Tuesday, January 27, 2009

School seems to take up all my blogging time.

Surprising, right? I know. Who would have thought that full-time graduate school plus full-time parenting would equal so much less internet and television time? I haven't even seen most of the American Idol tryouts (and you know they are my favorite!) and I've been watching Grey's Anatomy during Llama's Friday morning naps.

And yet, in the only class in which I have grades so far, I have a 94%. I thought I'd be doing better than that.

Some random things I have learned so far:

1. If you're five minutes early, you're on time. If you're on time, you're late. If you're late, that is unacceptable. (This strongly correlates with my personal philosophy anyway.)

2. I am going to try very, very hard to schedule my classes so that in the fall, I have two really long nights of class instead of one long one and two short ones. It'll be brutal on those two nights, but I'll save $4 in tolls and $2 in vending machine snacks. I should be embarrassed about my vending machine snacks, but they're the only thing keeping me awake sometimes.

3. Sleep is for the weak. Or those without small children at home.

4. There are a lot of options for putting dinners in the crockpot that don't involve nasty Cream of Crap soup. This is good because then Bucket can just dish out some food for himself and for Llama, put the leftovers in the fridge, and I will eat when I come home. Everyone is happy.

5. I have to take the National Competency Exam (called "the comps" in the common vernacular) in order to graduate. To be licensed, I have to take 12 more credits and then pass the Licensing Exam. I'm going to do that, because I think it'll be far easier to just be licensed from the start than to try to go back later.

Things I have learned that are not even remotely school-related:

1. Llama is quite musical. I got her a xylophone (really it's a crocodile that has six keys and a mallet) and it is her new favorite.

2. Random older ladies claiming to be psychics find Llama and I irresistible. In the past two weeks, we have been approached by three different women all claiming to be able to tell me what Llama will be like as a teenager. I find it creepy and it makes me wish I had an ugly child, or one that didn't smile at strangers.

3. The soup, salad, and breadsticks lunch at Olive Garden is Weight Watchers friendly. If you don't eat the breadsticks, which of course, I don't care about anyway. It pleases me.

4. Local newscasters shop at Williams-Sonoma in Ross Park Mall. I saw one there in her glasses and with her hair in a ponytail. I did not say hi, because even though I watch her every morning, we're not friends.

5. When your Llama starts throwing her bowl and cup on the floor, she is done with breakfast. And therefore, I am done with blogging.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Here we go!

Cheer the Steelers, the black and the gold - the town of Pittsburgh's heart and soul! Okay, I'm done singing. I just had to throw it out there that my beloved Steelers won the AFC Championship yesterday, beating the Baltimore Ravens (those Browns in Raven clothes...)!

And as promised, we went to the Carnegie Science Center on Saturday and had a really good time. Eight adults, five children. A good time was had by all.

Llama's favorite was the fish on the third floor. I'm not an awesome photographer, so you get to see the edge of Bucket's face. Oops. Anyway, watching her with the fish reminded me of when The Army Guy and I took my nephew to the Pittsburgh Zoo when he was about 18 months old, and he tried to climb in with the jellyfish. Apparently the fish love is genetic. If she could have figured out how to get in with them, she would have.

Bucket, being the supergenius engineer that he is, likes trains. It was awesome to watch him show Llama the trains, because she just listens to him as if every single thing he says is magic. He was explaining railroad car dumpers to her, because there is a replica there of something that his company makes.

Llama thought the table where you can see waves move through water was kind of neat. Not as neat as the fish, though. But neat enough. She was duly impressed that I could make it work, too.

That's all for today.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A post in which Llama does not feature at all.

So, you know, if you're here for cute stories about her, just skip this one, mmkay?

I started class on Monday, and had three nights of class this week. I'm slightly overwhelmed, and yet, still excited. They do advise us (in writing, no less!) to be very selective about the personal information that we put forth on the internet. As if I weren't already! The only people who read this are people who I know anyway, and I still use code names just in case. Anyway, moving on.

I have a class in career counseling, a general overview of counseling theories, a class in group counseling, and a class that is not really a class. The not-class is really a group in which we pretty much examine ourselves, as far as I can see. I have to keep a journal for it, too. Blogging doesn't count! Who would have thought that? I really like everything so far, and even if I should get to a point where I am unhappy, I will keep on keepin' on, because I am paying a big pile of money for this.

And Bucket and Llama (I guess I lied!) are doing fabulously with their evenings together. Twice this week, she went to bed for him with no issue at all. Tonight when he walked in the door, she shoved off of me and launched herself at him. I guess that means they're best friends now, which makes me really happy!

So that's all for this week... and I don't even have a good picture to share... but tomorrow we're going to the science center with three sets of couplefriends and their kids. I know we'll have a great time, and I hope we get at least one good shot of Llama for me to bring back here!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I guess you'd call this a tribute.

Sorry for not keeping up as well as usual - we have been experiencing some sickness issues here in the Llama house. But that is not what this is about.

Today is The Army Guy's birthday. And he will spend it on a plane to Kuwait. This is his second deployment to Iraq, and his third deployment in six years. While I'm grateful for his sacrifice and I know that without him and other people like him, this country would not be as protected as it is... I'd really just rather have my brother home.

He'll be home by October 2009, we hear.

Let me tell you about him. He's 25 (today!). He's my first younger brother (I have three). When we were kids, we were awful to each other. When we were in high school, we were even more awful to each other. Something changed after I moved out and we realized that our shared history was not normal (which is a subject for another post). We got to know each other as people, rather than as "older sister - younger brother," and it's the best thing that ever happened.

He is generous to a fault and believes deeply in serving his community. In addition to being in the National Guard, he is a volunteer firefighter and an EMT. He works for an ambulance service when he's home.

He's kind and sweet. He has a four-year-old son, Z-man, and a wife, Frenchy. Z-man looks just like him when we were little. It's almost eerie. When I look at him, I feel like I'm looking at The Army Guy 20 years ago.

I'm lucky to have a person like him in my life. I'm even luckier that we share 50% of our DNA.

Be safe, buddy. And happy birthday!

Friday, January 9, 2009

A plague upon our house

I'm not cursing us. We have already been cursed. :p

It was only a matter of time before Llama got her first sickness that I wouldn't be able to do anything about. It's just a cold. And I'm just the mommy who sits up all night with her, coughing and wheezing, sneezing and sniffling. She does not want her daddy. Bucket tried valiantly last night, but she just kept crying pitifully until I came in and took over. My poor Llama.

Not sleeping is very hard. Sleeping sitting up is even harder for me. I can't do it, Captain! I tried, I sat there rocking with my eyes closed, but I only got dizzy.

You might think that she would have difficulties with her lack of sleep, like I'm having with mine (the typos run rampant and I'm sure my grammatical construction is... not good... worse than normal?), but no. She is playing on the floor.

What's in her hand, you ask? It's a back massager. She likes it.

Poor little Llama. She even looks sick in pictures. Now I'm trying to decide if it's a good idea to call the doctor, because tomorrow is Saturday, and I don't want to fight everyone else with a sick baby to get a weekend appointment, or let it wait to see if she gets better or worse. Big decisions here in the Llama house. :(

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

2008 Year in Review -- and 2009 Goals

All the cool kids are doing it... and maybe if I "write" this down and make it public, it'll work. Right? RIGHT!?

Anyway. 2008.

It's hard to remember. I was pregnant. I was supposed to be on light duty, but my office didn't really care about that. Did we do anything? Go anywhere? No. Probably I spent a lot of time and money at Target. Oh! I know! I passed that test where you have to drink the nasty orange syrup stuff and hang out at the lab for a while. Go me!

My blood pressure was up and I was having headaches. My doctors were telling me how bad it could be and I was shrugging it off. My work finally decided to put me on office duty only. I was taking calls and not going in the field at all. For one week, because on February 22, I left work early because of a headache, went to the doctor, and then had to have Bucket meet me at home and get to the hospital for tests. I was not awesome. The doctors decided I would be completely done with work.

I was incredibly bored. Sitting at home was not for me. I didn't even have a baby to hang out with! And I wasn't allowed to do anything or go anywhere alone, except for my doctor's appointments. I started napping and watching a lot of Unsolved Mysteries reruns.

Although I did not want to have labor induced, at my last prenatal appointment (on my due date!), my blood pressure was high enough that my doctors were not comfortable letting me continue on by myself. Llama was born on April 17. It was excellent.

I finally had a baby to hang out with while I watched Unsolved Mysteries reruns and napped. It was kind of like hanging out with a meatloaf, though. She slept a lot and only woke up to eat and poop. But she was very portable and I could take her anywhere. I liked that a lot.

Nothing eventful happened in June. Maybe this was when The Army Guy told me he was going back to Iraq? Maybe I knew before that. I'm totally not sure. My brain has been taken over by important information like, "The cat will jump up and steal the baby's waffle if you don't put him in the basement during breakfast." Not that she ate waffles in June. That's present-day information.

I know we took the boat out for the Fourth of July. I think we only took it out twice? Three times, maybe? In this whole year. Good thing we paid for a slip so we could have it sit in the river and look nice. Llama hated her life jacket, which is totally not optional, and that greatly impacted my desire to go down to the boat. Having a baby who screams until she passes out, sleeps for a few minutes, and wakes up to scream again (repeat, repeat, repeat until the life jacket is removed) is not relaxing or fun. And I was/am nursing, so drinking wasn't an option. What else do you do when you're on a boat besides drink and play cards and sit on the bow saying, "I'm the queen of the world!"??

It was hot. I was bored. I went on a lot (A LOT) of walks with Llama, who promptly learned that if she made enough noise, she'd convince someone to take her out of the stroller. But not remove her sun hat.

We went to Maryland for Labor Day. Totally awesome. My mother- and father-in-law went out on Hawaiian Punch and iHusband's jet ski, dumped it a few times, and couldn't get it going again. MIL got hurt, so that sucked. But here is the funny stuff, because you know I don't tell a story unless it's amusing. Hawaiian Punch, Bucket, Llama, iHusband, and Bucket's aunt and uncle (who don't have names yet... I'm working on it) were hanging out with some fabulous margaritas, just chatting, when an older man in a Buick with a license plate on the front that said "Whizball" came into the driveway. He got out of his car and said, "There are these people, they say they know you." And we all looked at each other confusedly. He described the people. It didn't help. (What can I say?) Then he said, "The lady said her brother lives here and he has a dinghy." Yes, that was a true statement. But it still didn't accurately convey the situation at hand. Then he said, "They're in the water." Oh! Well, why didn't you say so, Whizball? So the rescue attempt was underway. The rest is kind of uneventful, except for the part where MIL comes walking up the road, completely soaking wet. And angry.

It was Bucket's 30th birthday and I threw him a surprise party that he mostly ruined with his nebbiness and question asking. It was not that surprising to him. His BFF (do boys have BFFs?) called him and asked for a ride. To his surprise party. So that part was already suspicious. And then we arrived, and Bucket spied his grandmother's car, and that part was ruined because he said to me, "Why are my grandparents here?" But it was fun nonetheless. Llama ate lemons and limes out of everyone's drinks. Impressive!

Mostly uneventful. Bucket was gone for about one million days. What did we do? I think we went to Target a lot. October 15 was our third wedding anniversary. Bucket wasn't here. Llama was an octopus for Halloween. She handed out candy with me and she got excited about the kids she saw.

It was MY BIRTHDAY and Bucket was not forthcoming with the birthday present, card, or party. I was miffed. (Great word, right?) He made up for it at Christmas. Thanksgiving was at Hawaiian Punch and iHusband's house. Fun times. The Army Guy left for training as he goes back to Iraq on January 13, which is a crappy birthday present for him.

Tuna Roll was born. Llama's first Christmas happened and many photos were taken. The Army Guy was home for a few days and that was awesome. We had probably the most sober New Year's Eve that we've ever shared (neither of us was drunk!) but it was also probably the most special so far because we had Llama.

Okay, that's 2008. Gah, I'm boring. Now on to the 2009 goals. I will establish five, because that seems like a manageable number.

Goal 1: Attain a 4.0 grade point average in my master's program.
I think it's pretty self-explanatory. I feel like I wasted my opportunities in college, even though I graduated with a perfectly respectable GPA. Except for that one semester (in which I met Bucket and alcohol...) that I had a 2.0. Right. So I know I can do it, now I'm going to prove it.

Goal 2: Finish kitchen.
This is not so much a goal for me as it is a goal for Bucket. It's important to me anyway. We've been in this house for three years and the first priority was supposed to be the kitchen. Which is still not done. I hate this kitchen.

Goal 3: Teach Llama to say "mama."
She does not say mama. Only "yeah," "no no no no no," and "cheese." That's unacceptable. Cheese is more important than me!? I'm only half kidding.

Goal 4: Take a class of some sort with Llama.
Swimming, music, The Little Gym... I haven't decided. But I think it would be good for both of us. Yesterday Llama had a playdate and she knocked the other little girl down, even though the other girl is 2 months older. No good. Llama's a bruiser and we need some interaction with other kids so she learns that knocking them down isn't nice. It's hard to teach that with a giant Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal.

Goal 5: Spend time in the evenings talking to Bucket instead of retreating to our respective corners.
He has the laptop, I have a book. Or I have the laptop, he has the remote. Etc. The possibilities of how we don't talk are endless. I'd rather talk to him. I can read during Llama's naptime.

There you go. Now I challenge you to 1) create a blog if you don't have one so I can read it, 2) do your year in review and goals for next year, 3) keep me accountable.