06 September 2008

A Rarity Brings Me to 138

A nice leisurely walk with Lily at the Moss Creek Nature Trail this morning got me 2 life/big year birds, bringing me to 138 species identified year-to-date. Fall migration is in full swing, and today it yielded a pair of uncommon wood-warblers. The first one I spotted was the more rare, a Golden-winged Warbler. The one I saw was a female, and she flitted around in easy view of the path for a couple of minutes, leaving no doubt in my mind of her identity. Still, when I reported it to eBird I got the "Are you sure, that's a great sighting" message, so I started to second-guess myself. A double check of my field guides and my memory and I'm confident still that's what I saw.

The second new species came at the other end of the trail, very high up in the trees. Lucky for me, this is precisely the habitat the field guide told me to expect it in, so I again feel very good about the ID. It was a Yellow-throated Warbler, although at that distance it's difficult to say whether it was a male or a female.

I'm very sorry to not have pictures of either of these two birds to share, as staying focused through the binoculars took priority with them. I'll leave you with a couple shots from our walk, however. One silly arty one I took of Lily, the other of an Empidonax flycatcher I couldn't ID because it wasn't calling or singing. Any guesses? The feature you get the best view of in this photo is the primary projection, which I'm judging to be fairly long (almost halfway down the tail). That makes me lean toward Acadian Flycatcher. Imagine my best Homer Simpson immitation (which isn't very good) . . "Stupid fall, why do you have to make birds stop singing??"

Daddy, I have a cricket in my neck

I'm going to attempt to keep the commentary on these as brief as possible, because they really don't need much. This is a collection of some of the funny things Lily's said recently. There are certainly more, but my memory will only hold on to so much.

This morning, at the breakfast table. "Daddy, I have a cricket in my neck."

At dinner the other night. "I'm going to tell you a scary story. Once upon a time there was no mascara anywhere. At two places or at one place, there was no mascara. And that was really, really, really scary. The end. The end."

In the car, anytime anybody on the radio mentions Barack Obama. "Daddy, why'd he say Barack Obama?!?" She pronounces it exceptionally well.

Anytime the ESPN theme music plays. "DA na NA, DA na NA!"

When asked what her favorite thing was about preschool. "Snack time."

When pressed farther about what she's scared of at bed time. "Monsters and ghostes and bears."

When asked whether she wants sauce on her spaghetti. "Nope, I don't like sauce. No sauce? Noooo problem!"

Just now when I was putting her shoes on. "Daddy, you're not canceling my flight, are you? You're not canceling my flight for Meema to come see me, are you?"

When we got all that rain last week and were driving by the reservoir I told Mandi that they should open the dam. "Daddy, we don't say damn!"

On the phone with her Aunt Jaime the other day. "Jaime, will you come over to my house and play blinkin' blogs with me?" Have to assume she wanted to play Lincoln Logs.

And when you shoot her a thumbs-up with a wink. "Keep it pimpin'!", accompanied by a thumbs-up and a wink in return.

04 September 2008

Already asking for money

Seems like schools do a lot more fundraisers now than they did when I was a kid. I mean it's barely the 2nd full week of school and already I'm on the internet pimping chocolates, magazine subscriptions, and all manner of assorted knick knacks to the extended family.

I will say this though, at least these folks have decided to enter the 21st century and make the catalogs available online. You can also get free shipping of your junk, er, items, on orders over $79. How thoughtful of them.

Anyway, please click here to visit the online catalog. You will be supporting Avery's class' desire to have a pizza party, which as we all know is extremely important. Thanks!

03 September 2008

First Day Of School Dance

As promised, here is Lily's dance routine from yesterday morning. I'm sorry there's not more audio with it, that's kind of hit or miss. Sometimes she talks all the way through the dances, other times not at all. Still impressive though. I love how she uses the oven door as her mirror. I had to permanently take down the decorative towels we used to keep on the handle because she would shove them out of the way every time she wanted to try out a new dance move.

02 September 2008

First Day Of School!

After much anticipation, Lily finally started preschool today! Mandi got the morning off from work so we could both drop her off on her big day. How did she repay us, you ask? When the teacher came and opened her door for her, she promptly grabbed her lunchbox and hauled ass up the stairs. She briefly stopped at the top to wave to us, but that was all we got! We managed to throw a couple of "Bye honey we love yous!" out the windows after her, but without so much as a hug or a kiss, she was gone.

After 3 hours of piddling around and wasting time waiting for our little, excuse me, big girl to finish up her first day, we arrived first in line to pick Lily up at a little before noon. As she came down the stairs to meet us she was thrilled to show off the lollipop she got for being a good girl. The teacher that walked her out said she was really good, and even helped keep the other kids quiet at time (Jedi mind trick, I'm assuming).

Before you say anything smart, I know these pictures don't flow with the story. Just keep it to yourself. I'm irritated with the computer right now and don't have the energy to screw with it. Because of said computer issues, I'm going to save the "first day of school dance" video Lily did for you all for a later post. Hopefully it will be later tonight. If not, look for it tomorrow. Kid's definitely got a future as a cheerleader, if not a bona fide dancer.

Anyway, on the way home I was plugging Lily for information on her day, and she was generally not cooperating. She really didn't have a lot to offer for the first ten minutes or so, so I just kinda left it alone. Then, when I asked again about her day, she said "Daddy, my classroom is awesome!"

"What made it so awesome?", I asked.

"When we got to have snacks!"

That's my girl!

31 August 2008

There's nesting . .

. . and then there's going completely overboard. This is a lesson in the latter.

With Avery out of town this weekend, we planned to get a few things done around the house. Apparently my impression of "a few" and Mandi's are somewhat different. What I thought was going to be the painting of one room and stocking of the freezer turned out to be one of the busiest weekends I can ever remember.

I suppose it's my fault for not insisting on a list. I always do well with lists, no matter how long it is I'll happily work until it's finished. But when I come in thinking "paint one room and make some food" and it turns into "paint half of the house and cook enough to feed a small army, then do a thorough deep cleaning of the whole house while simultaneously keeping Lily occupied all weekend", I get a little ill. The truth is that as I type this, I'm completely whooped. To top it off, tomorrow's a holiday and our gym is closed, so my daily 2-hour respite from Lily will not happen. Serenity now!!!!

Anyway, the first project of the weekend was to transform Lily's lavender bedroom into Lily and Mason's two-toned "jungle" room. I don't really care for painting, but I do love paint. Paint brings new life to spaces, and it offers immediate gratification. It hides dirt pretty well, too. This is the progression of the project, neatly arranged in this convenient slideshow for you.

Lily loves her new room, and her new monkey Mandi's friend Sara gave her. She named it George . . so original.

Project number two was the freezer. Earlier in the week I was put in charge of defrosting the freezer in our garage to "get it ready" for this weekend. If I'd only known. I half listened as Mandi made her list of stuff she was planning to cook, but the enormity of the task didn't set in until about 6:00 yesterday evening, when she was barely halfway finished. Holy crap, that's a lot of food. Somehow our refrigerator still had ingredients in it, and she pushed on through the day today, finishing up just before dinner time. I won't list what she cooked, but if we chose to we could go about 3 weeks without cooking a single dinner. Gonna come in really handy when there's an infant to chase around the house. Here's what the freezer looked like before it got really full . .

And here's the after. Those stacks of aluminum pans go 2 deep, the big bags on the door are homemade meatballs, and there are 2 giant containers of Beef and Chorizo Chili hiding down near the bottom. Yum!

As if that wasn't enough accomplishment for the weekend, we decided to get some of our white touch-up paint and go over "some of the bad spots". Not my words. That of course turned into me painting all of the white walls from the top of the stairs, down to the foyer, through the living room, and all the way into the play room. Again, I love paint, just not painting.

The fourth and final project was by far the most frustrating, at least partly because of its proximity to Lily's mouth. I love that kid, but Holy Hannah does she have a set of pipes on her! We decided, almost on a whim, to paint the laundry room. It was the only room on the bottom floor of our house that was completely white, and the dirty walls just made the house feel, well, dirty. We'd talked a couple of times about doing something like a tangerine color in there, with the idea being that laundry's such a mundane task, why not at least make the room exciting. I bit the hook on that, and went to Sherwin Williams to pick up a gallon of "Sunburst". Well . . it looked orange on the card.

As small as our laundry room is (probably 8'x6'), it took almost as long to paint as did Lily's much larger bedroom. There's the chore of removing all of the accessories from the wall, like ironing board hangers and broom caddies and the like. The over-washer shelf came out with relative ease, but the whole process became quite tedious. By the time I'd washed the half inch of built-up lint from the baseboards and was ready to tape, it'd been almost an hour since I started. Couple that with the perpetual dance with the washer and dryer to get them away from the wall (I chose not to move them out of the room), and I was over this project before I really even got started. Mercifully I got it taped off and got the first coat of paint on before lunch time, and I felt OK taking a quick break for some leftover pizza. The second coat went on much faster than the first, and I was beginning to get the hang of standing on top of the washer to reach the ceiling by the time I finished. With a whim of creativity we decided to add an accent color to the strange little triangular-shaped intrusion into the wall from the staircase that goes above it. By the time I'd finished it and removed the tape I was completely sick of painting, and decided to leave the crisp white stripe left by the tape as my own artistic touch. Watch out Michelangelo . .

Now to prove to you that I'm not just over-reacting about a little work, I have indisputable visual evidence to support my theory that we have in fact gone well beyond the point of nesting. We are at 33 weeks pregnant as of today, with a solid 6 weeks worth of non-cluttered-by-baby-toys left to go in our current phase of life. Well so much for that idea. Project number five for the weekend was to get all of the baby related materials down from the attic, clean them thoroughly, install new batteries in all of them, and place them in their predetermined locations. Hell, it looks so much like we've got a baby in the house already that I thought Mandi was going to make me wear the baby carrier around while I painted! Here's your proof . .

Seeing that swing in the living room brings back a lot of memories. It's so funny . . when I vacuumed the living room tonight and came to the spot where the swing is sitting, I vividly remembered doing the same thing 3 years ago, leaning over the exact same way I did tonight to grab the swing, hold it out of the way, and just vacuum what I could get to. There is no moving furniture out of the way when there's a baby in the house. You're doing good just to get the vacuum out every third day as it is. Good times those were, and good times they will be.

One funny story from the weekend to leave you with. After Mandi and Sara finished hanging Mason's name on the wall, Lily came up to tell them that dinner was ready. She walked into her new jungle room with them and admired their work. She said, "Hey, that spells Mason!" She paused, then said "M, A, S, Zero, N!" She's such a smart booger, but you can't help but laugh when she has a "whoops" moment like that one. Another true classic.