Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Allergies in Virginia

My brother posted about trying to determine whether his new puppy could sleep in their room or not because of a slight dog allergy he has ( He was convinced the answer was no, because whenever he visits MY house, his allergies go wild. He's apparently been blaming them on my poor unsuspecting dog Ben. Now it turns out, Ben is cleared, and it's simply my housekeeping that is getting blamed.

Since my brother is not allowing comments on his blog, here is the REAL story: mold.

This issue has gotten bumped up to the top of our house to-do list over the past six months due to near constant misery on my part (it actually has been better recently, but still). After two years of work, Austin has gotten the drainage around the basement such that no water gets into it. Once this crucial first step was achieved, our basement efforts have gone into high gear. Austin enclosed all of the basement that has a dirt floor with a vapor barrier,and this weekend, he even ripped down all the insulation on the basement ceiling (30 huge trash bags full!). Unsurprisingly, the paper substrate on the fiberglass insulation that was pressed up against the first floor was all moldy. He also had to rip down a wall of untreated wood that someone built to partition the basement that had similar mold and rot problems. What were they thinking?

Next steps: wash the basement ceilings with a bleach mixture to kill the mold on the underside of the floor, install foam insulation along the basement walls (which mold can't attach to), and install a dehumidifier.

And the final step: my brother to stop publicly maligning my housekeeping. :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hello, Nalu

For those of you who really like pictures of cute puppies, I highly recommend my brother's new blog, chronicling life with their new golden retriever. Nalu is just about 9 weeks old and absolutely adorable, of course. Plus, Mike and Kat are really good photographers, so it adds to the enjoyment immensely.

Nalu's Hairball Blog:

Florida again

Tucker and I are enjoying another trip to visit my mom in Florida, but this time with good weather (well, except today). The beach is A LOT nicer at 80 degrees and sunny than at 50 degrees, cloudy and really windy. This time we're having a quiet trip with not a lot more than swimming and playing in the sand... much less ambitious than Disney World last time, but Tucker doesn't seem to be suffering too badly. Actually, he is convinced that Mickey Mouse lives at GoGo's house, and that Goldfish (the snack) grow in her cupboards.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Where's that other guy?"
-Tucker, asking where Austin was during breakfast today

Happy Birthday, Emery!

Our first niece, Emery Campbell Doescher made her debut into the world this Sunday, the 21st. Congratulations Matt and Liz!!!!

Tucker has spent some time over the past few days looking at Emery's pictures, absorbing the fact that Aunt Liz has a baby, and also looking at his own baby pictures. For the first time, I think he's figured out that he used to be a baby as well.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A day at the park

Tucker and his friend Amelia had a good time at the park the other day. Here are some pics courtesy of my friend Lena.

Blazer time

Henny sent Tucker an Easter blazer that he looked extremely dapper in this Sunday at church. (I know, it's not Easter yet, but what's a boy to do when he has a new navy blazer and a new tie?)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tucker at Two and a Half

My friend Alison just did a thoughtful post about her son at 2 and a half, and it made me think about Tucker reaching that milestone as well (this past Thursday!).

First of all, I just want to say that Tucker at two and a half is very different than Tucker at two. His language has exploded in the past six months, and he usually can tell me what he's trying to say. His imagination is also exploding, so what he wants to say may have less and less bearing on reality. At two, language was a vehicle to get the food he wanted. Now it is a vehicle to tell me that his bus is flying to the moon, but is running out of gas, that he's hosing me down with water from his kitchen sink because I'm on fire, and so much more. With his increasing abilities, he has a lot of increasing opinions... about everything, really. I have learned a lot about consistency over the last several months out of sheer desperation; Tucker is amazingly methodical at testing just exactly how far he can go with anything and everything and get away with it. And yet, of course, to everyone else besides Austin and I, Tucker is perpetually a joyful and obedient little boy with a constant smile.

We're starting to learn about social niceties like "please" and "thank you," about sharing, and taking turns. He really likes the idea of taking turns with the radio in my car... as long as it's always Tucker's turn. His social sense is also developing and he pays more attention to other kids wherever he goes. His favorite is running amock in a little playroom with kids of every size after church.

He is a champion sleeper still, usually going to bed at 7 pm (maybe 7:30) and getting up at about 7 am (maybe 6:30 am). He also takes at least a two hour nap, and often three hours or more several times a week. I don't see his nap disappearing anytime soon.

He is very much a "big boy" these days, having given up his crib in January with no trepidation--he truly loves his bed and has not wavered at all on those feelings. Also, amusingly, he hasn't figured out that he can get out of his bed whenever he wants to--or maybe he loves his bed so much he just never wants to voluntarily get out of it on his own. He has been potty trained during the day and at naps since late January as well, though he needs reminders to go pee. Life is very busy, and it can be hard sometimes for Tucker to be willing to stop the action for a potty break. He is refusing to wear one piece sleepers to bed anymore--he wants real pajamas now, which would be a lot cuter if he couldn't occasionally wiggle his diaper off in them in the middle of the night in his sleep (with the expected disastrous results).

The one remnant of babyhood left in Tucker's life is his pacifier, which he is still very attached to for sleeping. He is good about leaving them in his bed, but has no interest in letting the Pacifier Fairy come and exchange them for a big boy present so she can give the pacifiers to the babies who need them. The Pacifier Fairy hasn't decided how long she'll wait for him to be willing before she comes anyway!

Tucker continues to be very focused and methodical. He lines up his trucks and cars with precision, often in big lines that caravan across whole rooms. Another passion continues to be the Wheels on the Bus videos, which Tucker talks about constantly.

Yes, that is Tucker using power tools

I guess more than the wheels on the bus go round and round.

Monday, March 15, 2010

18 lbs of Grapefruit

I bought an 18 lb bag of grapefruit two weeks ago from the grocery store. It's one of those interesting sale buys that tantalize you with the price but have questionable practicality. I mean, it was a REALLY good deal--but who eats 18 lbs of grapefruit when you're not on the grapefruit diet? Anyway, it's only taken the two of us (Tucker is apparently not in a grapefruit mood) two weeks, and we are back to looking at an empty fruit drawer with only two grapefruit left.

I try to stay away from bragging on this blog, but I do think that rate of grapefruit consumption is pretty impressive, personally.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A few snapshots of life:

7 am today. Tucker began the day by trying to teach Austin how to properly wag his duck's tail (ie tag). I've been instructed in the art of properly rubbing the tag between two fingers before, but Austin was new to the discipline. Of course, neither of our techniques pass muster with Tucker. Tucker is an attentive teacher, giving Austin at least 10" of breathing space as he yelled out Soviet-style commands "Wag the tail! No! Wag the tail!"

Church coffee hour today. Tucker goes through two cups of juice, three slices of banana bread, two boxes of raisins, three or four (large) helpings of goldfish and a good sized cookie... and still wants more. At least this was better nutritionally than several weeks ago when the coffee hour hostess put the Girl Scout cookies ON the table in front of Tucker and it was only when he had subvertly grabbed his fifth cookie that I figured out what was going on.

A few days ago outside. Austin was finishing up his workout while Tucker looked on. Austin was barefoot; Tucker was not. Austin was doing some sort of vertical leaps for his workout, and Tucker was trying to imitate him but couldn't figure out how to make his feet leave the ground to jump. He urgently tried to take his shoes off, convinced it was the shoes that were weighing his feet down, preventing him from successfully getting airborne.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Austin and Tucker happened to wear the same thing today, independently of one another. Tucker and I were thrilled, Austin not so much... apparently he doesn't like the idea of matching father-son outfits. Hmmmmm.

Bye bye winter!!!!

It's pouring today, but I'll excuse the weather because of the sheer fact that it's WARM, and the rain is washing away those last little piles of snow... I hope. Austin and Ben are still in mourning for the winter, while I am exuberant about the possibility of Spring.

On our walks this week, Ben made it a point to roll, dig, and eat snow from every little patch of snow he could find.

Austin still is going on the AccuWeather chat forums wondering if a March storm could come our way. Apparently, the snow geeks on the forums are still discussing epic April storms from years past. But there's no activity on the weather models that give anyone any hope... and Austin finally admitted last week that the snow is over for the year.

It's been so cold and snowy here that we have not had any rain since December until yesterday. We had above average precipitation, of course, but none of it in the form of rain. It's oddly comforting to hear the missing rain on our metal roof at night, and thankfully not too much seems to have leaked through our roof... yet. :)

Spoons, videos and keys...

...are the new playthings of the week.

First, keys. Tucker really likes keys right now. He wants keys of his own when we go for rides in the car. He NEEDS keys when he plays outside with his car, or inside with his ride on truck, too. He deftly runs and gets the stool from the bathroom and can reach our key rack, so no key is safe from him at this point though we are really trying to limit him to one set of totally extra play keys and another keychain that is relatively superfluous as well. It works sometimes... when we're watching him like a hawk. :) And what does he do with these keys? Well, they always end up stuck in some lock somewhere, as shown on the pictures. It could be the door to Austin's spray truck, or my car, or Austin's truck, or the front door... but eventually they find a home.

The next toy of the week is the cases to all of Tucker's videos. Tucker is an organizer. He loves to put things in order, collect things, look at them, line them up, put them together, etc. He has a set of Wheels on the Bus videos in a cardboard case with lots of paper inserts that has become more fun than his matchbox cars this week. All the DVDs have been long since rescued to safe places by us, but that doesn't stop the fun. In the spirit of plenty, he has also added to his hoard many of the cases of various VHS and other DVDs that he has... Thomas the train, Barney, I Dig Dirt. Yesterday, he carried the whole bundle with him into the car and held it the whole time he was in the car (wanting to pick it up every time we got back in the car). Last night he slept with them, and informed me at 2 am that one of the bus video cases had slid down underneath the bed and I should get it for him (for some reason, I was more concerned about him coughing, and not the missing bus video)... of course, he woke up talking about the missing bus video again. (That kiddo has a one track mind!)

Lastly, spoons. Well, actually, Tucker goes for all utensils, but he needs more than one to tackle any meal. He can reach the silverware drawer and he pulls out all the "fun" utensils he can find and runs and sticks them into whatever he's eating. He is also very specific about telling us whose utensil it is (ie "Henny's spoon").

Monday, March 8, 2010


Tucker gets into these ruts where he repeats the same phrase over and over again. His patience is short, so if he wants dinner it may be "Tucker eat food. Tucker eat food. Tucker eat food. Tucker eat food," the whole time the microwave is warming something up for him. Or it may be trying to change my mind about something like "Tucker get apple juice. Tucker get apple juice. Tucker get apple juice. Tucker get apple juice." (Even though I've already answered and said, "No apple juice now.)

Obviously that's a case of not liking my answer. But sometimes he repeats something just out of wanting to hear himself talk "What is this?" (Raisin.) "What is this? What is this? What is this? ..." I mean, the boy is holding up a food he already knows and asking what it is just for the sake of talking. It can get maddening.

I haven't figured out the right consequence for this behavior yet. I ask him to say things ONCE. I don't do what he wants me to do if he's being a broken record. I make him get down from the table if he's being aggessively annoying during a meal. But I do want to encourage talking, and am glad he's enjoying making conversation... but can't it just be varied conversation??????

Just a question

Do any other two year-olds think that dry unflavored oatmeal is a good snack food and get it out of the pantry to eat several times a day????

Just wondering.

Monday, March 1, 2010

More doggy indiscretions

For some obscure reason, I'm very tired tonight. Oh wait, I know why: I spent a good portion of last night up with a dog with severe gastrointestinal distress.

It amazes me that Ben has made to age 10 with the complete lack of sense he exhibits around what he puts in his stomach (I was tempted to say "complete lack of sense around food" but really, the problem is mostly non-food items that end up in his stomach).

The story: Our washing machine was particularly thorough yesterday and in the middle of its spinning cycle the container of doggy supplements that Ben takes for his arthritis that was on top of it fell down onto the floor. Somehow in the process the top of the container got knocked off.

Did I notice? Nope. Did Ben notice? Yep.

I had the sense to investigate his disappearance and halted his binge through the doggy supplement container, but only after he had made it halfway through. That's right: less than 60 of the 120 bits of goodness were left, and it had only been opened a few days ago. Keep in mind the max serving a day for a dog his weight is about 5.

He did fine for a few hours until he started to drink a lot of water. Not a huge surprise because the supplements definitely smell salty (they're more like little doggy cookies than pills), and we had already experienced the playdoh effect first hand (in which he begs for water, we have to ration it every 15 minutes or so to prevent him drinking himself to death, and he pees all night long).

But then, when we were going to bed, he started needing to go outside to be sick and do his business. Urgently. A lot. At this point I googled if it was possible to overdose on those tablets, and one vet said it wasn't, because the animal just pees out the excess. Another vet said you should get them to throw up and then give them activated charcoal to absorb and toxins.

Well, the throwing up part had already been taken care of very thoroughly be Mother Nature so I did the activated charcoal bit (soaked in a little applesauce apparently makes them very pleasing to the doggy palate). Not sure it really mattered, as everything came up again within the hour.

Ben and I had lovely quality time on the couch last night, dozing in between letting him out every 20 minutes or so and getting him more water until the worst had passed. Ah, what good times... and I hope they won't ever be repeated. Please, Ben?