Monday, July 23, 2007

Remembering Maddie

I just found out this morning that Madison Rife passed away on July 18 at 10 months and 15 days old. Those of you who have followed her story will know that Maddie was born the day before Sadie, and that her family and ours became friends at UVA.

Maddie was an incredibly strong and beautiful baby - I've never seen another like her. She would smile in the midst of unimaginable pain, laugh in the face of fear. She was more of a person as a baby than I could ever hope to be in my entire life.

My thoughts and prayers are with her parents (Jeff and Kathy), and I hope you will send yours their way too. I know they need all the support they can get.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

AAAAAAaaarggh (stress).

To all who have asked why I haven't blogged lately, here's a little taste of my last 3 weeks:
- worked an average of 10 hours per day
- had only 5-6 hours of child care help, maybe 3-4 days a week (a couple of times I had 8 hours). You do the math with how that works with the number of hours I work. Basically means I work all night, and get 4-5 hours sleep - MAX. Most nights much less.
- I'm behind in all of my work, so much so that there's no end in sight for at least 3 weeks... IF I continue this pace!
- Vancouver convention (that I planned and run) is about a week away. Yikes!

Yeah, so that's why I'm not blogging as much as I'd like. The girls are great - Katie's back in the second session of ballet, and Sadie's finally decided to crawl a bit. Jason's trying to stay out of the line of fire, as I'm not a pleasant person most days. Sorry, Jas.

Insurance battles have begun again, and I'm pretty discouraged by what the final verdict is looking like - we lose. At least it's not the initially insurmountable sum from the early days they said we'd have to pay. All the same, I'm still battling them and hoping something will give on their end.

All round, life here is blah and work. Thankfully the girls break up the monotony with their funny antics, giggles and snuggles, otherwise I'd go insane!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Update on the kids

Yeah, so time to brag. I don't have time to download photos, but will in the next week or so, when I resurface from the paper piled atop my desk.

Sadie turned 10 months on July 4 - also the day she cut her first tooth! Two days later she had her "9 month" check up and was deemed to be healthy and so adorable that it almost hurts to loook at her. Ok, well, healthy. She's 18 lbs 7 ozs, which puts her in the 50th percentile for weight and 28.75 inches long, which puts her in the 75th for length. No surprise there, since she's in 12 month clothes that fall off her skinny butt, but are the right length.

The doctors are all impressed with how well she's caught up after all of the drama of her first few months. Personally, I'm amazed. As few as 3-4 months ago she was this screaming bundle of, well, screams that could not be taken anywhere. Now she's laughing up a storm, entertaining everyone and working on adding a few words to her budding vocabulary. She's a total clown, and is constantly trying to find ways to make us laugh. Tonight at dinner she was throwing food on the floor and saying "uh oh". I told her "no," so she started picking up a piece slowly, while looking me in the eye and smiling. Yeah, funny game. Sure enough, on the floor it went as peals of laughter errupted from my little gremlin. The teenage years are going to be AWESOME. I can tell already.

Sadie has never learned to crawl, as she prefers to do the "finger grab" and walk. Our backs ache at the end of the night, as she insists that this shall be her mode of transportation until she can figure out this whole balance thing. Guess it's time to put the plugs in all the sockets, since she has a tendency to try to stuff objects in small crevices.

She's got quite a few words down in the last month, including "mama," "uh oh," "bug," "baby," "hi," "bye bye" and "ama" (for grandma). Today we were playing with animals and she was thrilled with herself for "moo"ing. Fun times.

Katie is doing well, though apparently mommy is not a lot of fun in the summer. Every day she tells me that she wishes she had a kid to play with or she could go to school. I can't keep up with the flow of conversation, and often find myself zoning out after 20 minutes without a breath from the child. But, we will perservere and survive. She's got at least one play date a week, plus she's still doing ballet and Spanish, so she should be ok. We're working on reading and writing, and she's doing fairly well, though doesn't seem to enjoy it for more than 15 minutes at a time. She wants to read, but gets frustrated with how long it takes to sound out words.

The big news with Katie is that we finally figured out the potty solution. (You have no idea what this means to me). Apparantly, a Fiber One bar and stool softer pill a day in place of the laxatives was all we needed. I haven't told the doctors and don't plan to, as I know this would be frowned upon (they want her on laxatives for at least another year!). I figured we give it a try, and within a week she was doing better.

Katie's growing like a weed this summer, and I can't keep her in clothes or shoes it seems. I bought shoes in late June that she can't force her foot into now, and her 5s are history. What is it with summer and kids growing? It must be the sun, I guess. She's been a great helper with Sadie, and spends lots of time "teaching" her words, playing silly games and such. I can't say enough good things about her - she really is a joy and so much fun. Yes, there are trying moments (daily), but I love her kind and giving spirit and quick sense of humor. No matter what is happening around me, with one hug she can bring me back down to what really matters most.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Night of the living dead (fish)

After the Swimmy Hokie episode, Jason took Katie to get a new fish. They came back with three mollies. One disappeared shortly upon return home (about 2 months ago), one died, and we've managed to keep the third alive. Kerinda (my sister) brought about a million baby snails to add in with Gary the Snail (who is now the size of a Mack truck), and nothing else exciting has happened. Until this morning. I fed them, when this strange looking corpse came to the top. A greyish-white, very-dead-looking fish. Yet he ate. He was... ALIVE. Then he floated back to the bottom. He's still in there, still "breathing". Let me remind you, we have a 5 gallon bowl. There's no where to hide.

Amanda (an avid fan of the living dead), you may be right - the zombie invasion is imminent. It's apparantly begun in my daughter's room.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Travel rant

This past weekend we headed to Chicago for yet another wedding. At 8:00 am we arrived at National, ready to catch our 10:15 flight. At 11:40 PM (Eastern) we hit Chicago's runway. Our day featured a delayed flight, missed connection, a detour from National to Dulles to find another flight, super-secret security fun complete with an ion scan and "full" pat down, another delayed flight and finally, to top it all off, a nice hour-long sit on a runway. So fun. We missed rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner, and ended up wandering through greater Naperville, IL searching for a dive that would serve food at 11:30 p.m. (central - 12:30 eastern).

The tally for the weekend?
27 hours travel
28 hours in Illinois (16 spent sleeping = 12 waking hours).

It's no wonder that our airline system goes belly up every few years. It's plagued with ineffencies, poor management and it's a logistical nightmare. During my 27 hours of standing in line, I figured out the solution. One single company could replace this entire f'd up system. They'd start completely from scratch and own all their own airports, planes and staff. Here's a rough outline of how it would work:

  • New airports. They would have one and only one carrier, making them small, private, with 64 major city departures and 32 local flights daily between 6 am and 10 pm. That's 6 flights an hour departing and 6 flights arriving - piece of cake. The airports would remain small and intimate. As more travelers flux into the system, new airports would be added around the city in strategic locations (North, South; West, East).
  • Ambience. Keeping with the massive current trend of customization, each airport would have a similar "feel" with a flair for the location (think Starbucks). They'd feature comfy seating in the airport; free WiFi while you wait; upper tier vendors; the smells of baked goods and coffee as you enter. No more toilet-bowl-cleaner smelling waiting areas.
  • Consistent rates. No sitting online waiting to pounce on a low rate. The rates would be the same from month to month, with quarterly adjustments as needed. The "Saturn" model if you will (no hassle, no haggle).
  • In-flight food. This one is simple, folks. Hit up the food and beverage companies for snack sizes of their latest, hottest items. They'd get free promo on the plane (Today's snack courtesy of Kraft. Touch the screen for nutrition info...) and all they'd have to do is provide product. For longer flights, feature frozen entrees in the same manner - Wolfgang Puck's new entrees come to mind. Fed passengers = happier passengers = happier employees. Easy equation.
  • Corporate discounts. Entice the early adopters by negotiating large corporate contracts. It will ensure the start-up costs are recouped quicker.
  • Top-of the line planes with comfortable seating, interactive screens on the back of each seat, the latest safety options, etc. So we lose 4 seats on the plane by having seats that recline more than 5 degrees. We'll make up the difference by having full flights.
  • Courteous flight attendants. Much like you would not expect to find a McDonalds employee waiting tables at Ruth Chris, no United attendants would be a part of this air service (yes, still bitter).
Now, all I need is a few billion to get this baby off the ground. Anyone have Trump's or Gate's home number?