Saturday, June 27, 2009

I could get used to waking up to this!

What a beautiful morning!

My face doesn't hurt anymore... Danee slept all night in a strange place...

Then she woke up, had a breakfast bottle, was adorable for half an hour, and went down for a morning nap...

Leaving me as the only one up in our cabin, alone with the gorgeous sight of the sun creeping across Mason Lake...

Hey Richard, I think I need to come out here more often... And Jonathan & Nicole, I am incredibly jealous that you guys get this every day now!!

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Friday, June 26, 2009

That's Gonna Leave A Mark...

Alternate Post Title:

The other day our Weed Whacker stopped whacking weeds and started having issues.

Being the Handy Manny around our house, it was my job to give it an attitude adjustment.

I just hadn't considered the amount of resistance it would put out against having its attitude adjusted.

Cindy counted up the lashes while covering them in neosporin, and said that the final score was...

Weed Whacker: 6
Mike: 0

I contested the zero score, because once I was done with it, it DID work again, and she successfully removed all the tall grass and weeds that were the motivator for getting the stupid thing working in the first place.

On the bright side, the top-half of my head is not only looking stylish, but also promoting my new company!

I'm very glad it's Friday after Five now! My uncle Richard has invited us out to his cabin on Mason Lake for tonight and tomorrow morning, then I get to DJ another Olympia Stake Dance tomorrow night.

Should be a fun and blood-free time!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tyler At The Championship Game!

For many years now, Tyler has played several sports. Typically, as soon as one ends, he's right there for the next one, ready to play. It's given him a well rounded appreciation of athletics, as well as the voice of experience when saying whether or not he likes a particular sport.

After two or three years of Soccer, he decided it wasn't the game for him. Basketball, he's done for two years now, and loves it. Volleyball had its first turn at the beginning of this past school year, and he really liked it. And for at least three or four years, he's done some form of baseball - tee-ball, coach pitch, underhand-slow-pitch, and finally this year, fast pitch hardball!

Pretty much all of Tyler's teams have had a few things in common. They were all rec league teams, and he was always on the same team with a bunch of his friends from school.

Oh yeah, there was one other thing they all had in common, and I truly mean no disrespect to Tyler, his teammates or coaches, but the common thread was that they all stunk. Last place finishes were the norm. Occasionally they'd get lucky and win a game or two, but really, it was like watching the bad news bears - before they turned it around and got good.

Well this year for baseball season, Tyler's mom decided she was tired of "looking for the positive" and "playing for the experience" and decided to move Tyler to a different league - the CVAC - with a different group of kids and different coaches.

Tyler landed on the Athletics, or the A's, with uniforms modeled after Oakland's team of the same name.

And wow, what a difference! The A's won a lot of games. When the playoffs started, not only was Tyler's team in them, they were the top seed!!

After mowing down the first couple rounds, last Saturday was the final, championship game! (I had to miss it because Comcast is pure 100% unspeakable evil, but that's another post on its own)

I'm very lucky that Cindy was able to go to his game, and take the camera to catch some of the action for me.

Tyler gave it his all!

Sadly, by the end of the game, the A's had wound up suffering a rare loss. But as Tyler put it, they completely slaughtered a team that then beat the team that beat his team, so in a roundabout way, he's still pretty sure that his A's are the real champions.

I'll go along with that!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Just Fluttering Through

We recently put a small water feature in our front yard, and to help set the scene, Cindy planted a couple "Lilly of the Nile" flowers around it.

They're beautiful, and seem to be thriving so far!!

Even more exciting though, since they were planted, I've seen hummingbirds in our front yard at two different times, and then yesterday, I was surprised to see this!

Unlike the hummingbirds, this butterfly had the good manners to stick around while I ran in to get the camera!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

No Way - A Baby Pictures Post?

It has been brought to our attention, by (among others) Nurse Molly, from the Special Care Nursery where Daneekins spent her first 23 days, that we have not been posting enough Danee news and pictures.

Well, I don't think such a grievous oversight can be corrected in a single post, but Little Missypoo has been doing lots of cute things that I am proud to present to you now! (so Molly, I sure hope you check in to see this!!)

Last week, Danee got to go see Molly and some of her other friends from the NICU. It was much better than the last time we brought her over, when she slept the entire time. This time she was still kinda tired, but did give up a few smiles, and I think Molly even got to feel her little tooth!

Speaking of that tooth, many of you complained that there was no picture of the adorable little nubber. Well, that's because it's just a VERY little nubber, and seeing it isn't really the best way of experiencing it. In order to see it, you have to pull her bottom lip down, and when you do that, she immediately either grabs your finger and pulls it in her mouth to chew on, or sticks her tongue out and over the tooth. It's really hard to see anyway, but these two reactions make it almost impossible!

But now that she's armed with a tooth, and has been getting cereal in her bottle for a month, we thought it would be a good time to try something new!

Spoonfuls of...


I know she doesn't look too excited about it in that first picture, but she really warmed up to them as the feeding progressed!

In addition to the sweet potatoes in these pictures, you may notice that her hair is officially, "all kinds of crazy"...

Well, Mommy has a special fix for that:

Awwwww... Just like Pebbles, only, ya know, without the big meaty bone sticking out of it!

So, by now all of you should know that I started my own company in May - Tech Services 4 All, providing computer support to the masses. I have been very blessed the last few weeks to have some summer help in the form of my niece Alicia's husband Daniel. Daniel is a Computer Science college student during the school-y times of the year, but wanted to spend his summer learning how a brand new business gets up and running, and also doing a bunch of computer stuff that he'd probably be doing anyway, but in a less structured way.

As an added bonus, he's become one of Danee's favorite people!!

He gets the big smiles from her EVERY. TIME. HE. LOOKS. AT. HER!!

I also get quite a bit of quality Danee time in the course of my day, which is great because she is SUCH a little love bug!!

But alas, all that quality baby time is infringing on my ability to focus all my energies on my business, so I'm moving into an office this week. Nothing too fancy, just a room with two desks that Daniel and I scored a sweet deal on last week. Cindy has really loved having me home the past month and a half, but she also seems pretty excited about my new office. Note the look on her face when I took her to see it for the first time!

Yeah... A little TOO excited! Hopefully she'll drop in for surprise lunch dates with Babykins, from time to time!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

All's Quiet on the Hen House Front

Tonight looked very promising. After that last post, I did as I said - I went out and released the hens so they could have some free outside time, and to give them an opportunity to do the right thing at bedtime.

As the sun was starting to set, I looked and saw one of the girls walk up the ramp and into the house all by herself! YEAH!!

Then she walked back out... but that's okay, it wasn't really bedtime yet.

Then a while later, a bunch of the youth from church stopped by, doing an "amazing race" of quick service projects at as many houses as they could. Part of the fun of coming to our house was, of course, to see Danee... But the other part was getting to see, hold, and pose for pictures with, our chickens.

It wasn't dark yet, but the three model citizen hens had done the right thing, and were perched on their roost waiting for night time. Psycho Chicken (aka Trouble) was still wandering around outside, not giving me a lot of confidence that she had any intentions of caving to The Man...

Then to make matters more interesting, suddenly two carloads of teenagers were grabbing chickens out of their cozy hen house and holding them for pictures, pretending to lick and/or eat them, etc, etc, and yes, etc.

When they all left, I had my doubts that the girls would go back in... So I checked outside regularly. They'd be huddled outside the door as if pondering going in... Then they'd be nowhere near the door...

Finally after bathing Danee and putting her to bed, I went out to check on them. Imagine my utter shock when this is what I saw through the little side window!!

Ahhhh... Nighty Night, Little Henny Pennies!

Cluck, Cluck, Boom!

Remember last week when I mentioned that we were building a new Hen House so we could get chickens again?

Well we mostly finished it, to the extent that it is now home to 4 beautiful chickens, who are about a month shy of egg-laying age. Here are a few shots of the process of getting it from the partial frame shown last week, to the Hen-Ready home we have now.

Cindy has a pre-schooler in the daycare named Grace. Grace got out of school a week earlier than the big kids, so she was home to help paint last week!

With the door/lid in place, the Hen House was painted to match the trim on our house.

A few sheets of plexiglass to fill in the windows, and it was ready for occupancy!

(we have four hens - the 4th one's tail feathers are barely visible on the left of this picture)

And finally, a close up of one of these pretty girls...

Good stuff, huh?

But wait. If this post is called "Cluck, Cluck, Boom!" then where's the boom?

Oh, I am SO glad you asked!

When we got our first batch of chickens, we raised them from week-old chicks, so they always knew that their house was their safe and happy place to be. As they got older, they always knew that when it got dark, it was time to go up into their house and roost, safely protected from the nasty raccoons that frequent this area. As long as we went in after them and locked their house, they were perfectly safe.

These adolescent chicks we have now, had some sort of hen house at their last address, but it didn't particularly look like the one they have here. Either that, or they never got to go outside, and this newfound taste of freedom is more than they're willing to give up, even at bedtime.

We got the girls on Saturday. That night, I kept thinking, "I need to be sure to round them up at dusk and put them in their house so they know that's what it's there for."

Typically, I missed the "dusk" moment when the girls decided to get ready for bed. By the time we looked out, three of them had perched up on the fence for the night, in prime-for-plucking-by-a-nasty-raccoon fashion. There was no sign of the fourth hen...

Kaylee and I collected the three sleepy girls from their roosts and put them in their house for the night. We were unable to find that hideaway, though, so I was relieved on Sunday morning to see her walking around outside of the chicken yard.

Then Sunday night, we went to round them up again, and again, three of them weren't too hard to catch. That fourth one though, has officially earned the name "Psycho Chicken." I did manage to catch her, and tossed her through the door to the house. As soon as I shut the door (which required a bit of a slam) however, she went absolutely nuts.

First, she ran full-speed into the door, trying to break it down.
(no luck, it was latched)

Then she flew full-speed into the small side window above the door.
(fail - it's only a 6" x 8" window, AND it has plexiglass in it)

Still not convinced she was actually trapped, she did the same power-launch into both of the big front windows. Feathers were flying everywhere, the noises were barely-of-this-world, and when the final window didn't let her out, she literally started doing backflips... Two or three of them, where she'd run against the back wall of the house, jump up, flip off the wall, somersault back to her feet and do it again.

After the final backflip, she dropped to the floor completely motionless, perfectly on her back, with her completely motionless feet perfectly straight up in the air. Man, I wish I'd had the camera for that!!

Kaylee was mildly freaking out, saying that we needed to open the lid and get her out. Cindy and I were pretty sure she'd just rung her bell really good, and would recover - and if not, and she had killed herself, there wasn't anything we'd be able to do, so we left her there.

After about a minute, her feet slowly rolled over one way, while her head slowly rose in the other direction. At that point, I thought maybe she HAD broken something vital to survival, but then she slowly stood up and walked, VERY un-balanced, around the coop.

As she walked, both wings were partially extended, then the left wing came in and the right one stayed open. Her mouth was hanging open too, as if she was unable to close it. We went to bed, knowing that by morning she'd either be back to normal, or ready for dinner.

Morning came, and she was fine. We kept them cooped up the entire day, to help them realize that it's not a bad place to be - after all, their food and water are there! They should love it!

Then yesterday I let them out, so they could show me that they learned to go back in to their house for bedtime.

None of them did.

Again, 3 hens were pretty easy to convince.

Again, the 4th one was nowhere to be found.

This time though, we found her, and I thoroughly enjoyed putting her through the door and shutting it behind her.


This time there were only a few attempts to fly out through the closed windows, just enough to make her beak hang open again... And again today, we've left them locked up. I'm going to go let them out now, give them a few hours before bedtime... At some point they have to learn how to go to bed like nice, civilized chickens!!

Until then, it's Cluck, Cluck, Cluck, BOOOOM!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

They're Back, And I LOVE IT!!!

Twelve years ago, Danish pop group Aqua took the world by storm with their song, "Barbie Girl". I'm proud to say, that even though the Wikipedia entry doesn't mention it, I was told at the time - by reps from MCA records, as well as independent promoters who were working the song, that the radio station I worked at, C-89.5 FM, was the first station in the U.S. to play it!

They had several follow-up singles, some of which were very good, but sadly were only hits everywhere other than the U.S. Particularly, the lead single from their second album, a song called "Cartoon Heroes" was outstanding!

Then they broke up, disappeared, etc... But recently they announced a reunion tour, greatest hits package, and most importantly, A NEW SINGLE!!!

As if they were going straight for my heart, the new song is called "Back To The '80s."

And I love it. I was liking it already, but when I heard the lines, "Back when M&M's were just a snack, When Michael Jackson's skin was black..." I was hooked.

Welcome Back, Aqua!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

A Big Toothy Grin.... almost

This afternoon Danee woke up from her nap in her usual happy chatty way. She has decided these past couple of days that chewing Mommies knuckle is her favorite past time. So as we were snuggling on the chair cooing and laughing she was happily gnawing on my knuckle, when all of a sudden I felt a scratchy feeling? I pushed my finger tip down to double check.... yep a scratchy feeling again... could it be?!?!? A TOOTH!!!! I couldn't believe it, Mike thought she was teething like two weeks ago but the doctor and I assured him she was just too little still - oops!

I looked and .... sure enough a little baby tooth has broke through. The smallest, cutest most perfect little tooth ever. I can't believe it!

This little girl really doesn't know that she is a preemie, and isn't supposed to really be six months old yet...

Congratulations Danekins a new tooth and yummy food right around the corner :)

Monday, June 08, 2009

It's Alive!

Our yard has thoroughly enjoyed the warm sunny weather we've been having... In a matter of days, it went from looking like its dormant, former winter self, to a lush summery wonderland of life and colour!

Also loving it, is our vegetable garden, which we got a very late start on this year. But if you're going to get a late start, following that start with a couple weeks of unusually warm, sunny weather is a great way to play catchup!

I took all those pictures 3 days ago, and by this morning, all the sprouts have more than doubled in size. And with the sun already shining this morning, they should have another great week of growth!!

As a nice surprise bonus, we got a voluntary wild strawberry patch in one corner of our yard. It's flourishing, and looks set to fill in what was an otherwise unused area - a VERY welcome guest!!

Speaking of volunteers, while mowing the lawn the other day, I noticed in another totally underutilized area of the yard, we have not one, but FOUR tomato plants growing all on their own. They're about as far from last year's tomato crop as they could possibly be, so I'm guessing the chickens helped spread some seeds... Come to think of it, they probably helped with our strawberry surprise too!

You may have heard that we gave our chickens away back in December, after a month of total neglect as we were practically living at the hospital's NICU. Well, I miss the eggs, and watching the girls play in the yard, so we are now constructing a new and improved Hen House, that should get its first occupants this coming weekend!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Happy Birthday Susan!!!

We love you and are so grateful for the joy and laughter you bring into our lives...

Here is a little video ....


Monday, June 01, 2009

Six Months Ago, Today...

I really can't believe it.

Six Months Ago Yesterday, we were a family of six...

Six Months Ago Today, we became a family of seven!

Six Months Ago Yesterday, we slept all night...

Six Months Ago Today, we hardly slept at all!

Six Months Ago Yesterday, we wondered if we would be able to truly love this baby we were adopting...

Six Months Ago Today, our hearts' capacity for love grew by bigger amounts than we ever dreamed possible!

Six Months Ago Today, we welcomed into our lives the tiniest baby girl we'd ever seen. She was so fragile, and yet had such a spirit of determination...

Today, that spirit is even more determined, and we can't even imagine life without her!

Six Months Ago Today, many people asked us, "Are you guys out of your minds?"

Today, we stand by our answer, "We're doing what we're SUPPOSED to do!"

Six Months Ago Today, I had no idea that tiny little fighting preemie would turn in to such a gorgeous baby girl, with a big appetite for rice cereal, and an iron-clad attachment to her mommy (and occasionally daddy, if mommy's not within eyesight).

I also had no idea she'd have the "Adorable, Pensive Pout" pose down so well!!