Well, I've done it. If you're reading this, then congratulations! You successfully received an invitation, jumped through the googlicious hoops, and are now an official viewer of ye olde brinkerhoff blogg.
I expect this little hindrance will only last a couple weeks, a month max.
Thanks for rolling with our changes so far - we'll try to keep it worth your while!
Person I’d Like to See Again By: Andrew Brinkerhoff
I had to think a while to answer this question, but then I thought of someone. My Grandpa Brinkerhoff was someone who was important to me, because he and I were a lot alike.
See, Grandpa Brinkerhoff was quite interesting. He was a genius, too. He was the inventor of those big fluorescent lights you see in grocery stores, and he also created some other neat stuff. He loved green (lemon-lime) Kool-Aid more than anything. He and I drove around for an hour looking for something I made up completely. We went down to the Columbia River together. Being autistic can often make it difficult to communicate with others who do or don’t know about my autism, but Grandpa was most likely autistic too, so we had no trouble together.
Sadly, he died in August 2007. That was the first funeral I’ve attended before. People may think my grandpa is a little strange, which is probably true, but I’m a little strange sometimes, so I don’t mind. If I saw him again, I’d probably show him all of the books I’ve written. I think he’d like them.
Thanks for reading.
Andy was given this assignment for English. I was touched and loved his thoughts and memories about his Grandfather. I hope that you might also be touched. His Teacher left a nice note for Andy too, it read:
"It is so good to have someone in your life that means so much. That person enriches you and is like a thread in your blanket of life"
When my alarm went off at 4:30 this morning, there was a lot of talk about snow up in Bellingham, and even as far south as Seattle.
I had to take Ellysa to super-early-morning water polo practice, so I got up and looked out the window - No snow whatsoever at our house!
Dropped her off at the pool, and headed for the Y for racketball. Turned on the news... And they were doing a school report. No mention of Tacoma schools, so Andy and the daycare will be on regular schedule. But Ellysa and Kaylee are in neighboring University Place schools...
And U.P. announced that they were opening two hours late.
There was NO snow. There was ice on the cars, but not enough on the roads to even make you walk cautiously. The little traction-control indicator light on the van didn't come on even once as I drove all over this morning.
When I got back from the Y, here's what our front yard looked like.
Oooh, treacherous, no??
Well maybe it's because the sky looks like it's ABOUT to dump a blizzard out on us.
Your eyes aren't deceiving you, and I didn't do any photochoppery on that pic, that really is a clearing in the cloud cover.
And don't worry, that's not snow on the roofs of those houses, just frost.
As I drove in to work, I saw approximately twenty-five snowflakes.
THAT IS MORE THAN TWO DOZEN, PEOPLE!!!
It's a very good thing that U.P. schools took the extra two hours this morning. These conditions were far too treacherous to navigate at regular school hours.
Everyone on the show tonight is picking lame songs, boring songs, songs with no vocal range...
The judges are calling them out on that.
But what I personally have been hearing, that I haven't heard the judges pick up on, is that pretty much all of them - listening to the recap at the end of the show right now, and I'm gonna say ALL of them - have been turning their vibrato up to 11, or in some cases even higher.
It's not even American Idol to me.
It's Barnyard Idol, with a whole bunch of billy goats trying to out-warble each other.
After two and a half years, and 457 posts, a situation has come up that requires me to make the blog private.
Hopefully, this is just a temporary situation, and I REALLY wish there was a better way of controlling access than Google's private setting, and I've even had some ideas that might work, but I have no time to try them out...
My hope is that this will just be a temporary lockdown, and that in a few months we'll be back to all-access to everyone.
What in the world is going on??
Kate, who you may recall is Danee's birth mother, is NOT doing well. She has decided that she shouldn't have given her baby up, and that she should get to have her back. This issue has been bubbling under the surface for a few weeks now, and unfortunately one of the biggest problems is that she has easy access to all the fun, happy, lovable moments that we've posted here.
That means she hasn't seen - and therefore doesn't believe in the existence of - the middle of the night feedings, the colic and its relentless, agonizing screaming, the acid reflux and the accompanying always being covered in partially digested, fully disgusting formula. Just as I typed that last sentence, she went from smelling like wonderful lavender baby wash, to rancid pukies. Oh, and she's screaming again. I'm holding her while typing this, because when she's like this, she won't stand for being put down.
None of that exists in Kate's imagination. Remember, she has fetal alcohol syndrome, and is similar to a 12 year old in her mental capacity. All she knows is that Danee loves her baths, Danee is cute, and that Danee is not her baby.
FACT: If we hadn't adopted Danee, the state (DSHS, CPS, etc) would have taken her and put her into the foster care system. Kate keeping her baby was NEVER an option.
Today we received a phone call from Kate's mom Cami, in a panic, saying that Kate had disappeared from her group home 36 hours ago. They found evidence that she had tracked down her former boyfriend (originally thought to be Danee's sperm donor) and has possibly asked him to marry her, because in her mind that means she would get Danee back.
Obviously, and for several reasons, that ain't gonna happen.
But to isolate my family from the insanity brewing there, I'm going to make the blog private for the foreseeable future.
If you haven't ever encountered a blog going private, here's what it means:
If you haven't been specifically authorized to view this blog, you will see nothing. An error page will tell you that we're private. Unless you know how to contact us, you can't even ask for permission to see it.
If you receive the blog by email, nothing should change. I say "should" because I've never done the private thing, so I don't know how it'll work.
Google Reader likely won't work anymore. The blogbar on other blogs won't show our updates anymore. You'll have to either subscribe by email, or remember to manually check in.
Did I mention I hate doing this?
Hopefully things will blow over soon, and we can be back to normal. I also hope to hear from all the background "lurkers" I know visit on a regular basis. Yeah, talkin' to you, Provo, Utah... Oakland, CA, and Athens, GA.
Thanks for keeping up with us - see ya on the other side of private land.
I started DJing dances when I was 14... a few years later I landed an incredibly fun contract - I was the official DJ for Church Youth Dances in Bellevue, and after a year or two, neighboring stake Redmond came calling, asking if I'd DJ theirs too.
I DJ'd the Bellevue ones for pretty close to ten years, before a change in the leadership resulted in them making changes that were nearly guaranteed to kill the awesome time we'd enjoyed, so I stepped down rather than compromise what I loved to do. I heard from well-placed spies that within a few months, those dances were deader than dead, which I'm pretty sure was the goal...
In the years since, I've done a fair share of wedding receptions, company parties and picnics, and even a few Church functions - but not youth dances.
You may recall a few months ago, Cindy and I decided that we were going to start the DJ business back up after having mothballed it for the past few years. Things are going really well so far! I had a wedding reception a couple weeks ago, and have bookings in July, August and September! We're really excited to get rolling in this area again, since it's possibly the most fun you can have while also making good money!
A couple weeks ago, my sister Linda called up and asked if I'd be interested in DJing the Church Youth Dances down in Olympia where they live. I had been thinking that it would be fun to start doing that again, so I enthusiastically said yes.
This evening on my way home from work, I talked to the guy coordinating those dances, and he was excited to have me on board as I was to be on board!
Starting on April 12, I will be the official DJ for Olympia Stake Youth Dances!
I'm really happy with how this is turning out, and can't wait for 8:00 on April 12!
Once again, it's the end of a long week, and I need to laugh! Since I'm probably not the only one, here are some things that are currently cracking me up...
This one's a couple months late, but man... it's hard to beat cats and Christmas lights no matter what time of year it is!
Now here's a challenging one... Which is stronger? Your desire to be a law-abiding citizen and follow the instructions on the road sign, or your desire to not be eaten by alligators?
I think this next sign is far easier to comply with... Or at least agree with... Or laugh at...
And finally, since there are a plethora of pregnant women in our circle of friends and family, here's a handy chart for ''the rest of us'' to know how to better approach them in their time of greatly with child.
I love you Cindy! Thanks for all the hard work you do!
Fitness Journal Update: I took advantage of the fact that Ellysa is on mid-winter break (and therefore doesn't have to be to school for zero-hour) and played racketball for more than 90 minutes! This morning's weigh in, even with all the restaurant and fast food of the weekend road trip, was a drop! Official WiiFit weight is now 212 - 3 pounds down from when I re-started! Yay Me!
I had a ton of stressful stuff going on at work, all of which had to be 100% completed by Monday morning. By Thursday, I was worried enough about my chances of getting it all done by quittin' time Friday, I decided to cancel our weekend trip. That's a lot of work stress! How did I cope? By coming home to this!
Danee on one leg, Jasper on the other, all warm, all soft. Better than Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil combined!
So, after nearly canceling Danee's whirlwind tour of the Tri-Cities, we made a split-second decision and threw a bunch of stuff in the van (only forgetting a few crucial items), filled her little tiny tummy to the brim and headed out!
First up: Snuggle time with Grandma Brinkerhoff! The last time my mom was featured here, her face had been frozen in a horrified expression because of some of the antics I had undertaken as a child... (file photo here:)
Well I'm happy to report that Mom's face has since recovered, and she was able to fully enjoy her newest (and probably final) grandbaby! She fed her a bottle, then combined some burping time with grandma snuggles...
Then we took Mom out to a Valentine's dinner at Applebee's - completely scoring a less-than-five-minute wait! By the time we were done, the lobby was standing room only, with wait times in the neighborhood of "no thanks, we'll go somewhere else!"
After returning Mom to the Pasco Retirement Castle, we made a LONG overdue visit to my cousin Alicia. She's been holding a whole lotta babystuffs for us, and now that we were finally in the same zip code, there was no way we were going to not meet up!
What a great visit!! When we got there, Alicia and her husband Bill were watching the awesome kids of Ryan and Danyelle, while they were out at their own Valentine Dinner. They arrived to collect their children shortly after we got there, and we all sat around visiting for a couple hours... Everyone who had been waiting to get their hands on our little Daneekins was able to, including Alicia's completely adorable son Payson.
From the second we walked in, he was jumping out of his skin to get some baby time in!
Danyelle's little girl Audrey also liked Danee, but only as long as her own Mommy wasn't holding her!
Time flew, we finally did the BabyStuffs Transfer, and then headed over to Donald & Lisa's, where my sister Susan was anxiously waiting to meet her youngest niece. Unfortunately, by this time Danee had had WAY more time in her car seat than she was willing to endure peacefully, and she screamed the whole way there. As a result, we ended our night there... We had an extremely generous offer to stay with my aunt Carolyn, but the prospect of putting the poor tiny girl back in the car seat was too heartbreaking, so we had to turn her down.
This morning Cindy got some time in with Donald & Lisa's little Elisabeth, who is about twice the size she was in August when we last saw her!
Meanwhile, Lisa got to remember what a much smaller baby felt like...
As I looked at the couch, I thought the baby swap was one of the cutest things I'd seen in a while!
We wrapped up our visit with a round of ''Big Baby, Little Baby'' with Danee and her cousin Elisabeth.
Now we're home and exhausted, but I already want to go back and do a better planned, longer lasting visit... But there's not much time to think about that since I gotta get back to work in the morning!
HUGE thank-yous to all the people who showed us such generosity and hospitality - we had a GREAT time!
Rules: It's harder than it looks! Copy to your own note, erase my answers, enter yours, and randomly tag some people (including me). Use the first letter of your name to answer each of the following questions. They have to be real. . .nothing made up! If the person before you had the same first initial, you must use different answers. You cannot use any word twice and you can't use your name for the boy/girl name question.
1. What is your name: Cindy 2. A four Letter Word: cute 3. A boy's Name: Chuck 4. A girl's Name: Carol 5. An occupation: cashier 6. A color: charcoal 7. Something you wear: coat 8. A food: carrots 9. Something found in the bathroom: comb 10. A place: California 11. A reason for being late: conversation 12. Something you shout: Crap! 13. A movie title: Cinderella 14. Something you drink: chocolate milk 15. A musical group: The Cars 16. An animal: cat 17. A street name: Contra Costa 18. A type of car: Corvette 19. Something scary: CRASH!! 20. Ice cream flavor: chocolate chip
Born with a full head of dark hair... (like Daddy)
Has a REALLY hard time waking up... (like Mommy)
Latest round of evidence? She has really bad acid reflux (like Daddy), which we're told is pretty common among preemies. Rather than simply feel heartburn, or waking up gagging on stomach acid, she does an awful lot of spitting up. Her doctor prescribed Baby Zantac to treat it.
Today I dropped the prescription off at Target's pharmacy during my lunch hour, so I could pick up the meds on my way home from work.
Lunchtime is a busy time at the pharmacy! While standing in line, I surveyed the staff behind the counter. Three people I recognize, two of whom I enjoy working with. Naturally, it's the third one who called me to her station. Things went surprisingly smooth with the dropoff, even though this was Danee's first 'script, so she was a new patient.
On my way home from work, I stop back in to pick it up. There was a much shorter line this time, but I still waited a couple minutes for someone to become available. The two people I enjoy were still there, along with the one who had helped me earlier today. That trio was joined by a couple others who look like they were brought in from ...well, maybe they came from the Pizza Hut Express or something. They weren't wearing the normal Red Shirt / Khaki Pants uniform, and looked more than a little confused.
The more-confused looking one was so eager to help me, that while I was still standing back from the counter waiting my turn, she yelled over to me, "Can I Help You?"
Now I know that my last name is long. Trust me, as a first grader, learning to write my name, I knew that Brinkerhoff has eleven long letters. But as time has gone by, I've come to also realize that all eleven of them serve a purpose. It's not like there's a silent Q in there or anything!
However, I also know that people on the back-end of a service counter nearly always have trouble with my name. So I said, very clearly, "Pickup for Brinkerhoff, please." (note how polite I was!)
Very Confused Girl smiles and says OK, then turns and heads right for the "R" section of the pickups. Having gone through this before, I offered up, "With a 'B'".
Same vacant smile, then an about face to the B section. She shuffled through all the waiting bags, talked to the pharmacist, went back and rifled through the Bs again, and then turned to me. "What's the first name on that?"
"Danielle," I answer. "I dropped it off at noon today for a 5:00 pickup."
Again with the rifling. And the consulting with the pharmacist... Then back to me.
"So the last name's 'Bickenhoss"?
(never mind that originally she was going to the R section... maybe she thought it was Rickenhausse?)
I know this may not seem so bad to someone who didn't live it. But by this point, I had about 23 evil plots brewing in my mind, each competing for the next round, American Idol style, until finally one of them emerged and was carried out upon the fool who was wasting my precious post-work evening, delaying me from getting home and getting comfortable with my family... So it was with great restraint that I said slowly and distinctly, and only a little bit through my teeth, "BRINK. ER. HOFF. B. R. I. N. K..."
Watch the news. Pharm-Rage is undoubtedly due to be the next big trend.
HEY ALL YOU EASTERN WASHINGTON FRIENDS AND FAMILY...
We're packing up our little Babykins and heading east! There's a Grandma, a couple Aunts (and corresponding uncles) and a whole buncha cousins that have been waiting patiently to meet her, and this weekend Danee will make the meet 'n' greet circuit!
We're hoping to see as many people as we can get away with!
"It's not very often you get a chance to wear a Tiara, so when the chance comes up, Ya gotta take It!"
Today while I was hard at work DJing a wedding reception, Cindy was enjoying the second of her two baby showers. The first one was from her friends at Church, and there were many great surprises, like our awesome new stroller! This one today, I guess could be called the "secular" shower - all of her friends from around Fircrest - staff at the elementary school, daycare parents past and present, neighborhood friends...
This morning as Cindy was getting dressed, she told me that she didn't think very many people would be there...
Holy Cow, was she ever wrong!
Based on the pile of loot I saw on our floor when I got home, this baby shower was the elite event in Fircrest today!
We got so much stuff - I still haven't even seen half of it, and I don't think we'll need to buy any more baby clothes until sometime this Summer... (of course, we have very low resistance to the insanely cute clothes we come across, so we undoubtedly WILL buy some - we just won't NEED to.)
Thank you to all of our friends and family, from both showers, as well as all who have popped in with surprise gifts and services... Y'all are the best! I mean, just LOOK at my living room right now!!
Look at that amazing, one-of-a-kind picture I got of Danee eating her fist! She almost NEVER does that! (except for every time I'm trying to get a picture of her, every time I look at her, and probably all the times that I'm not looking at her as well)
If you can draw your eyes away from the precision with which she shoves her right hand into her open mouth, you may notice the yellow band-aids on her legs.
Yes, today was Shot(s) day.
She received (I think...) 8 different vaccinations today, and for the rest of the day, has been very fussy, especially if anything touches her leg. We've kept the Baby Tylenol flowing into her, and hopefully after a good night's sleep (PLEASE!!!??) she'll be feeling much better.
There was a happy side-effect to her going to the mean old doctor's office to get those horrible shots... We got to throw her on the scale and get an official read on how big she is!
I'd been guesstimating "between 6 and 7 pounds" for the past couple weeks, but this last few days, I've been thinking that she's much closer to the seven end of that range.
Well, she hopped up on the scale (or was placed there, whatever!) and two months after she hit her lifetime low weight of 2 pounds and 12 ounces, she turned in a very respectable...
SEVEN POUNDS AND TWELVE OUNCES!!!
TWENTY INCHES IN LENGTH!!!
CUTER THAN ANY OTHER BABY AROUND!!!
It's possible that the doctor didn't certify that last one, but she should have! To help prove my point, here is yet another picture of Daneekins shoving her fist into her mouth!
It's Friday, and in the midst of these very stressful times it's important to remember to laugh.
I, am here to help in that area.
Thank Heaven that with all the current crises (finances, peanut butter) we are not also suffering a repeat of the Mad Cow Disease scare that was all the rage a few years ago. These days, if you want a Mad Cow, you have to make your own.
In early 2009, there are many reasons to encounter bad dreams, and still more reasons to look a bit frazzled as you go about your day. Did you realize the hidden danger that may be adding to these problems?
These stressful times can wreak havoc on one's fitness plans, as I am painfully aware. At least this hasn't happened to me though...
Just over a year ago, at the 2008 Jump Rope for Heart activity at the elementary school, Cindy slipped and broke her ankle.
Tonight, while walking back to the van after Kaylee's first-ever band concert, that same ankle buckled under her, but since she was carrying Babykins, she made every valiant effort necessary to NOT actually fall down.
Unfortunately, in that valiant effort, she injured her foot AGAIN! February and Cindy's body don't get along very well...
Hopefully, having it elevated and chilled will help her feel better in the morning... the ibuprofen should help too...
But BEFORE that happened, Kaylee's concert was great!
I think it was the best beginning band concert I've ever been to!
2008 was a very good year for my fitness program. From January to June, I lost approximately 40 pounds! From June to October, I pretty much held steady... A few pounds crept back on, but I was in a comfortable place. For the first time in my adult life, I was comfortably fitting in Large shirts, rather than X-Large. In fact, the XL shirts felt like circus tents, and all got tossed out because they were actually uncomfortable!
That was a HUGE accomplishment! My pants were in a similar situation. I still had another 10-15 pounds to go to reach my goal, but things were going really well.
November and December were NOT kind to me.
The normal Holiday feasting joined forces with the stresses (and time constraints) of beginning our adoption process, and then spending as much time as possible at the hospital for three weeks padded a full 10 pounds back on my body.
The Large shirts feel rather restrictive now. The few remaining XLs that I have, are comfortable, which makes me uncomfortable. (follow that?)
Pants, to put it simply, SUCK.
I've still been mostly getting to the Y on Tuesdays and Thursdays for racketball, but I haven't worked out at lunchtime, or on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday in ages. I've also fallen back into the deadly habits of snacking at work.
All of these things have accompanying excuses.
"I was up feeding Danee, and now I'm too tired to get up and work out." "I didn't get to bed on time in the first place, so I'm too tired to get up and work out." "Wow! 16 mini pretzels is only 100 calories!" "Wow! Since mini pretzels are so mini, I think I'll have a few more handfuls!"
And so on, and so forth.
One excuse that really IS a legitimate one, is that my life is very busy. I have 5 kids, including a newborn, and a learning-driver who is active in school sports and band. Add in the other two, and there's pretty much always something going on after work in the evenings that requires my presence.
I decided last year, and this was one of the things that made it such a successful year, that the ONLY time of the entire day that is truly MINE to do what I want and/or need, is the ridiculously early morning. Sure, many days, I can go to the Y during my lunch hour, but that can't be consistent because there are frequently projects or problems that force me to work through lunch. So getting up at 4:30 and getting my butt into the Y for a good workout is the only way that I'm able to be consistent in my exercise.
Unfortunately, since bringing home Da Baby, there are some mornings where getting up that early is much harder than it already would be.
However, I can guarantee you that if I needed to be up that early for work, or to catch a plane to Disneyland, I'd be up. It's all about discipline, which I'm generally pretty good at... Especially when there's some sort of accountability to another person involved.
I decided this morning after racketball that I was going to write this up, and officially start my program back up. I was shocked to look over the blog list and see that my cousin Marilyn wrote a nearly identical post this morning!
Her motivation in writing it is just like mine with this. By putting it up here, in public, we feel accountable. She's going to add brief status updates to the bottom of her posts - which I think is a brilliant idea, and one that I'm going to completely steal! (Thanks, M!)
The other thing that helped me in 2008 was accurately logging my food intake. Those handfulls of pretzels are far too easy to eat and forget about... But if I have to add to my daily journal that I ate 16 pretzels, I know from experience that it keeps me from doing that very often. It certainly makes me stop at the allotted serving size! I use a website called Fitday to keep track of all that, as well as my exercise and weight. It's been several months since I've logged into my account, so as a final rude awakening today, I had to update my weight from my last-posted 198 to my current 215.
It'll be going down now though. It has to. I will NOT be buying any XL shirts. I WILL be getting comfortable in my current batch of clothing, and moving beyond 2008's successes.
Feel free to check up on me. You can click here to view my Fitday journal. I log everything that goes in my mouth while I'm at work, but I'll just say in advance that I usually don't add dinner. Too hard to calculate stuff. For dinner, I just exercise portion control and avoid after dinner snacking. I used to have a link to my journal up in the "The Good Stuff" section at the top of the page. It's going back. Even if nobody actually looks at it, just knowing it's publicly available should help keep me on track!
So, once again - seriously, this is probably the 3rd or 4th time I've blogged my fitness goals - I'm going to buckle down and get disciplined.