Thursday, January 21, 2016

2016 reading list

The art of crash landing

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve

Do you hear that?

That is the sound of baby A and the hubs both taking a nap.

That is the sound of silence before the craziness that is Christmas at my great Aunt's house begins.

That is the sound of me enjoying an entire bottle of beer with no interruptions.

This year I did less for Christmas. Partly because it was decided last year we are only doing presents for the kids. Partly because I forgot to bake cookies and make sweets. (Or partly because the Hubs ate all the sweets I made last weekend? There was some fudge and cookies leftover from the stash I sent to my brother in law and sister in law, and it's all gone. And well, the weather has been so nasty fudge wouldn't have set up. I made fudge once during a storm and ended up using it as cake icing.)

This year the Hubs got me a Fitbit Charge HR for Christmas. It came in the mail a couple weeks ago and I've worn it for the last week already. I am shocked/saddened by how little walking I do at work if I have meetings for a majority of the day. I am excited by how this little piece of technology encourages me to get in at least 10,000 steps per day. And (slightly embarrassed?) that sometimes that means jogging in place for 5 minutes at the end of the day. But at least I get my steps in. At least I'm not sedentary.

This year is the first year we've set up a big tree. The Hubs scored it on sale after Christmas last year.  A fake tree that looks surprisingly real, with lights already attached. Just plug it in and add ornaments. I am excited for new personalized ornaments each year. I am excited to start new traditions with our little A.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

It's been awhile

So the old man in my previous post... his house is being repaired by a local charity. He moved in with a family member while the home is being repaired. When I last visited, the living conditions were worse then they had been in May, and we started moving forward with getting him out of the house completely. But now things are getting better and I'm not so scared of him living there anymore

Baby A is 14 months old now. She is trying to talk. When I pick her up from the sitter, she runs to the door screaming "mama mama", and when the Hubs gets home from work she runs to the door yelling "dada dada". She is starting to repeat what we say to her now. She has a puzzle that has a horse, a cow and a sheep on it. I'll say "What does the horse say?" And she'll say "nay-nay" over and over again. She also knows that cows say "moo moo" and dogs go "bow wow wow". She knows where her belly, ears, eyes and and nose are. And she likes to lift up my shirt and show me where my belly is, too.
She is not sleeping through the night yet, and still wakes up around 1 and 4. Usually at 1 I can rock her back to sleep, but at 4 she needs a bottle. At least she goes to sleep better now. We have a routine now: pajamas, bottle, rocking/singing "Twinkle Twinkle" and then she goes to bed half awake. Sometimes she will cry a little, but usually she snuggles up with her bear and falls asleep. That's how she takes a nap, too.
She eats quite a bit now, and I am trying to diversify her meals, but it seems so hard when produce is out of season! She loves canned peaches and mandarin oranges, and she'll eat almost half a can of mixed vegetables in a setting. She also loves turkey lunch meat and cheese. And bananas. Sometimes she'll eat almost an entire banana for breakfast. She's a fan of cheese-scrambled eggs and sausage patties. And Grandma Betty's mashed potatoes.

The Hubs is out deer hunting today. I hope we get a couple deer for the freezer this year. One of his coworkers got a deer this morning; it was his first deer and he didn't know how to gut it. So he called the Hubs, who left his treestand on opening day to help the guy out. Sometimes I think he's a better person than I could be. I honestly would have told the guy to find other help, that I was busy. The guy told the hubs "This is good karma. You helped me out so you have to get a deer now."

Saturday, May 9, 2015

On my new job

Back in January, my supervisor retired. I put it for a promotion and got it. I am now the Building and Code Enforcement Manager, or in plain English, the Code Official. I oversee plan review, inspections and code enforcement. I work with the police department on nuisance issues, and with Public Works to get properties cleaned up when they have high weeds, trash, brush piles, etc. That part is new to my job.
Right now, we are also working on adopting the new building codes. We started reviewing them before I went on maternity leave, and just now wrapped up the review and recommendations with the Board of Appeals. Monday, I gave a presentation to City Council on the new codes. I will probably also attend the next two City Council meetings and answer additional questions they have, and then hopefully they'll adopt the new ordinance in June. 
May is Building Safety Month. So on Monday, I (and the fire marshal) accepted a proclamation from the Mayor declaring May as Building Safety Month. There are different topics each week, such as water/pool safety, fire safety, storm safety, and energy efficiency. I was also interviewed for a 5 minute piece on our local public access TV channel. 
A lot has changed in the last two months. I feel like I am making a difference in our community. I wasn't prepared for my job though, as I wasn't mentored by my previous supervisor, and so I feel like I am reinventing the wheel sometimes because there isn't a procedure manual. 
Take for example, yesterday... About a week ago, one of my inspectors approached me about a property maintenance situation at a house. He showed me photographs of the house being completely overgrown by vines, and the yard unmowed. He showed me photographs of the roof caving in in some areas and covered by a tarp to prevent rain from causing further damage. Then he showed me photographs of an extension cord running from a neighbor's house to give this house some power. And of the inside of the house, where the floors are so rotted they are about to give way. A person still lives in this house. An old man, probably in his 70s. The house is not fit for living in. So we posted it as an unsafe structure and gave the old man a week and a half to find a new place to live. His deadline is Monday. No one prepared me for this part of my job. Where an old man comes in scared that I am going to kick him out to the streets because his house is unsafe. No one prepared me for having a conversation with a person who reminds me of my grandpa, who has tears streaming down his face because he has no place to go. He is working with senior services to find him a place to live, but yesterday was a state holiday and he hasn't received an update on available housing for him. He has no phone. There are storms moving in this weekend, it is raining as I type this, and I'm concerned for his safety. I'm scared he may get shocked from touching a wet extension cord, his only source of power. I'm ashamed that I don't know how to help him. 
I never imagined 10 years ago, that as a licensed architect I would be a building official. I take my job very seriously, and health, safety and welfare are my top responsibilities. It's easy to review plans and make sure the design is code compliant. It's easy to answer questions on our codes and ordinances. It's not so easy to sleep at night filled with anxiety. I hope this next week we are able to find him a place to live. 
I know I haven't written much in the last several months. I have a lot less alone time now caring for baby A. I would like to continue to share about my job on my blog, as well as share about baby A and our country life. Bear with me. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

To My Baby Kangaroo - February 2015

In February, your dad and I finally decided to eat at a restaurant with you. You weren't quite big enough to sit in a high chair unassisted, so we took turns holding you while we ate Mexican for lunch. 

Your grandpa and uncle like teasing you... and usually make you cry. 
You are starting to be more mobile. You now "wiggle-worm" your way across the floor. You can move backward and forward, but you don't really push off with your legs yet. You seem to use your arms more.  You love jumping in your jumper, and also jumping while being held in someone's lap. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Peppers started

Edited to add: 
I figured I need to write down what I started so I don't have to squint so hard at the picture!

6 each (actually 12 seeds of each) of: 
Turkish Orange eggplant (Baker Creek)
Whitney pepper (long bell pepper)
Boris Banana pepper
Mama Mia pepper
Fooled You Jalapeno (taste of jalapeno without the heat)
Purple Tomatillo
Chinese Giant bell (grew these last year and liked them!)
Jalapeno (for when we actually do want heat)

As of the morning of February 13, only the tomatillos had sprouted...

Saturday, February 7, 2015

to my baby kangaroo - January 2015

I don't call you my baby kangaroo very often anymore.  Usually you are "baby girl" or "chubby monkey" or i refer to your chubby chipmunk cheeks. 

This month you became a lot more vocal and sing and talk to us. It is not decipherable though.  

You also learned how to roll over. The first time,  I was home alone with you and actually got your second roll on camera. That was about three weeks ago. Last weekend you learned how to roll the other direction (from front to back).

You like to roll around on the floor and play with your toys.  You also like to lay on your back and play with your toes,  or chew on them. 

Bath time is in your bumbo seat since you can't sit by yourself yet. You usually get 2-3 baths per week. And then you get lotioned-up, as you have dry skin patches.

You are still exclusively breastfed.  Although you are starting to show an interest in our food at dinner.  At your four month appointment a couple weeks ago,  the doctor gave us some guidelines for starting solid foods.  We are waiting on you to sit up unassisted before we start rice cereal. At that appointment,  you were a little over 15 pounds, and your height and weight were both between the 75th and 90th percentile.
You are also still in cloth diapers. Here was a photo with them all clean. 51 total. I have since then bought some covers to use over disposables. We are going on vacation next month and I don't  want to deal with washing cloth diapers then, but you have major poop-splosions in disposables, so I am hoping we can put a cover over the disposables and contain the mess.
At dinner you sit in your swing. We started strapping you in this week because you squirm so much you fall out of it. 
You constantly drool and chew on everything, including your toys, blankets and me and your dad. Sometimes you chew on my shoulder or neck and I look like I have a hickey. You don't take a pacifier unless you are very tired, which is fine by me because then we won't have a bad habit to break.
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