Recently in Personal Category
September 30, 2007
Last night we left Ollie at a parents' night out thing run out of our daycare and worked on the house for about 4 hours. The floors and trim are pretty much done and the bedroom is painted a really horrifically neutral Pottery Barn Beige color, so the list of things to do is shrinking, slowly. I need to change out a pair of light fixtures, and we need to touch up, clean, and organize everything, and I'm so ready to be done I could scream, but it's getting there. I'll put pics up once it's gotten to a point where the idea of having other people see the house doesn't fill me with abject terror. ;)
The process hasn't been helped by the recent wave of illness that swept our house. I got sick twice in a week, once a headcold, and once a stomach bug that put me in bed for 24 hours straight. Ollie's had a headcold for more than a week now, and he's recovering from an ear infection on top of it, so things have been kind of rough for the little guy, but aside from some nights where he'd only sleep laying on top of us while we sat in his glider, he's been pretty much the same cheerful, friendly kid as always. It's amazing how good-natured he is almost all the time, I don't know where he gets it. He slept better last night than he has in a while, only woke up every 3 hours, was easy to put back to sleep, and he slept till 8:30, all of which combined for a much-needed night's rest for all three of us. Hopefully he's on the mend for a bit.
Work is kind of stressful right now, my team lost a (part-time) developer, and I don't think management has any plans to hire anyone to replace them right now. That makes my team the smallest dev team at ASI, despite the fact that we build the tools the other teams use to write their modules. Fortunately I have a really great team and I estimated enough slack into the schedule to cover for it, but I hope we get some new hires soon to help with the workload. It's really cool stuff, I'm happy to be working on all of it, I just hate feeling so rushed for time always.
Nothing else really new is going on. Hockey is fun, I have a good team and it's really starting to gel. Unfortunately I missed two games to being sick, but apparently my goalie had a great game for the first one and really stole it (at least, according to him ;)). I can't wait to get back and play some more, we have the lowest # of penalties and the lowest shots against in the league, which means we have a little room to play more aggressively on offense, especially since we do have a good goalie, and everyone loves playing offense. :)
The only thing I miss right now is real free time. Time to sit and read a book, or go to the theatre with Jen, or just hang out for a bit, things are so busy right now it's hard to catch your breath sometimes. I know it will slow down, and I know I'll look back on parts of this and miss it someday, but man I could use a break. :) Hopefully England will provide that, and I'm really looking forward to seeing Simon and Fiona and meeting Ben. Plus I hear we're going to visit Fiona's parents, and I've not been to Belgium before, so that should be a fun experience.
Anyway, quick update before I go back to caulking/spackling/puttying everything in sight. Fun fun! :)
September 28, 2007
So, if you've been following the saga of the kitten who lived, we found him a very nice home. He is a very sweet kitty, he snuggled with me (I was banished to the couch because Eric had a stomach bug) most of the night. But, suprisingly, Riley hated him. We think it was a status thing... older male cat challenged by young male kitten. But Riley hissed at him anytime he came near (though Sutton was doing his best to make peace, and they might eventually have worked it out), and was sulking. He was nothing like his normal self. And the house is disgusting. Between the remodeling and everybody being incredibly sick, the house is a total embarrassing wreck. And the dogs and cats barrelling through it in their games added to the mess and chaos considerably. So we sent Sutton off with Jesse and her girlfriend Sabrina, who promise to keep Sutton indoors and spoil him rotten. And thus the kitty who had a tragic beginning has a happy ever after.
Here is a picture of Jesse, Sabrina, and Sutton off to their life of happiness together:
We still have to pay the vet bill, but frankly the amount we're paying pales in comparison to what the costs would have really been if the vet hadn't been so generous with her time and resources. And, as Eric said when I asked if we were doing the right thing, "It was expensive, inconvenient, and time consuming, so probably." If you ask us to spend some money or see a perfectly good kitten put to sleep, we're going to spend the money. Because we are suckers.
September 3, 2007
Yes, I know, long time no update. Bad Eric, no doughnut. :)
So much to tell, although if you watch the gallery some of it won't be news. Ollie's second tooth popped out a while back, right next to the first. Jenny and I were coincidentally talking about when his second would appear, and I happened to look in his mouth--and there it was!
He's changing so fast right now. He's just started into 6-9 month clothes (at 8 months--if he stays on this growth curve he'll be 18lb. at a year, which means he'll be wearing 12-month clothes until he's about two :-P), so there are new cute clothes to wear. He's pulling up from sitting to standing all by himself, and in fact at this point I think he'll skip crawling. He can scoot forward if he wants to, but given that he can pull himself up, he loves to stand, and if you give him your hands to help him balance, he can shakily "walk" forward... All he really needs is balance and practice: I give him a month before he's walking. I could be wrong though, he seems to alternate developing physically and mentally, so maybe he'll get to cruising and plateau there for a few months.
He loves books; just going to Barnes & Noble and walking down the kids' aisle (or heck, sitting down with a book at a cafe table) puts a huge smile on his face. Not surprising given his parents, but very gratifying. :)
He likes being upside down, too; I think he's either going to be a gymnast or a monkey, and the jury's out on which. He's figured out he can hook his toes into my ever-present belt and push up (or, more often, out); today in B&N he started adding the step of dropping his head between his arms so that he's on the verge of doing a somersault down my chest. So naturally I just grab him and toss his knees over my shoulder so he's hanging there, and he's grinning and laughing like a maniac. I'm telling you, all he needs is a prehensile tail.
He gives kisses, too, lots and lots of kisses. I hope he stays this affectionate; I know the culture will try and beat it out of him, but when he hugs me or kisses me it really is the best thing in the world.
He starts daycare tomorrow, twice a week. I know Jenny's really stressed out about it, and so am I. I'm so used to seeing Jen and Ollie pop in and out, or come over to my desk at home to see what I'm doing/steal my glasses/give me a kiss, and now that won't happen on Tuesday and Thursday. It's kind of sad to be passing so much of Ollie's time off to someone else. I'm so spoiled working at home, I get to see all the firsts in person and not miss anything. So hopefully he doesn't, like, walk for the first time at daycare (or at least, if he does, they don't tell us ;)).
Speaking of firsts, just yesterday he figured out the "M" sound. He's been saying "Dada" for a while now, but the closest he could get to "M" was "B" (so Jenny has been "Bob" for a few weeks...). Then yesterday he said "Mob", which was pretty close, and then he said "Mom" very clearly. He grins every time I say it back, and I've noticed when he gets upset sometimes he'll say "Mommommommom". Which kind of hurts a little bit, even though I try hard not to let it; I know sometimes he's going to want her instead, and he ought to. But I'm selfish like that. :)
Tonight might be another breakthrough, we'll see. He's not been sleeping well lately, although he's getting better at napping (hour naps aren't uncommon at this point, and we can often get away with just two naps a day even). At night, though, a lot of times he won't even go two hours without waking up, which is tiring, especially since he virtually never sleeps past 6 or so. So tonight Jenny and I decided to make another go of mild sleep training, so after his bath and a feeding, I put him down in his crib with Gertrude (his stuffed hedgehog, the closest thing to a lovey we've been able to identify), kissed him goodnight, and left rather than rocking him almost asleep (or to be honest, all-the-way-asleep, more often than not). He seemed to think it was playtime at first, making his "bobbobbobbob" noise and shrieking periodically, but then he got bored or lonely and started crying. After ten minutes I went in and tried to soothe him (without picking him up), but when I left a minute or so later he started crying harder. Jen left at that point (she has a class she's been going to), and I was expecting all kinds of difficulties, but at the end of the next 10 minutes, just as I got up to try soothing him again, he suddenly quieted down and went to sleep.
I am now going to probably jinx myself by checking on him, because PARENTHOOD is an anagram for PARANOIA (not really, I can't back that up, but it should be).
Nope. He's still alive; I can see him breathing. The worst part about this is that all the baby books say that 6 months (or double birth weight, which Ollie just hit) is when you should try sleep training, but they also say that SIDS is a risk until 1 year, and you shouldn't let them sleep on their stomach until then. The paradox is that by 6 months, they can roll over anytime they want to, usually (Oliver could), and left to his own devices, Ollie will sleep on his stomach. So: let him fall asleep on his stomach and POSSIBLY DIE, or start sleep training? Or poke the bear by letting him fall asleep, then trying to turn him over without waking? You can't win for losing.
Speaking of not winning for losing, at Jen's continued urging I embarked on a weight gain program. I added an 800-1000 calorie milkshake to my daily intake (ice cream, whole milk, whey protein, banana, chocolate syrup), drank it religiously for two weeks without eating any less at meals... and lost five pounds. What. The. Hell. I'm still spotty about eating breakfast though, so maybe if I add that it will help. If I drop another five I think USAID is going to start airlifting supplies into my back yard (which at least would help with the grocery bills). :(
Edit: Also, I know the site is wonky and comments are disabled. I upgraded Movable Type and it screwed everything, so I have to basically start over. Sorry, folks. :( You can always e-mail me your comments, I do love e-mails...
Edit the Second: Okay, so he woke up at 8:20 and cried, despite my best soothing efforts, until Jen got home and fed him at 9:40. Ah well. Maybe next time.
April 18, 2007
So sleeping has been kind of a rollercoaster the last few weeks. For some reason there was a period of about 4 days where Oliver decided that sleeping for more than an hour was completely uninteresting. This was, to put it mildly, not much fun. We tried everything: earlier bedtime, later bedtime, feeding before bath, after bath, rocking, bouncing, white noise, no white noise... Possibly coincidentally, he got his first cold the day before this started, so he was all congested; we put a vaporizer with some Vicks in the room as well, so we tried using that, not using that, nothing worked.
And then after several days he just went back to sleeping. We both knew, intellectually, that that happens; it apparently tends to happen right before they take a developmental step. That doesn't really prepare you for four nights without sleep, though: nothing really can. :)
After that things actually got easier, so maybe that was what happened. Jenny read a helpful book that talked about the EASY pattern (Eat, Activity, Sleep, You) that seems to work. The idea is that you feed them, play with them/keep them active until they get tired (usually an hour to an hour and a half), then they take a nap while you do You things, and then repeat. Every baby has their own schedule, but we managed to find Ollie's pretty quickly, and like I said it's been very helpful. The first few days he only seemed to want to nap while being held (specifically, held upright against my chest) so my You activity was to sit down and watch hockey while he slept snuggled up to me. :) Yesterday, though, he had a really fussy morning, Jenny had trouble getting him to nap at all. About 3 she asked me if I could swaddle him (I'm better at swaddling him tightly enough that he falls asleep before he works himself free; more practice) and get him down for a nap. He woke up after about 15 minutes, but settled back down again and slept until 5. I think his longest nap to that point was probably 45 minutes, so a two-hour nap was completely unexpected. :) We were actually a little worried he wouldn't sleep well last night because of it--but then he slept from 8pm to 5am, which was incredible. He woke up a few times, but always settled himself back down without either of us having to get up, and after Jen fed him at 5, he slept until 7:30 and then just quietly lay in his crib until about 8. I have not slept so well in months. :) So hopefully that week of no sleep was him figuring out how to sleep better on his own, and things will continue like this for a bit. Of course, traveling and changes in routine are supposed to cause sleep issues, and we're traveling each of the next three months, which could be "exciting".
Ollie continues to develop every day, of course; he's holding his head up without any problems now, and he loves being in the Snugli when we're out. The grocery store and Lowe's are both favorite locations, since there's so many people and shapes and colors to see. Best of all, he and I can go out for two or three hours at a time and leave Jenny home to work, which up until now has been hard for her to do. Apparently Ollie roller over (tummy to back) yesterday, but it happened while Jen and he were at a friend's house and he hasn't duplicated the feat for me. :) He's stuffing more and more things into his mouth; his favorite is still both hands (at the same time), but he also tends to enjoy gnawing on hands, knuckles, toys, etc. It's actually a little disconcerting to have your three-month-old suddenly lean over and start gnawing on you like a little velociraptor, but I guess it makes him happy. ;) He's still really talkative--we got him a Bumbo chair so he can sit up, and he loves to sit in that thing and talk to us. I can't wait until they're real words. ;)
He's very interested in the pets lately too, he watches them all the time and occasionally reaches out towards them. They're great with him (to the point where we have to stop them giving him kisses all over his face) as well.
Hockey has been lots of fun lately. I scored another goal: I was set up in front of the goal after I joined a rush, and the forward who had dropped back to cover my spot shot/passed it at me. I managed to deflect the puck up and over the goalie's shoulder, which was very cool and exactly what I was trying to do. Managing to do what I was trying to is an exciting and not-exactly-common event, so... ;) I've been seeing the ice better lately too, doing a better job of keeping my head up and looking around to find the best pass rather than just blindly dumping it ahead. The team has kind of been on a roller coaster, but with one exception all of the games have been fun even when we lose. The exception was a win a week or so ago where one of the other team's forwards deliberately ran over our goalie on a breakaway and separated his shoulder, so we've had substitute goalies since. It sucks to see someone get hurt like that, especially since I was the one who gave up the breakaway. :(
January 5, 2007
So this is just a quick update, I promise a long post later with more info and I'll add pictures when I get a chance.
Oliver Grey Kokai-Means was delivered at 5:33 this morning. He weighed 7 pounds, 15 ounces and was 20.5 inches long, blue eyes (of course) and blonde/brown hair. He is the most beautiful baby ever, and lest you think I'm just being a new dad, I'll point out that all of the nurses have said so too, and they're not biased. ;)
Unfortunately, due to some complications during labor, Oliver experienced severe respiratory distress at birth, and he is making a steady recovery in the neonatal ICU of St. David's hospital. He seems like a perfectly happy, healthy newborn boy, and we're hopeful that he'll be home by Jenny's birthday.
(This post was actually written on 1/10, and pre-dated, just in case anyone is wondering. No, I did not rush home from the hospital to blog about our baby. :))
December 4, 2006
Never, ever, ever ask a pregnant woman, "you got twins in there?"
Particularly if you are the waiter who is depending on her good graces for your tip. It's rude, it's thoughtless, and it makes you like like a moron who ain't never seen a pregnant woman before. And you don't get tipped very well, for some reason.
Jesus. It amazes me how people (at large) view pregnancy. I don't know if it's a consequence of modern life (where, the birth rate being what it is, pregnant women are a relative rarity), or of the images displayed in the media (where pregnant women are all impossibly skinny and never more than 3 months along), but you'd think these people had no idea that you could actually grow a real person in there! (Which is particularly interesting when combined with the fact that "newborns" on TV are invariably like 18 months old--you have these skinny, tiny women giving birth to 20-pound babies. Physics, anyone?)
In other news: I played hockey (well, went to the hockey class) last night for the first time since August. It was great fun--a pair of my friends were there, and some other guys I knew, and it was great being part of it again. One of the guys told me I looked just as good as the last time he saw me play--which is nice, but probably not quite true; I did fall down at least once. ;) My ghetto gloves lost their protective coating of duct tape halfway through, unfortunately. Hopefully my new gloves get here soon. :)
We had a really busy weekend; normally we take Sunday easy, just read the paper and have breakfast, maybe clean some stuff, take a nap, etc.; yesterday, aside from hockey, we had to get up early to make the sugar cookie base for a fruit pizza (quick tip: do not use olive oil in cookie recipes that call for "1 cup oil"; just trust me on this one), which we took to a brunch with several people from Jen's school, hosted by one of the administrators there. That was fun; she has 3 very friendly, very large dogs (Great Pyrenees), and I'm a sucker for big fluffy animals. :)
Saturday Jen went out to the mall with some friends; I stayed home and cleaned, mostly. I ended up in a grumpy mood; the weather here has finally swung towards winter (gray, cold, rainy) and I think I'm addicted to sunshine at this point. Plus I was really missing hockey (which was why Jen told me to go on Sunday); I'm not a super social person most of the time, but I really love hanging out with the people there and getting the exercise.
So anyway, we're thinking taking it easy next weekend will be good; we're really hoping Ollie decides to come out and play soon. It's been such a long process that it's getting really hard to be patient any more. :) He is at least head-down (ultrasound today confirmed it), so that's one worry pretty much out of the way.
I'm also excited about the new kitchen sink and faucet. We picked it out last week and picked it up this weekend, and we'll be putting it in over Christmas (I am not attempting plumbing without Dad around to walk me through it ;)).
Work is muy busy right now. We have a big deadline tomorrow and a bigger one the 15th, so there's lots of extra hours and weekends for a lot of people (not so much for me, fortunately). It's exciting, though; in a few weeks all the stuff I've been working on for months will finally be in the hands of real users (even if only in limited numbers). I can't wait to hear back from sales and through our forums how people react to it.
November 24, 2006
I don't know what to say about my birthday this year, really. It was a pretty good weekend bookended by some of the worst travel I've ever experienced (and I've experienced my share of bad travel). We flew out Thursday morning on Continental, after getting up at 4am to make our flight. Every single time we fly Continental, going all the way back to 1999, I've sworn never to fly them again, and like a total idiot I do.
This time, there was a windstorm in Houston the night before we left, which meant that all the crews worked extra hours, so there were no crews available to fly the next morning. Delays all around. Okay, fine, whatever. But that meant the airlines had to rebook everyone in order to not miss connections all over the place, meaning no kiosk check-in. It was a study in comparative staffing strategies. The Continental desk had 4 ticket agents. Two of them were working the first-class line (length: 5 people, and not growing). Two of them were working the "steerage" line (length: 300 people and growing). The American Airlines desk right next to it had 12 agents--and no line at all.
As an extra insult, we could have driven to Houston, made our original connection, and had none of these problems. (Although, as you'll see, that plan would really not have worked out well later.)
So we get to Louisville, where some Cocoa Trios from Borders finally add something positive to the day. The rest of the weekend was pretty fun; Jen set up her parents' new computer, and I hooked up their new home theater system. Then we played pool. :)
Friday night we went to the L&N Wine Bar, which was pretty good. Their creme brulee is very good, and the drinks looked really tasty. The rest of the weekend we pretty much just hung out, watched TV, played pool, etc. Lots of fun. And I got lots of cool gifts, for which I am very grateful. Jen and I played an inaugural game of the latest edition of Trivial Pursuit already. ;)
Coming home was, if possible, even more annoying than getting there. The flight itself was fine, not late or anything, but it took us an hour to get our bags and the car was dead when we got to the parking lot. Apparently it's a miracle it drove at all before that, because the cable that runs from the battery to the starter had corroded into green powder. I won't belabor the point, but we got home at 3:30 am and I had to go back the next day to get the car towed.
Wednesday we had the car seat checked to be sure it's safely installed, then went shopping at the new outlet mall and the new Ikea store.
Thanksgiving day we spent largely cleaning and cooking; we had dinner by ourselves, then had friends over for drinks/dessert/Beyond Balderdash, which was loads of fun. I ate way too many tasty desserts. :) Today's been more relaxing, finally; I took a nap, did some Xmas shopping, and then Jen and I played Pikmin 2 for a while. And there's still two days left in the weekend, so things are looking up. :)
November 7, 2006
...is my command, so I'm posting an update. :-P
I voted today, at an elementary school cleverly hidden in the woods near our house. Not that it mattered a bit, of course; Austin invariably goes heavily Democrat, the rest of the state heavily Republican, and every two years we consider walling them out and they consider walling us in. ;)
About the only votes I actually cared about were the ones funding local parks, central libraries, and theatre, all of which passed (though the theatre vote was closer than I would have thought; maybe Austin's not as arts-friendly as I thought).
Work is taking interesting turns. I've been advocating for a more open discussion of upcoming versions of our software; in the past we've been relatively tight-lipped, but I think our customers would be better served by learning about and discussing some things earlier on. It's a balancing act, of course, but this week I got the go-ahead to post about something I've spent a lot of time working on. It's not completely public, but it is available to any member of our blog site, so while I can't exactly say "go read it", at least our customers are getting a chance to learn about and think about it. I'm looking forward to what they have to say. I kind of envision part of my role being an advocate for third-party developers and system admins, so having dialogue with those people is really helpful for me (and very interesting as well).
We had a very fun baby shower (thrown by our good friends Shannon & Stephen) last Sunday. We stuck with the "favorite childhood book" theme that worked so well in NYC, so we got some very interesting gifts, all of which Ollie will love, I'm sure. I've taken to reading a book (or story) or two each night before bed, out loud so that Jenny, Ollie, and whichever of the animals cares to listen can hear it. I have to practice my dramatic reading skills (including voices ;), after all.
Nothing else of particular interest to report; I'm looking forward to our trip to Louisville for my birthday, we're planning a post-dinner Thanksgiving party that should be great, and Christmas (and Ollie) can't get here soon enough. :)
October 24, 2006
It's hard to believe it's already the end of October. (Of course, it would be easier to believe if it weren't still hitting 80 every day. I want Fall, damnit!) It seems like it was just a few months ago that we were carving pumpkins with our (still child-free at that point) friends Stephen and Shannon, not a whole year.
Of course, on the plus side, that means hockey is back on. :) We had Alec over last night to watch the Canadiens lose to Buffalo (after Janne Niinimaa guaranteed they'd win--smooth move), which was lots of fun. We have startlingly similar taste in books, too, which is cool. :) Also went out to a birthday party on Saturday that was a lot of fun. We don't stay out late very much anymore, so it was novel in that respect; we ended up hanging out in a neat little park with some friends until it got too cold.
Work is settling down a little bit again, aside from a minor crisis on Friday afternoon (why is it always Friday afternoon?) that I had to handle; it's been really busy lately, but at the moment I'm working on some estimates for the release after this, and it's hard to feel the same sense of urgency about that kind of thing. :) Tomorrow I'm supposed to take my work-provided pair of monitors in and exchange them for brand-new flat panels, which is cool. It certainly will give us back some of the dining room table--those 21" CRTs take up a lot of space. I should also be getting an IP-based phone this week, so I will no longer be tying up our phone line every morning for teleconferences. Which doesn't really matter to anyone but me (because I'll finally be able to hear everyone else in the meetings) and Jen (because she hates me tying up the phone), but hey. :-P
Nothing happening on the Ollie front. He's pretty active most days, which means Jen gets worried when he's not active, but he generally gives her a kick or two if she asks if he's OK. The class moves along; last week we simulated contractions (using ice cubes). It's all very interesting (actually, I'm finding it very useful to get a clearer picture of what my role will be, what kinds of things I will need to do and think about--I might be getting more out of it than Jen is, in some ways, although she does enjoy practicing the relaxation exercises).
Also I'm kind of getting the writing bug again for some reason. I might just ignore it until it goes away, I might not. It's been hard to start writing simply because the last time I did, I somehow managed to not save about 3/4 of what I wrote. I have the Word doc, it's just a lot... shorter than I remember it being. Which is frustrating, but I guess it's all still up in my head, so no great loss. Sometimes I think about trying to write and publish a novel or something, just to see if I could. And royalty checks (however small) certainly wouldn't suck. ;)
October 15, 2006
Not much to report lately. Jen and I have finished pretty much all the prep work for Ollie, so we're down to waiting; something neither of us are particularly good at. We've been to two of our birthing classes thus far--last week we watched videos of births, which I hadn't done since Health class in middle school. It strikes me as a little odd that people actually allow the filming of their baby's birth and the use of that footage in documentaries, although I guess I could just be a pretty private person. :-P
This was actually a really good weekend. Yesterday we re-re-re-(how many years have we lived here?)-did the front yard with some new plants, some new mulch, and compost (please come back to life, front yard!), then we went to the apartment of some friends of ours for awesome homemade sushi and tempura. And weird but amusing Canadian comedy shows (of course, we have a history with those). :)
Today was slower paced, but very nice. We lazed around with pancakes (and real Maple Syrup, thankyou Fi and Simon!) and the NYT, took a nap, and then I challenged Iron Chef Jenny (or vice versa) to Battle Chocolate Chip Cookie. I think it's a draw, which just means we have to do it again. ;)
So, that's pretty much it. Nothing else to report. I would give you hockey updates, but I'm not playing hockey, so... ;)
We're all fine, here, now--how are you? (Cookie for the reference.)