got the award for "Best Ball Player". He loves balls. Apparently he was never happier for them than when he was in the ball pit. He and the little girls would throw balls at each other and laugh. His teacher also talked about how one day they had a school assembly to watch the dancers from a nearby university. Boo walked all the way to the auditorium, amongst all the other children in the hallway no less. And he paid attention for the entire 45 minute assembly, after which he walked back to his classroom (on the other end of the school). No wonder he gets so excited when I tell him he's going to school!

Admittedly, the pictures are nothing to brag about. It is hard to take pictures with a grabby baby in your arms. Speaking of grabby, CeeCee was not very attentive during the end-of-the-year party slideshow. She kept grabbing a balloon from the girl standing next to us (a little sister of a boy in Boo's class). Then she started grabbing her hair! CeeCee! All the students had to sit in the front row in their special seats for the entire party, which most of them were not thrilled with, since their parents were sitting right behind them and they wanted to sit on laps! Boo did pretty good, but he kept reaching back to me and signing "all done". He did not cry though. CeeCee did that for him. :) Boo did a good job of clapping at appropriate times and then he was very excited to leave at the end of it all. Of course, neither of my children are into snacks, and I am still trying to lose/maintain weight, so we skipped the snacks, thanked the teachers, and were the first ones out of there.

It has been sure wild to send our baby boy to school! I never cried, and neither did he, but we sure missed him at home. He was mainly happy all day every day at school, just like at home. It is especially strange to not see what he is doing and not get much by way of a report at the end of the day. I mean, I would pick him up (all the other kids are bussed, since they live far away) and the teacher would say a few things, but not much. Just "He had a good day. He sure loves balls." - that sort of report. Much different from Early Intervention and private therapy and all the medical reports I get. Oh well. I suppose this is the same for every parent. I mean, I don't remember my mom talking to my teachers at the end of every day. Mainly just Parent-Teacher Conferences I think. It is an interesting transition for us. Now we get the whole summer to have fun - riding horses, swimming lessons (maybe...), and dance class. And some trips and walks and maybe even camping this year, since Boo is off oxygen! And hopefully a little structure in there too, so Boo and I do not go crazy. :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

As Heard From the Mouth of S

"What if I'm in a car crash and I become a vegetarian?"
-said in all seriousness while discussing life insurance/estate planning

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dear Dishwasher

Dear Dishwasher,
I love having you in our family. You make my life easier and allow me to spend valuable time doing other things besides dishes, dishes, dishes. I even appreciate the fact that you are now taking your own initiative in turning yourself on and off and judging for yourself whether the dishes inside of you need the "heated dry" option or not. But the fact of the matter is: you have a thing or two (or six) to learn before you start making those kinds of judgment calls. Let me tell you how it is.
1. Washing the dishes does absolutely no good if there is no soap in the dispenser. No good. Even if you run the cycle four times a day. No good. And who puts the soap in? Me. After I put the soap in, THEN you can run a cycle. Once.
2. The dishes always need to be dried. Always. If not, I am really not saving any valuable time by putting you to use, since I pretty much wash everything before I put it in, and if you do not use "heated dry", then I have to dry everything when I take it out. Do you see how this leaves you as an unnecessary step in the process?
3. I really would have liked a warm shower the other night. Much more than I liked rinsed and re-rinsed dishes. Just sayin'.
4. When I accidentally bump into you (thus closing the door that was intentionally propped open to save the dishes from yet another unwarranted cycle), it is not your cue to spray water all over the dishes again! Please!
5. I know we have hard water, and I hope someday we will have soft water, but I always buy that really expensive Dishwasher Magic and Lemi Shine just for you! And it is wasted when you continually rinse the dishes without drying them. This could mean your demise, you know.
6. Speaking of expense, heating up all that water is not cheap ya know!
In short, if you do not kindly comply with my wishes (as indicated by the buttons I push) rather than doing your own thing, you could be replaced! And soon! At the very least, expect a visit from a local Maytag serviceman in the near future.
Your Owner