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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Birthdays and Barking

John celebrated his birthday yesterday... Although mourned seemed to be the more appropriate description for much of the day, and not just because he's approaching the end of another decade... (Ahem)

It all started out innocuous enough. A guy from the phone company came out, a day earlier than expected. So that sounds good, right? He confirmed that our nerves wires are frayed and did what he could on the spot short of pulling them all out and starting over. Apparently, 40+ year-old wires aren't good. Especially with the jimmy-rigging that went on with the previous owners.

Right after he left we did a little jig, because our internet connection was faster than it had been since... Well, since forever.

Unfortunately, that was short-lived.

Routing Woes
John thought he'd piggy-back on our good fortune and work on getting the router to, um, route properly. Alas, in vain, since this was the umpteenth time he has worked on this problem, and always before we could go back to how the phone line was probably contributing to the problem. Now that the phone line has been fixed (as much as it can be for now) he is faced with the router being absolutely, undoubtedly, the worst router. Ever. He alternated between working on it, debating whether to call the Dell Indians at a mere $7 a minute... or stomping on the ground and smashing it to smithereens.

He opted for giving up instead, with plans to return the router to the depths of Hades from whence it came. Or to the BX, whichever you prefer.

Besides, he had a game to watch, with his favorite peeps.Alabama won!
No matter that they shouldn't have, based on how they played. John and some Tennessee fans at work placed a friendly bet on this game -- John should have some beer coming his way very soon... Happy Birthday!

And the kids showered him with homemade gifts, each in their own unique way.

Olivia went on a card-making frenzy...

If you look closely, you might wonder if she even wore herself out. ("Mom and Mommy"?)

The Times, They are a Changing

In what truly says more about this next generation than I could ever begin to articulate, Conner presented his dad with his own homemade "card", DSi style...

I mean, have you ever?

I think John was quite taken aback.

Imagine if the original Disney creators could see what everyday teenagers are able to do now...

Sean-Peter didn't really make anything for John, per se. But he presented his own creation, in his own, unique way.So much for the cake.It's a good thing he's so darn cute.

He's not into much mischief today, though...

Meet the latest cold victim. He's got it worse than Olivia did; he woke up this morning -- not early -- panicking with that tell-tale barking seal cough. He was my only kid who ever got croupy, but at the ripe old age of almost five four it's definitely more bark than bite. It took a while to convince him of that, though. It didn't help that he'd also lost his voice.

Here's a tiny sample of a barking seal cough. I didn't want to belabor the point by forcing it out of him, but you get the idea.

At least Olivia's doing much better...

Friday, October 23, 2009

In Which I Post a Bunch of Photos and Videos and Update You With Our Wild and Crazy Antics.

Talk about a major chill day today. Olivia was home sick -- again -- with symptoms that are decidedly cold-like, and I've decided to try to keep them that way.

These are times I am sooo glad I am a stay-at-home mom.

It also rained all night, and most of the day. Talk about an incentive to do nothing but lay lie around on the couch...

(Especially when you have a reading buddy.)

I passed out on the couch for awhile myself. I'm not sick, but apparently I'm not well, either. I basically went to bed with the kids last night, slept all night, fell asleep on the couch about mid-morning, then again after lunch...

I have no idea what my problem is. What if I didn't have the "leisure" to just fall asleep like that? (Never mind about the kids... Hey, the house didn't burn down, okay?) I can only imagine that perhaps all that sleep helps my body keep the germs at bay. John emailed from work himself saying he wasn't feeling too well...

Imagine what this world would be like if everyone just got enough sleep.

I missed a party yesterday at Sean-Peter's preschool. A "Mexico Party" -- something to do with butterflies? No matter: I thought since I didn't send Olivia to school it probably wouldn't be prudent for us to show up at a festival. But look at this photo my friend Erin took while she was there.

Isn't it the best? Down below is more typical of photos that we've gotten lately...
Sitting at Conner's soccer games has been a familiar pastime as of late. The tournament is scheduled to finish up this weekend, wet fields permitting. I think it's none too soon for his little brother... Not to mention the weather. I think the damp chill at his last game was what did it for Olivia's cold and level of coughing. Ohio's weather is typical Midwest-fare: sweaters one day, shorts the next -- raincoats in between.(This was a shorts' day. With a mix of long-sleeves.)

We also went to a pumpkin patch recently...

Yet another event with Peter's preschool, where he apparently has a girlfriend.
Just kidding! (I hope.)

But it was the most absolutely gorgeous beautiful fall day in Ohio... Maybe Love Was in the Air?Reading...
Sean-Peter's IEP meeting with his teachers, etc., was today... Again, I missed it, because Olivia was home sick. But John was able to go, so it's all good. We haven't yet talked about what they discussed, but I can't imagine any surprises. Overall, he's simply doing quite well, especially from an academic perspective. Get a load of him here reading...

Reading Preschooler:

Okay, so he's not exactly reading. But it's the first step, eh?

And it was all Olivia could do not to step in right away and show him how it's done. Of course, she got her turn...

Reading 1st Grader:

It is entirely apropos that they're reading a book about guinea pigs, seeing as how we have this little guy now. Meet our latest pet, "Nosy Pepperoni" (don't ask).Otherwise known as "Pepper", "Little Piggy" -- or better yet, "Bacon Bit".

I know, we're terrible. But The Huckster is rather taken by him.Internet-Schminternet
It has taken me all evening to sporadically write this post and download the photos and videos all while dealing with the erratic behavior of our internet connection, which has been sketchy at best. It's all tied to our phone line, which apparently has problems "in-house", so far as we have been able to nail it down.

We are slowly dealing with it and have thus far pinpointed the problem as occurring mainly when it rains, and thus when the box is wet. Here John thought it would be fun to take a picture of me calling the phone company with a phone hooked up to the box outside. Because it's all just so funny.

We have since taped a plastic bag around the box on the side of our house. Because we're classy like that. Apparently a hard rain such as the one we had last night still gets through.

Oh, and we're also having issues with our router, WHICH WE JUST GOT, and our modem, which don't seem to like each other very well. We've thought about putting them in time out, but that's all they seem to want to do anyway, so it doesn't seem much of a punishment.

John's getting right on that. Because he doesn't have anything better to do with his time. We're just all wild and crazy around here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Haiku Hysteria

Husband's deployment

a go. Then no. Then yes. Then...

Stab my eye with fork.

*This haiku was inspired by a children's book I read to the kids tonight. (The idea of writing a haiku, that is -- not the theme I wrote about.) Go ahead, try your own. It's fun! Cheapest therapy around, I'll tell you what.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Today's Quote from Olivia

"Nothing's fair in my life!


All because I told her to clean her room, and she wants to play a game instead.

Oh, the travesty.

Just wait until she gets a job, and her boss expects her to show up if she wants a paycheck. Oh, the injustice.

You wanna know what's not fair in my life, Olivia? ....Oh, never mind. I don't have that kind of time.

Now that's not fair.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Blackmail Photo #287

In his defense, he said, "I'm a butterfly!"

Monday, October 5, 2009

And So I Rant.

I'm reading some news this morning and I find myself getting madder and madder. First, some headlines reaming the General in command of Afghanistan because he's going all over talking about how more troops are needed over there or we're going to lose the war. Critics are saying it is "better for military advice to come up through the chain of command." Well, maybe if the President would grant the General an audience it would come up through the chain of command! Did you know that The President has spoken to the Commanding American General in Afghanistan one time since he's been president? One. Time. Never mind the obvious practicality of talking to the guy in charge of a war -- what kind of message does that send? What does that leave the troops fighting this war to think? What message is that sending to the widows? the orphans? their buddies left behind?

While the President and his wife are flying in luxury to European capitals to wine and dine with foreign delegates and champion the cause of our athletes, American troops are dying while the President contemplates strategy and declares that his decisions will not be driven "by the politics of the moment".

How about by some discussion with the people in charge? How about with some recognition of how guys are dying while he takes his sweet time trying to figure out what to do, as a guy who has no experience in knowing what to do with a war?

More headlines referred to a latest attack on some remote posts near the Pakistan border. Eight Americans were killed and four Afghans, with 11 more Afghani police taken hostage by the militants before they fled. The Taliban claimed responsibility. These outposts "are among many in Afghanistan's remote and volatile regions that U.S. forces plan to pull back from in a bid to turn the war around".

Turn the war around to what? The other side? "The new strategy calls for U.S. troops to pull out of these remote areas and concentrate instead around Afghanistan's population centers."

What do you think is going to happen if we abandon the "remote" areas? Is there something I'm missing? Some pieces of information that I don't have privy to that would change what seems so obvious? If we patrol the cities, and leave the rest of the country to the Taliban, what's going to happen as soon as we leave the cities? What motive do decent Afghanis have to work with our efforts to bring peace to their country, knowing that just a few miles away, Taliban forces are just waiting for us to leave, and to grant punishment on those who cooperated with us while we were there? What's happening to those 11 Afghani police forces who were kidnapped this weekend during the raid on their post? What ordeal are they going through right now, as you're reading this? If they're even still alive. And all because we didn't have enough guys out there to watch their back. And now they're talking about taking those few guys away, too.

Well, we should. We should just take the whole lot of them away, unless we're going to hunker down and do what it takes to do this right. Right now. The outcome is inevitable if we don't, so why waste any more lives fighting a war that our President doesn't even consider important enough to make a decision on. It's disgraceful. Disrespectful. Above all, disheartening.

Here I haven't been heard from on this blog for a couple of weeks and you come back for this. Well, I was mad. And already I'm calming down, but while I was still mad I thought, "I'm going to write about this, da#@it, and get it down. Because later when I'm not so mad I won't want to." And that's what happens. We get mad, but then we get over it. Because we have our own lives, our own responsibilities, our own pressing daily minutiae. I don't think we get over it, but we do get on with it -- on with things we have control over. And the war in Afghanistan isn't one of them.