Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Illinois Libraries Need Your Help

I know this isn't news anywhere, and Illinois isn't the only state affected, but there are libraries and library services in Illinois that are not getting the funding they need. If you love libraries, librarians, or books, please go to SaveIllinoisLibraries on January 20, fill out the form, and let the Governor and Comptroller know how much we need libraries for everyone.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Fairy Princess

Over the weekend, we had arranged a photo shoot with my friend Lance for Ava's baptism and 3-month-old photos. Lance does amazing work with a camera. You know what, amazing doesn't even cover it, it's more than amazing. He has been taking these great nature photos for a while now, and he's starting to do a little business in portraits and family photos. We have all of our professional photos done with him, and I doubt we'll ever go back to a regular photo studio. Sorry Lance, you're stuck with us now.

Well, he just sent me the FTP to download the latest set of photos, and while there's not a bad one among the bunch, I saw this one and thought my little girl had truly been transformed into a princess.

I'm constantly amazed that I'm so lucky to have the family that I do, and then something like this comes along and I'm just blindsided with pride, joy, and wonder at what I did to deserve this.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Oh Those Crazy Sleepless Nights

I've gotten to that scatterbrained state of mind that comes from a lack of sleep and too much to do. The one-on-one coverage with the kids has us both feeling drained. In fact, Brandi's been snoozing on the couch for almost an hour now while Ava's down for her evening nap.

Ava is sleeping through the night, and has been for a while now, but she is a night owl, much like her older brother was at that age. Most nights, she's up from 11:30 to 1:30 and sometimes later. When she's up during that time, she tends to be pretty specific about what she wants. She does not want to be rocked and held on the horizontal. Playing under her jungle gym thing is fine for short stretches but she prefers being upright. Sometimes I zonk out when Ava's getting her final feeding of the night, but most nights we're both up together.

Then over the past few weeks, Logan has been getting up in the middle of the night. He'll call out for us and is usually pretty upset. Since our room is right next to his room, and the walls are unfortunately thin, we can't just let him cry it out, especially when he decides to pound on the walls or come into our room. So then I end up in his room, trying to get him back to sleep. I don't want to end up sleeping in his bed, but I'm so tired that I will fall asleep sitting up if I sit there long enough. Logan has also developed spider sense when it comes to Brandi or me sneaking out of his room. He could be completely asleep for 20 minutes, but as soon as I set foot out of his room, he rolls over, realizes I'm not there, and starts crying.

I have a few theories as to why he's getting up in the middle of the night. We're still having...uh...poop issues. As one of the few things he can control in his life, the boy has decided that he does not want to poop under any circumstance and holds it in. It could be that at night, when he's deep asleep, he doesn't have the complete control over it any longer and he starts to cramp up or feels some other kind of pain.

Then there's the jealousy angle. As far as he knows, Ava gets to stay up later than him. For all he knows the three of us are down here living it up, watching Curious George and eating fruit snacks until we're ready to burst. Some nights it seems like he's trained himself to listen for the sound of us coming upstairs and that's his cue to wake up.

Then there are some nights when he seems like he's genuinely frightened of something. Maybe he has developed a fear of the dark, or maybe he's having nightmares.

The only nights that he doesn't seem to wake up in the middle of the night are the ones when he's going to bed late and is completely exhausted.

When I sleep in his room, I am able to fall asleep, but his bed is uncomfortable for me and some mornings I ake up with a lot of aches and pains. Most mornings, I wake up an am able to sneak back into our bedroom, only to see that I have no more than an hour before my alarm clock goes off.

I think this song about summs it up.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Heaven on a Bun

Holy sweet tap dancing Jesus on a pogo stick! Yesterday we got lunch at Paradise Pup, a local hamburger hot spot. We've driven by there many times around the lunch hour only to see lines of people trailing out of and around this little 800-square-foot building. We'd also heard tell of how legendary the burgers are, and how far people in the area will drive to get them.

And then there's their feature on
Food Network's Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives:

So we got the '1/3 Char Cheddar Burger.' And holy moley is that the best burger I ever ate. It's a 1/3 pound hamburger, char grilled with Merks cheddar cheese. We got them with everything, which included ketchup, mayo, thick sliced pickels, tomato (which I took off, tomatoes are gross!), and grilled onions. The burgers were so juicy and full of goodness that the meat juice was dripping out of the foil-lined wrapper they put them in.

Brandi's dad got a hot dog that looked equally good. As soon as I was done I wanted to go back and get some more, but I restrained myself.

It pains me to think that we have been living approximately 8 blocks from this place for two years and we haven't gotten over there until yesterday. We'll definately be going back, and if you're ever in Chicago, I would recommend taking a trip out to Des Plaines to sample the deliciousness that is Paradise Pup.

Excuse me, but I have to go get a towel for all the drool.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Oww, My Head

Brandi and I decided to go out to a nice dinner tonight to celebrate our 11-year anniversary of being together. We had gotten a slew of restaurant gift cards for Christmas, including a very generous $75 gift card from my staff for any of the Lettuce Entertain You restaurants. We decided to go to the Wildfire restaurant in Schaumburg. We've been there before and the food is really good. Brandi's aunt had offered to watch the kids for us, and we stopped at her house first to drop off the kids and the supplies.

Well I had gotten Logan out of the car and was heading around to the back of it to get the stuff out when I stepped over a snow bank and right onto a patch of ice. I hit the ground like a sack of potatoes, or more accurately, it'd probably be closer to 5 sacks of potatoes. I fell on my left side and tried to catch myself with my right hand. Brandi's initial reaction, as it usually is when I get hurt, is to laugh and then ask me if I'm ok.

I was fortunate in that I didn't hit my head or break anything. I was worried that my new ipod or my glasses would have ended up broken. I was feeling ok, but as the night wore on, the soreness started to sink in. Apparently, I pulled something in my right arm in the act of catching myself, some of my molars feel like they were hit, my chest is a little sore and I think I pinched the nerve in the left side of my neck again.

Of course, I thought that I looked like this as I was falling on my ass in the ice.

But from Brandi's point of view, I didn't have quite so much grace. I think mabye I should have just stayed down on the ice.