Rearranging the Office

Moving Emma into her new room last weekend left us with the problem of figuring out what to do with the things that had been stored in the closet in that bedroom. So this weekend, Emma and I made a couple of trips to Home Depot to get supplies so I could install some shelving in the closet in the office. We went yesterday evening and got some individual pieces from a closet organizing system. However once I got the items home and looked at the closet again, I realized that it probably wasn't going to work too well to use that. So this afternoon, Emma and I returned to Home Depot to return the items we bought yesterday and to buy some shelves and brackets to hold them. Installing the shelves probably ended up being significantly easier than my original idea, and it looks pretty good. All of the board games are now located in the office closet.

The room that is now Emma's used to be our guest bedroom. And once temperatures get cold enough, we would put the hibiscus tree that we got at my dad's funeral four years ago. Since it wouldn't look good in Emma's room, and because she might be tempted to play in the dirt, we decided to move it to the office. The only problem with this idea was that we wanted to place it between the desk and the window, and there were only twenty inches between the two. The diameter of this tree is easily between three-and-one-half and four feet. So to accommodate the tree, I ended up moving the desk about eighteen inches across the room. This doesn't sound too complicated, but the desk is very heavy, and it had two computers and their peripherals on it. I had to disconnect all of the components of both computers, and remove a lot of books from the hutch on the desk in order to move it. I now have the computers hooked back up and located on the desk, although their configuration on the desk has changed -- the work computer had been on the right with the personal computer on the left, now it is reversed. However, there is still a mess of papers, books, and assorted other items all over the floor. I at least have room to work tomorrow morning. I guess I will have to spend tomorrow evening working at straightening everything up further.

I think this arrangement is going to work out just fine, and I will like the added greenery in the office. There is one problem that I will have to deal with however. I will now be sitting further from the window. I suppose I should still be happy though that I am near a window. Before beginning to work from home, there were no windows anywhere near my cubicle.


A New Room

Over the past two weekend, we have been preparing to move Emma to a different room in the house. With a new baby arriving early next year, we decided to let Emma have the larger bedroom upstairs as her bedroom, leaving her current room for the new baby. The weekend before this past weekend, I painted her room as I mentioned in an earlier blog posting. I also repainted the dressers that were in the room. These were the same dressers that I had when I was a kid, and I believe they were my mom's before that. They had been beige in color, but they are now white.

This past weekend I finished painting the dresser drawers and added new knobs to them. I also added a butterfly border around the room. Because she now has white furniture in her room, we got a new bookcase/storage unit from Target, similar to one she had in her old room, but white in color. In addition, we also got a few cube-shaped fabric storage boxes that fit in the storage unit. We also got some new bedding for the queen-sized bed that is in the room and assembled the bedrail to keep her from falling out of bed.

We were a little worried that she would not want to move to a new bedroom, but it turns out that we had nothing to fear. Emma loves her new room! This morning she even sat in her room listening to music while eating a cereal bar instead of watching Little Einsteins in the living room.

There are still a few things we need to do to complete the room, including finding a net to put up in which we will store her plethora of stuffed animals. We also need to put up some pictures and some additional butterfly decals. But all that can wait until next weekend. Now we need to find new places to put the things that we took out of the room.


Potty Training

For a few months now, we have been trying to get Emma to use the potty. She has actually used the potty quite a bit. It helped when we started giving her an M&M when she did use the potty. Despite this, we weren't making too much progress since she could still go in her diaper or Pull-Ups. About a week ago we bought Emma some real underpants. We were going to start using them Monday, but since Emma was sick, we thought we'd wait. So yesterday was the first day that Emma wore real underpants instead of either a diaper or Pull-Ups.

Emma and I had to go grocery shopping before she went to daycare yesterday morning. I tried to get her to use the potty before we left for the grocery store, but she said she didn't have to go. So once we got to the store, and before beginning our shopping, I tried to get her to go in the grocery store restroom. Once again she claimed that she didn't need to go. Once we checked out though, Emma told me she needed to use the potty. We made it to the restroom and she did indeed go potty in the store restroom. Since I didn't have any M&Ms with me, I bought a small package before leaving the store so she could have one.

Dropping Emma off at daycare, I let her teachers know that she was wearing underpants instead of a diaper. I also gave them a bag with several extra pairs of underpants and shorts. Things went pretty well at daycare yesterday. When Mel got home with Emma in the afternoon, she told me that Emma had only had one accident, and it was during her nap, so I would hardly count that. After dinner we went to Target to pick up some Pull-Ups Night Time training pants for Emma to wear to bed. When we got home, Emma had a second accident, but just two accidents on her first day of wearing underpants didn't seem too bad to me.

This morning when she got out of bed, Emma's Pull-Up was still dry! She used the potty right after she got out of bed as well. She did have a couple of accidents at daycare today, including pooping in her underpants. But she did fine this evening once she got home from daycare. While we are going to be saving money on diapers now, I have a feeling our water bill will be slightly higher due to washing more loads of laundry.

Now, since we are on the subject of using the potty, here's a video of Elmo asking some preschoolers what they call their products from using the potty.


The Renaissance Festival

I love living in the Twin Cities because there are so many things to do. Last weekend we went to the zoo. This weekend a trip to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival in Shakopee was on our agenda. Emma had been ill on Friday and yesterday, but this morning she was feeling somewhat better, so we decided to go ahead and go to the Renaissance Festival as we had planned.

Going to the Renaissance Festival with a two-year-old in a stroller creates a bit of a challenge. First of all, pushing a stroller on rock or mulch-covered dirt surfaces can be challenging. And secondly, our two-year-old doesn't always have the longest of attention spans if she isn't watching Little Einsteins. We saw bits and pieces of a variety of shows at the festival. Most of the times we tried to go into one of the shops, Emma wanted go to back outside. It was when Mel was looking in one shop, that we started watching a presentation by Minnesota Traditional Morris. Mel rejoined us before their performance was done.

All the time we ate lunch, Emma kept looking over toward a kids' ride in which children sit in butterfly-shaped cars and get pushed around in a circle. So after eating, we went over there so Emma could go on the ride. I gave the ride operator the money and went in with Emma to put her on the ride. However, for some reason she decided then that she did not want to ride. I don't know if she was afraid to go on the ride by herself, or what her issue was, but we got our two dollars back and continued on our way without Emma going on the ride.
One show that we were sure to see was Puke and Snot. Their act is fantastic. Unfortunately I had to miss part of it to change Emma's diaper. I did get to see most of it though, returning just before they finished.

Had the temperature not been in the mid 80s this afternoon, we likely would have stayed longer. Mel would have liked to have seen the kilt competition, but with her being pregnant and Emma getting tired and hot, we decided to head home after about five hours at the Renaissance Festival. I was getting a bit tired as well. Maybe when Emma is older, it will be easier to stay longer, but with a two-year-old a longer stay would likely have just made her get cranky.


Vacation Day

I took a vacation day from work today so I could get some stuff done around the house. My primary task today was to paint Emma's new bedroom. Since we are expecting a baby in February, Emma is going to be moving to the larger bedroom upstairs and into a big bed. When we moved into the house last summer, I painted the bedroom brown. However, we didn't think Emma would like for her room to be brown, so we decided to paint it brighter, more kid-friendly colors. The colors that we chose were Crayola's Just Ducky (the yellow color on the left) and Little Princess (the purple color on the right).

I had just finished with the first coat of each color, the purple is on the top half of the wall and the yellow is on the bottom half, when I got a phone call from daycare informing me that Emma was throwing up and had a fever of 101.9°F. I was about to leave the house to pick up my car from where it was getting its oil changed, so instead, Mel, who was also taking today off, drove with me to daycare to get Emma, and then took me to Tires Plus where I picked up the car.

We called the doctor's office to see if we should take Emma in to be seen, but the triage nurse indicated that we didn't need to. If she still has a fever tomorrow morning though, we might take her to be seen by a doctor. It was a rough afternoon and early evening. Emma kept wanting to eat different things, but the nurse to whom I spoke said that we should just give Emma water or a lemon-lime soda, but that she shouldn't eat anything until she kept fluids down for four hours. We did decide to allow Emma to eat some Club crackers, and they appeared to be fine. She did throw up twice more this afternoon, once shortly after getting home from daycare, and the other an hour or so later. The second time, she not only made a mess of herself, but also of me. I had to change all of my clothes after that. I think that maybe the Tylenol we gave her didn't agree with her stomach. We had been told that we could give her Tylenol in suppository form, but neither Mel nor I really wanted to do that. I suppose if her illness continues, we may have to resort to that.

Anyway, since we didn't want to eat in front of Emma, Mel and I waited to eat dinner until after Emma went to bed. I then got a second coat of paint on the bedroom walls, and finally have had a chance to sit down for a little while without Emma sitting on my lap. I sure hope she feels better in the morning. Being sick is hard enough when you can understand what is going on and can adequately express yourself to others, but for a two-and-a-half-year-old it has got to be no fun at all.


Airport Pickup

Tonight I picked my sister up from the Minneapolis - Saint Paul International Airport. Since her flight was delayed, I arrived early. Not wanting to drive in circles for half an hour, and not wanting to pay for parking, I decided to park in the free cell phone parking lot by the Humphrey terminal. While I was parked in that parking lot, I noticed that the first and last of the thirty-nine parking spaces were designated as handicapped parking spaces. This left me to wonder why this particular parking lot would need to have any handicapped parking spaces. There were absolutely no buildings nearby to which someone would walk, and you can not just leave your car in the lot. The only purpose for the parking lot is to be a place in which to park for free while waiting for someone to telephone from the airport terminal to let you know that he or she has arrived and is ready to be picked up. I suppose the handicapped parking spaces were there because some law requires a certain portion of every parking lot to have such spaces, but in this instance, there did not seem to be the need. I guess they were closer to the trash cans, but really, who goes to the cell phone parking lot at the airport to use the trash can?


Labor Day at the Zoo

Originally uploaded by mathman72
Not wanting to just sit at home all day today, Mel, Emma, and I spent our Labor Day at the Minnesota Zoo. The animals we saw early on, the grizzly bears, the tiger, and the takin, were all sleeping. However, as we continued on our way through the zoo, we were happy that a lot of the the other animals were quite active. Except for the moment I snapped this photo of a zebra stopping on a hill to eat, they kept running around.

Emma enjoyed looking at the zebras and the bison, but her favorite animals at the zoo today were the prairie dogs. One of them ran right up next to her on the other side of the glass partition. Emma also liked looking at the farm animals, making animal sounds as we visited the cows, pigs, and roosters.

We also saw ostriches this morning at the zoo as they ran around with the zebras and wildebeests.

After eating lunch, we checked out the dolphins and sharks. Emma had wanted to see the dolphins since our arrival at the zoo. We also took a walk through the tropics trail. Emma liked the flamingos there as well as some of the fish. One of them swam right up to her when she was sitting on the ground by their aquarium. It was tough to pull her away from there.

We were all getting a bit tired by then, so we skipped the Minnesota Trail and headed home. We also would have liked to visit the butterfly garden as today was the last day it was open for the season, but the line was very long. We will have to try to see that next year.


My Senator is Better Than Your Senator

Assuming you are not from Minnesota, can your senator do this?

Senator Al Franken drew this freehand map of the United States at the Minnesota State Fair while speaking live with Minnesota Public Radio's Gary Eichten on Midday last Friday. I had seen another video of Franken drawing a map of the United States, but he now includes Alaska and Hawai, which he didn't include before. From what he said last Friday, he learned to do this before Alaska and Hawaii were states. The forty-ninth and fiftieth states still need a little work, but at least he is including them now.


Hi Neighbor!

I had a bit of a surprise yesterday as I was mowing the lawn. I was walking toward the back of the back yard with the lawn mower when all of a sudden I looked up to see a head peering over the fence at the rear of the yard. There was a boy who must have been three or four years old looking over the fence. I couldn't hear what he was saying since the lawn mower was running and since I was listening to my iPod. He did hold his hand out though as if he wanted me to give him five, so I did as I passed. On my next pass by where he was, he held out his arm with his hand in a fist as if he was looking for a fist bump, so I obliged. I did shut off the lawn mower to say hello, but his words were kind of hard to understand, so I told him that I had to get back to mowing the lawn. As I continued mowing the lawn, he kept watching. Occasionally he would disappear only to reappear a few moments later. He did leave before I finished mowing the back yard. I should have asked him his age and name as he could possibly make a good playmate for Emma. I have a feeling I will be seeing him again, maybe the next time I mow the lawn.