Saturday, April 30, 2011

Haute Couture for the Toddler In Your Life

Danee's little friend Tavis just turned two a couple days ago. Having been through several two-year olds myself, I've determined that they should come with warning labels.

So in addition to an awesome Lightning McQueen play set, Tavis is getting a warning label.

I had so much fun with it, I made one for Danee too!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter 2011, Part 2

This year's holidays are going to be lots of fun, because Danee is finally old enough that she's paying attention and reacting to the things that we do for the Holidays.

Easter was a great example... She woke up long after the big kids, and came upstairs to find this sitting by the fireplace:

Immediately, she knew it was for her! (I suspect the Pinkness of it all clued her in)

She promptly grabbed her basket and headed to the middle of the room to explore her treasures...

A new Strawberry Shortcake DVD...

Lots of crinkly yellow Easter Grass...

A soft, pink monkey wrap for the pool this summer...


glorious Chocolate...

And a big, pink punchyball!!

Danee Punchin' It Up!

But as you know, there's no age limit on enjoying your Easter Basket...


and Kaylee

Also loved their goodies!

And finally, something that's a bit of a tradition here at the 813...


Even older sisters get in on the fun - willingly or not!

Still to come, Part 3 - Dying Easter Eggs!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter 2011, Part 1

This year's Easter Weekend was jam-packed full of the kind of excitement you can only get with a big family... It kicked off at 4pm Friday, when Danee walked a little too close in front of the swing set, and got knocked down.

Now, when I was a kid, our swing set sat directly on the grass in our backyard (and my local playground also had the swings directly on the grass) but apparently it's a miracle I survived. Now, thanks to the fact that our home is a licensed day care, we get to know about all the great nanny-state laws, like "All Swings Must Have At Least Six Inches Of Bark Beneath Them, Out To Six Feet From The Perimeter."

I have no idea who determined that bark was more comfortable to fall on than grass, but we are compliant. The problem is, you have to build a box to hold all that bark in, which (in my ever so humble opinion) makes the whole thing far more dangerous than the swings of my youth, because if you're running out of your swing, you're very likely to fall when you hit the edge of the box - and land in the treacherous grass... Or, in Danee's case, you'll walk too close to someone swinging, get knocked back, and CRACK - your head lands right on the edge-board of the box, splitting your scalp open. Safety Feature Fail.

Since Daycare was in full swing at the time, Cindy called 911 and the Fircrest Fire Department came up the hill and wrapped Danee's head while I was driving home from work to take her to the E.R.

Blessings come from the least likely places. Unless you're brand new to keeping up with these Brinkerhoffs, you certainly know that we've spent lots of quality time at the Mary Bridge Hospital and Suites. Over those many visits, we've made some friends in the right places. As we were driving up to the E.R. Valet Parking, I wondered aloud if our good friend Nurse Ricky would be working... and once we got past the door cop who needed to verify that we didn't have any weapons of mass destruction hidden in our baby's diaper or under her head bandage, we got up to the check-in counter, and guess who? Nurse Ricky was there!

Now, I'm certainly not saying that Nurse Ricky plays favorites, but I will say that we were triage'd and placed in an exam room in record time.

Before we even had a chance to complain about being back, there was a doctor in the room, looking at the huge gash in the back of Danee's head, and commenting on how small it was - as if it was an adorable newborn kitten or something - and how it wouldn't need stitches, just glue. We've done the glue thing before, and are firm believers in the amazing medical abilities of Super Glue!

In less time than it takes to watch three Pixar Shorts on Disney XD (with commercials), we were all done, and heading for the car. In the only moment of showing that there may have been some sort of trauma to her head, Danee threw a monstrous fit as we left the hospital. She didn't want to leave, didn't want to get in the car, and DID NOT want to get strapped into her car seat. It really wasn't until we got home that she finally calmed down somewhat, and then still wasn't really happy until she got to go play outside - in the very same back yard where this whole ordeal started.

She was fully back to normal, and our round-trip time from the panic'd phone call telling me to come home NOW, to returning from the hospital, was just over two hours. That's a record - and it's amazing how enjoyable the E.R. can be when you have friends in the right places, and you're not there for respiratory distress. I'd take several more of these types of visits instead of ANY more lunch related stays!

Friday night was in the books, and Easter Weekend still had lots more to offer... maybe you'll read about more of them tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Danee's Got A New Friend!

This morning Cindy took Danee to Build-A-Bear, and they made a Soft, Pink Easter Bunny!

I'm not sure what her official name is, but I've been calling her "Bunnie" all day.  I think it works for her.

Anyway, we actually had a sunny and non-arctic afternoon today, so I took Danee down to the park to play, and Bunnie had to come along... Danee and Bunnie climbed the steps of the big toy...

They went down the slide...

Annnnd, they also grabbed the gate in protest when it was time to come home...

Once we got home, Danee and Bunnie played in the back yard while I made dinner - they played house...

And the sandbox...

And when the sun started to go down, I'm sure Bunnie was complaining as loudly as Danee was - I just couldn't hear it!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

That's My Girl... Just Like Her Mommy!

For the last 11 years, Cindy has had a near-nightly ritual that she loves, wherein I rub lotion on her feet...  It usually happens on the couch in the evening, while watching TV of some kind.

It's such an important part of our relationship that for Valentine's day this year, I got her a tube of  NuSkin's Epoch Firewalker foot cream, to up the luxury factor a little.  Tip to all the guys out there:  If the lady in your life also enjoys a good foot rub, track down some of this stuff - it's well worth the gourmet price!  GOOD STUFF!!

Anyway...  the last few weeks have been crazy busy, what with Puddle Jumpers filling up with 2 year olds, and TS4A keeping me out late solving the world's technical problems, and the foot rub ritual has been a bit neglected.  Last Tuesday in particular, I didn't get home until 8:00, and was so exhausted that it was pretty much bed time on arrival.  So the NEXT day, when we found ourselves on the couch watching Tangled (which is an awesome movie, by the way - go get it!) I jumped up and grabbed the lotion, then positioned myself on the couch with Cindy's feet in my lap.

Before I could even start the rubbin', Danee jumped up from her pillow on the floor, scrambled up on to the couch, on to Mommy's lap, put her feet in the air, and gave me that smile that said "Daddy will do WHATEVER I WANT!"

And I did...  I rubbed her tiny little feet until they were thoroughly softened up, and went to work on Cindy's.  Danee did NOT like that very much, and kept sticking her little feet in between my hands and Mommy's feet.

A few minutes later, the distractability of a two-year old worked to our advantage, and Danee was back on the floor, on a pillow, snuggling with her sister Kaylee.  I'd gotten up for a glass of water, and as I came back to the couch and pulled out the lotion to resume my husbandly duties, Danee -- who is just now starting to really use words -- JUMPED up, and RAN, FRANTICALLY over to the couch, shouting, "WANT!! WANT!! WANT!!!"

Poor Cindy did finally get her foot rub, eventually... with interruptions...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Houston, We Have A Problem...

You all know I'm a DJ, right?  No??  Hey!  I'm A DJ!  Read about it here!

Well, way back when I was doing all the DJing written about at that link, I bought an amp and a set of speakers... and twenty years later, they're still with me! Most contemporary DJs today use these little speakers that sit up on stands and sound like little speakers up on stands. While those would be a lot easier to carry to and from the car, I love that my speakers kick out sound (and yes, BASS!) that would shatter the very poles holding up the minis!

Anyway, a couple years ago, Cindy had the great idea to give the speakers a facelift. Nothing internal, but she made some very nice looking cloth covers to replace the old scratched up metal ones they came with. While in the middle of that project, one of the speakers was showing some wear and tear (literally), with a little hole in the woofer, like so.

I made a mental note of it, knowing that at some point down the road I'd need to replace the woofers, but at the time, it didn't make any noticeable impact to the sound quality, so I decided to let it live out the rest of its days in the service of loud music lovers everywhere.

That brings us up to last Saturday.

Midway through the dance, I noticed that the right speaker was making truly horrible sounds whenever any deep bass tried to come out of it. I thought that maybe we had reached "that time"... But since it was the middle of the dance, I just cut all the deep bass from that side, and carried on, a little quieter than usual.

Finally, 11:00 came, I played the Lawrence Welk exit song, shut off the power, and went over to pull the cover off and survey the damage. The first thing I saw was little shreds of paper lying on the bottom of the cover. Then I looked at the front of the speaker, and even though I knew it would be bad, I gasped out loud at what I saw...

Everyone still in the gym at that point heard the gasp and came running to see the damage. The really amazing thing was that just a week earlier, I'd DJ'd six hours of Daddy/Daughter dancing and both speakers pumped out nice rich sound the whole time. It really held it together until it just couldn't hold any longer.

Now I'm on the hunt for that "just-right" replacement set of woofers - because while the other one has a heck of a lot more woofer in its woofer, it's showing its age... That's the one shown in the first picture, and I've been down that road before!

Oh, and the post title of "Houston, We Have A Problem"?  The speakers were made by a company called Ross, out of Houston, Texas.  It's a company that doesn't seem to exist anymore, but I will happily attest to the fact that it's not because they didn't make a great product!!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Hot Fun at the Hospital

For those of you not following us on Facebook (mike, cindy) you probably didn't know that Danee was in the hospital again this past weekend.  Same drill as before, she woke up Wednesday with a stuffy, runny nose, and by Thursday afternoon she was in the ER.  There were other ups and downs as well - we have a new favorite doctor, and will try to schedule her lung issues around his availability if possible...  We also know, from an extremely authoritative and self-assured source, that the laminate flooring in our room is backed with SEVEN INCHES OF CONCRETE, and they're just certain that if Danee fell out of the bed approximately 12" above said floor, that she would shatter into a million pieces.

Never mind the fact that Danee simply does not roll out of bed - she simply values the opportunity to sleep in Mom and Dad's bed too much to give any of it up by rolling out... and she's also got the very clear presence of mind that even in the throws of a raging two year old tantrum, she'll very carefully position herself over the carpet before throwing herself on the ground to kick and scream.

Anyway, it's a given that a 4 day visit to the hospital will have good and bad coming out of it, and we've gone into great detail in the past on those, so it's not really worth a recap...  but what was cool about this time, was finding a way to make the best of a bad situation.  The bad situation I'm speaking of, is that by Saturday afternoon, Danee was ready to come home.  She felt better, was no longer on oxygen, and had her endless supply of toddler energy back.  However, there's this pesky rule that she has to remain off oxygen for 24 hours with no issues before they'll let her go home.

That makes for a VERY long 24 hours, because Miss Daneekins does NOT enjoy being cooped up in a room for 24 hours.

One thing Miss Daneekins DOES enjoy, is playing in water.  Whether it's in the bath, the swimming pool, a water table, or just sneaking a chair up to the sink, this is a baby who LOVES water!  So on Saturday afternoon while I was off working (DJing 3 rounds of Daddy/Daughter dances!) and Cindy was being driven crazy by a toddler with cabin fever, she had the brilliant flash of brilliance that Danee should have a bath!

Luckily, our daytime nurses over the weekend were WONDERFUL, and they put a bag over Danee's IV to protect it, then put some towels down, filled a plastic bin with warm water, and soon Cindy was sending me pictures of a very happy BabyGirl!

On Sunday morning, that 24 hour waiting period was over, and the doctor issued our discharge order! Little did we realize that it would take about 5 hours to actually get from that point to leaving the building... Danee did get disconnected from all of her tubes, hoses and wires and now had free reign of the room.. which meant she could now play with the sink - she couldn't actually reach the water, but the hot water control was right within her reach, so she would turn it on, listen to the water, giggle, turn it off, and repeat.. over, and over again...

I was letting her do that - it was keeping her occupied, after all!


Suddenly I heard a change in the way the splashing sounded... I went over to the sink to investigate, and found that the World's Most Determined Toddler had found a plastic bin, put it in the sink, and was filling it herself, since Daddy wasn't getting the hint!! I figured that kind of ambition deserved to be rewarded, so I laid some towels down, added some cold water to her hot, hot, hot tub, and stripped her down to her diaper for fun bath time!

A few minutes later, she proved just how compact she can make herself, and squeezed her whole lower-half into the tub... including the legs and feet! I got a couple pics, but she was so wiggly that none of them turned out. However, I assure you, it was one of the most adorable things I've ever seen!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Fun In The January Sun

Wow, it's January 22, and this is the first post we've done all year??  YIKES!!

Well, we have something post-worthy now...  In the wake of my mom's funeral (yeah, I'll get that up on the blog too, because it's certainly journalable and I don't want to forget it!), my brother Brian and his family spent the day with us, and it was about as nice as a Saturday in January ever gets in Western Washington!

We did some stuff, moved some furniture (piano and couch swap), ate some food (pizza, hot dogs, tacos and home made ice cream), and then it was time to reward our efforts with some fun in the sun...

So we grabbed the Aerobie an headed to the park.  The little kids played on the big playground toys while Brian, his wife Daphne and their daughter Kaley and I played frisbee with it for an hour or more.  Then Cindy showed up in the van, with all kinds of kids toys, including two PlasmaCars.  If you haven't heard of PlasmaCars, google them.  Seriously.  I don't feel like linking them, I'm trying to tell a story here!!  Oh, fine.  Okay, click here to learn about them, but then you have to come back here!

I could try to write up a play-by-play of what happened next, but videos are way more fun...  So here ya go, click play!