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Monday, March 26, 2012

Home Sick

Eddie was sent home from daycare with diarrhea today. Lucky for me, it hasn't escalated to anything worse AND my mom offered to come up for the night so I can go into lab for a few hours once he's asleep. She's always been immune to stomach flu (lucky...she never got sick from is when we got it as kids...or colds for that matter).

While he was down for a nap I got caught up all the laundry folding I neglected yesterday, and that's always nice.  My mom arrived while Eddie was still napping and he was so excited to see her when I got him up. I had been telling him that we could paint once she was here...and he asked about it immediately when he saw her.

So we settled in for some painting with "Gwam-aw" this evening. I think we all had fun.  :)

Now we're all having some crackers while watching an episode of Dinosaur Train (and Eddie's having some watered down gatorade). Here's hoping for a barf free household!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Livermore visit

Several months ago I was invited to participate in a high school career fair for girls interested in STEM careers (science, technology, engineering, and math).  I'm not sure how effective these types of events are in encouraging students to pursue a college degree or career in these field, but I suppose it's at least a good way for them to learn how to talk to adults and whatnot.

Eddie and I took two days off last week to go to Livermore for this event.  Granted, it was only a one night thing, but it was a nice getaway for us to visit with some friends and my family.  It was especially nice since I left the dogs at home.

It was a pretty busy 24 hour adventure.  First, we had a leisurely morning of laundry folding, cleaning the house, watching some shows, and making sure the dogs and chickens were ready for us to leave.  Eddie slept the entire drive, which was awesome because it meant I got to listen to NPR instead of his movies (a person can only listen to Chuggington or Finding Nemo so many times).

Our first stop was to Alden Lane Nursery, where I used to work in high school and college.  I'd seen their post on Facebook that morning about half off on fruit trees since the weather was bad (to encourage people to come in a shop).  So I bought two cherry trees, one for us and one for my dad, plus some herb seeds.  My dad offered to start some herbs in soil blocks for me--I chose chives, tarragon, and oregano (plus dill and  fennel that we'll direct seed).   It was nice to catch up with my old boss, Brian, too. 
Waddo in a wagon.

It was overcast the whole time we were in town, which was a nice change from Davis where it'd been raining buckets for a couple of days.  I love the rain (we need it so much!) but it's just easier to play outside with Eddie when it isn't actively pouring.
Eddie played with the neighbor's grandson, Jack, for a while.  Jack kept asking me, "Why that kid in the dirt?" I posted this on Facebook and said that it was composted manure.  Turns out it was actually just soil. 
...however, this pile IS manure.  Composted manure, but still manure.  and boy did Eddie love it.  See his cute sweater?  He'd just received it as a give from Kateri. 
Somehow, I managed to convince my parents to put Eddie to bed that night.  Originally I was going to have to attend the career fair, come back to bed the babe, and then meet my friends for a late night snack downtown.  But Donovan and Kateri really wanted to meet up, too, since Donovan was only in town that night.  My folks have never offered to bed Eddie before, which is fine.  He's super easy to put down as long as you follow our set routine (dinner, play, bath, teeth, PJs, books, bed).  Not having done it in 25 years, I think they were just a little wary of their own energy.  Haha.

Anyway, so I got to change plans to meet up with the Joneses at Shari's for "pie shakes" at 9pm, followed by meeting my high school buddies for more treats at 10:15pm (same place). 

First, I went to the career fair.  It was at Granada, in the student union.  Each of us "professionals" was assigned a table with another woman. I was paired with a bioterrorism lab manager from Sandia.  She was nice, but BOY did she stink at talking to young folks about her job.  They'd glaze over and she's just go into more and more detail about it.  At one point she had no one to talk to, and she stood there listening to me talk to some shy teens.

Me: Hi, I'm Julie.  What are your names?
Them: "So-and-so" and "Such-and-Such"
Me: Nice to meet you.  What year are you?
Them: Sophomores.
Me: Great.  So that means you're in...chemistry?  And you'll take physics next year?
Them: Yes!  And maybe AP chem the year after.
Me: That's great!  Do you know what you want to study in college?
Them: Uh. Science?
Me: Ok...what kind of science?
Them: What?
Me: Ok. When I was your age, I thought there were only a few types of science: chemistry, physics, biology.  But it turns out (as you'll discover when you're in college), there are actually many MORE types of science.  There's biology of viruses, biology of humans, chemistry of food, chemistry of synthesis (like to make cosmetics and medicine and plastics and stuff)...and once you're in graduate school you'll be AMAZED at how many MORE choices there are.
Them: Really?  Wow.
Me: Yep. And what's really cool about science, is that it gets SO MUCH MORE INTERESTING as you go from high school to college to graduate school.  Mostly, because you get to choose what specific classes you take and there are so many to choose from.  So if you ever find your science classes boring or hard, trust me: stick with it.  I promise it will get more interesting (and easier since it'll be more interesting) the higher and higher you go with it.
Them: Yeah, it's sort of boring right now.

And then I went on to tell them about how I wasn't the best science student in high school, but not because I didn't try.  It was because science and math were just harder for me to grasp than it was for other students.  But I didn't let it stop me.  I just worked harder to get my Bs and B+s.  And that once I got into college and got to take more interesting classes, I fell head over heels in love with the subject that I chose (environmental chemistry) and I grew to love the challenge.  I explained that because it was challenging for me, I feel like it made me a better scientist compared to many of my classmates.  (Whether or not this is always true, I don't know.  But I like to think it is true most days.)  My final advice was that they should choose a career or college major based on what's interesting and a little challenging to them--my experience is if you choose something that is easy, you'll quickly lose interest in it.

When the two students moved on to the next table, the Sandia lady turned to me and said, "Wow, that was really good advice."  I'm not sure what she thought she should have been telling these students--the specifics of her research?  I doubt any of them cared or even understood what she was talking about.  Not that I didn't talk about my research--I brought a baggie of compost and one of nasty, hard soil (and I miiiiiiiiiiiight have offered to let them smell how delicious the compost was...most of them smelled it only after I did and after their moms did).

Once the event ended, I went to Shari's and got a pie shake with Edward, Donovan, Kateri, my mom, and Gayla.  Edward had been in the east bay that day for work so he made a point of sticking around to see us, too.  (My dad was left with sleeping Wadamus.)  Okay, what's a ?pie shake"? It's a piece of your favorite pie blenderized with ice cream.  It is amazing. 
It also happened to be "pi day" (March 14 = 3.14).  The waitress said, "Isn't that weird?  It's National Pie Day!  Who knew there was such a thing?"  She obviously didn't get it...but we entertained ourselves by bragging about how many digits of pi we each knew (Donovan knows 10, I knew 26, and Edward knows like 43!  What a show off!).  It was super fun to catch up with everyone.  I hadn't seen the Joneses since New Year's.

Robby, Tina, and John showed up just as everyone else was leaving.  We stayed there and had some actual food.  My salad had rotten lettuce in it (which I first tasted and didn't see, unfortunately) so the waiter removed it from the bill.  Robby and Tina are expecting their first baby boy in August so we spent a lot of time talking about labor, etc.  At least John got in on the conversation when we'd exchange stories from our own child/babyhood.  I was not surprised to learn that John was born tall and skinny.  Haha!

The next morning I made breakfast for us Levie Bowers.  It was still just overcast so we got to play in the backyard some more.
My dad and Eddie made a ramp for rolling an old bowling ball into some traffic cones. Redneck bowling!
Eddie "wuves" his "Gwan Pa" so much it's ridiculous.
My dad showed me the progress he had made on a beautiful redwood worm bin (it was my Christmas present).  I can't wait to get it up to our house!  I checked my worms yesterday and some of them were trying to escape because they are too crowded in the Rubbermaid tote in which they currently reside.  This new bin is plenty big for all of our family's veggie waste so I won't even need to have a compost pile (which will be nice since Taters like to dig into the pile for snacks...ew.)
Yes, it looks a bit like a coffin...

Lucky for me, my mom took Eddie to feed the horses and goats across the road while I packed up the car to depart.  Packing the car with Eddie's "help" is totally possible, it just takes much longer.
Who needs pants when you're feeding the animals?  Not Eddie Pie!
It was a quick trip, but a nice change from our regular weekly routine. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sup Dude

...this is how little boys ride in the car.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


For whatever reason, Skype doesn't work well with the Gualala internet connection, but Google Hangout does.  So we've switched over to doing a Hangout with Dave 3 nights a week.  (We don't usually do Monday nights because he's so tired from having arrived at 1am that morning that he goes to bed super early.)

It is most fun when Uncle joins in the fun!

At Christmas time we liked playing around with the reindeer antler icon things...tonight it rotated between dog, cat, angel halo, and devil horns.
It was particularly funny when Jennifer entered the picture.  She ended up with devil horns and Dave had the halo.  She was outside sanding down the wooden parts of a couch her parents shipped out to her...she's refinishing it for their new apartment.  I can't wait to see how it turns out!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Edi-TALKA-amus: One Year Later

On this day last year, I listed some of the new words Eddie could say.  Wow, has a lot changed.  He's a nonstop chatterbox these days.  Seriously, when he goes to bed at night I often find myself thinking, "Oh thank goodness, it's finally quiet."

If you recall, he's always been a chatterbox:
...only now he's speaking English instead of babbling.  

Like any child, we are often surprised by the things he says.  Sometimes it catches us off guard because we didn't know he understood a phrase, let alone the corresponding concept.  For example, while we were in Gualala the other weekend, Dave happened to turn off the bedroom light.  Eddie quickly noted, "Daddy turned off the power!"  Dave, Peggy, and I all exchanged looks.  Where he learned the word power and the (mostly) correct meaning is beyond me.  Cassie's perhaps?

Lately he's been catching on to the concept of time.  He'll say things like, "Mama, this one is for later, maybe tomorrow," when flipping through a stack of books to choose which one to read right then versus save for another time.  He also recognizes the difference between daylight and nighttime (namely that we eat breakfast in the morning and that he has to take a bath and go to bed at night).  Many mornings he'll tell me, "Mama I no want it to get dark. I want to go to the park. I no want to take bath at dark."  

We laugh our heads off sometimes just because we love hearing such a little person say something so adult like ("Gimme two minutes Mama!").  I'm trying REALLY hard to be clear when I say "gimme a such-and-such amount of time" before we do something.  Too many times I've caught myself saying, "Yes, I'll get you a snack in a second."  And then 10 minutes later I finally get around to preparing his snack.  So I've changed to, "give me a moment," which of course is exactly the type of catch phrase I would have teased my mom with as a kid. So I expect Eddie'll pick up on that soon, too.

Remember when you wanted to read the same book over and over and over again as a kid?  Yeah. That's super annoying once you're a parent.  Especially when it is a coloring book that you want to "read" and there are no words, just lame, uncolored pictures of stuff.  (I'm probably just lacking in patience and/or creativity when it comes to making up a "story" or even a lengthy description about whatever is on the page.)  Lucky for me, Eddie's chattery self has started reading to us.  I suggested it one night because I just couldn't stand to "read" the heavy equipment coloring book to him another time.  So I said, "How about you read it to Mama this time."  Genius!  We've actually established that all coloring books are to be read to Mama and Daddy instead of by us.  Thank heavens.  

All on his own, he's started reading other books to us, too.  I love, love, love it when he does because he takes it quite seriously.  If we're in his room before bedtime, he'll make me get off the stool to sit on the floor so that he can sit up on the stool to read to me.  (Roll reversal.)  And he's very emphatic that I point out various objects to him ("Now where's the shovel Mama?  You see it?  Yes, very good!").  The inflections in his voice melt my heart every. single. night.  

Yesterday he read me a book during breakfast:
I could never list all of the words he knows, says, and/or uses correctly.  Basically, if he were 2 feet taller and were potty trained, he'd be an adult.  It's RIDICULOUS how smart he is (or at least seems to me as his boasting Mama) and how freaking FAST he's growing.  Time flies when you're chasing a toddler.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Aspen Greenbelt Park

Last Tuesday we went to a new park along the greenbelt in West Davis (Aspen).  It was quite warm outside and as it got later in the day, the mosquitoes were coming out in force.  They were huge.  While Eddie ran around playing on the infrastructure, I got to talk to an older woman who was there nannying for her granddaughter.  This woman is retired but drives between Davis (3 days a week) and Mountain View (2 days a week) from Marin to care for her grandkids.  Whoa, she's one dedicated mother/grandmother.  We got to talk about everything from career choices to Lyme disease to horses.
Who needs a playground when there are storm drains to play on?  This kid is definitely a Bower.
And who needs a slide when there's a cinderblock wall to walk on?
For what it's worth (not much to Eddie), here's the park.  Eddie was wearing a stegosaurus shirt AND sweatshirt that fun that there was also a stegosaurus structure, too?
When the nice grandmother left the park, Eddie and I played on the dino together.  I was only able to get one measely picture of him before he ran off to play on the cinderblock wall again.  
Eventually it was too buggy to play anymore so I went over to get him.  Turns out he'd run off because he had to poop...and he had a giant blow out.  Newborn blowouts are one thing, but a toddler blow out is a much BIGGER thing.  So I had to change my squirmy child in the back of the van, atop a sack of chicken feed, in the midst of a swarm of mosquitoes.  Boy, was that fun.  Once we were seated in the car with the doors closed, I spent a good 10 minutes killing TONS of mosquitoes while the van idled.  It was insane.

After he was all cleaned up and in a new set of clothes, we made a quick stop to the pet store to buy an aquatic snail.  My hope was to have this shelled guy keep the tank clean of all the algae that grows on the filter.  Of course, I could just keep the tank light off to prevent so much photosynthesis.  Within a few hours the snail had found the algaed filter...good boy!
Yesterday was pretty cold, so I wasn't too interested in playing at the park.  I convinced Eddie into going to the library.  He LOVES returning the books using the automated scanner thing outside.  In fact, he likes to help everyone else return their books.  Most of them think it's cute but some of the teenagers don't have the patience for it.  Inside the library, he's mostly interested in (pretending to use) the computers and playing with the mini kitchen toy.  I always pick out a few books for us to borrow.  This time we ended up with 5 books and he actually seems interested in reading all of them with me.  There are stools in front of each automated checkout counter and Eddie has learned how to scan our card and each book.  Teehee, it's adorable.  
"Mama, I do it. See?  Card, book, book."
We were both starving after an hour in the library so we decided to head to a park to eat our snack.  It was still freezing outside and the wind had picked up so we didn't stay long.  This time we went to Covell City Park.  We didn't play on the structures much, because of the cold.  But also because I think Eddie's a little too young to "get" it.  It's a modern structure with ropes and spinning seat things that look too much like Diva Cups to me.