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kkatowll's Journal

26th August, 2016. 4:42 pm.

KB loved the Washington County Fair. She loved seeing all the animals and kept saying she wanted to pet them - and then we would get close and she would realize how big the animal was and she would say, "All done. Mommy pet."

She got very brave with a cow that was laying down, and climbed over the hay to pet it. But she sort of tripped and that made the cow move a little and she began to cry hysterically.

So scary, cows.

Later she begged to see cows again so we went back. This happened at least three times. She could not bring herself to actually pet them ever though.

The bunnies were a big hit and she did pet them. She loved them. She also petted the black sheep (she was delighted and sang the "ba ba black sheep" song to it several times in a row). And she really liked looking at the goats, horses, oxen, cows...

She LOVED the ducklings in their little bath with the water slide. She desperately wanted to pet them and the chicks and chickens. (No petting in poultry booth, poultry bite little fingers.)

She took a nap in the stroller without any fight, and slept through a huge rain storm. Afterward she played in puddles and got soaked. She loved it.

I was working the whole day, but as work consisted of walking around interviewing people at the fair, I took Sandy and KB along. :)

Amusing conversation transcribed by Sandy today, which I love because it shows how much she understands now:

KB: Gaga sleeping
Sandy: Maybe
KB: Mama sleeping
No mama driving
KB: Mama sleeping
No mama driving
KB: Mama sleeping!
Ok we can pretend mama sleeping
KB: Sleeping time! Get wumma.
Get wumma huh?
KB: In bag. Get wumma.

(After this, a discussion about what they were doing before sleeping time)
KB: Going store. Fix glasses!
What are we doing after fix glasses?
KB: Uh uh uh uh I don't remember. Going bank.
That's right we're going to the bank first
KB: Bank first. Yeah.

One more day til vacation!!!

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12th August, 2016. 3:22 pm.

I was thinking about my Girl Scouts when Simone, a black swimmer, won gold last night.

During one of the dream chart exercises, something like 9 or 10 years ago, they said a dream would be learning to swim. I was like, we could do that!

No, Damara said, black people don't swim.

After all - their parents didn't swim, no one they knew could swim, and there were no pools in their neighborhood at which they could learn to swim.

So I drove them to Guilderland and the YMCA let them swim for free for months til they all learned how.

And then we moved on to other things and pretty much never thought about it again, except that I didn't worry quite as much about them drowning on camping trips and at Six Flags.

In fact I haven't thought about it in years. Then two days ago Damara - who is now in grad school, can you believe it?!?! - posted on Facebook pictures of cliff jumping with her friends.

Because she can swim.

I AM SO FUCKING PROUD.

And then to see Simone try, hesitantly, to talk about that without out-and-out saying "black people don't swim" - a loaded concept about pools being for whites only for far too long and slaves not being allowed to learn to swim because they could escape more easily, and other historical facts that people find it convenient to forget.

So she hesitantly said she had the weight of the black community on her shoulders and she hopes to inspire more kids to swim.

YES.

What I would've given to have someone like her to point to when my scouts said black people don't swim!

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5th August, 2016. 3:28 pm.

Sleeping has not been popular this week. Sad hysterical crying at naptime and bedtime. However, she only cries for a minute and then she sleeps all night, so it's not all bad. Yesterday every time I tried to put her in her crib she acted like she was being dipped in boiling water (screaming, clinging to me) so finally when she requested the "Hannah and Patrix song" I told her she was going to see Hannah and Patrick this weekend.

She choked down her sobs, trying to stop crying, and stared at me.

"Soon? Hannah and Patrix soon?"

"Yes, soon."

After that she forgot to go back to crying!

I'm guessing this weekend is going to be SUPER popular. I'm trying to decide whether to tell her where we're going Saturday night or not. She won't get to play with them until the next morning so maybe it would be better to just say we're going on an adventure. If I tell her we're going to see the amazing cousins, she might refuse to sleep for the whole drive!

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30th July, 2016. 4:24 pm.

What a week! Sandy is currently using my phone as a baby monitor but all is going well at Wayne's Birthday Part 1.

I packed everything in the push-cart so that she could manage KB, KB's stuff and the cake in one trip. Kb had a great time playing this morning (the theme is Wayne Con and everyone is playing games for points, with prizes to be given out tomorrow). She went down for nap in Wayne and Scott's apartment with no problem (hurray!) and Sandy used the app to link my phone and her phone, the one we use at hotels. Works like a charm. If my phone hears a sound, it calls her phone, and Sandy can listen and either hang up and go get the baby. She can even talk to her through it, though we sadly don't seem to have the sort of baby who will soothe from someone's voice. Either she's asleep or she's done sleeping and wants OUT.

She's woken up twice this week after sleeping through the night so nicely lately. :( Whyyyyyy. I was up with her for 90 minutes this morning. Here's hoping she sleeps when we abandon her with her grandparents for DragonCon! Although it's just four days - they can recover - the important thing is WE will sleep! :)

Tonight I'm going to Wayne Con as soon as I get out of work. Tomorrow, we will wrangle her at the birthday party together.

Plans: next weekend I'm taking KB to RI, where we will see the Favoritest Cousins Ever, otherwise known as "Hannah and Patrix." Sandy is staying home to work. The following weekend, we both have Saturday off and we're going to Glimmerglass alllll day while Christie takes care of KB and even puts her to bed for the night. (God I hope that goes well.)

The weekend after that is two more birthday parties, one of which is probably not very toddler-friendly, but whatever. After that is the Renn Faire, and then DRAGONCON!!!

I will miss summer so much when it's over. I look ahead to September and after DragonCon, it's just work, work, work.

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26th July, 2016. 2:28 pm.

Ah, calendars.

Scheduling next year's family reunion. We said we could do it after July 4, because Sandy's convention is always the weekend of July 4.

But July 4 is the middle of the week next year. So naturally, the convention is AFTER July 4.

On the plus side, the reunion is also in Texas, so we have to fly. As Sandy pointed out, it will cost just as much for us to fly separately as together, so I'll fly with KB on Friday and she will join us Sunday night.

This means I will keep a 2-year-old entertained by myself during a 7-hour trip (plus time spent renting a car and then driving the hour from the airport to the reunion).

Best I can do is one layover, but I think that's probably for the best - she could (in theory) run around and burn off some energy between the flights.

Also I get to fly home with her alone, since I think Sandy has to fly in and out of the same airport, so she'll fly from Newark or something, then take the train to Poughkeepsie where we will go get her.

Another 3-hour roundtrip drive with KB.

Ugh, I need to stop thinking about these logistics. I am super psyched about the reunion and very glad that Sandy doesn't want me to miss half of it. It's going to be incredibly expensive but we'll figure it out somehow. (The $1,500 plane tickets are painful, but hey! Not driving for four days total! I think that's almost worth $1,500. In fact if I broke it down by the hour, I think I would find myself willing to pay about halfway through the 21-hour drive each way. And you never know, we might find cheaper flights. I think realistically the best we can hope for is $400pp but maybe there will be a sale.)

Sandy is not enthusiastic about flying alone. She's worried we might have to buy two seats since she would intrude on a stranger's seat (airlines don't mind if you're intruding on the seat of someone who is travelling with you). I told her to take this as motivation to lose enough weight that she could scrunch into one seat.

She has managed to lose 15 pounds recently so she's pretty motivated to keep going. I have lost...two.

Anyway, KB is going to LOVE the reunion. I am slightly worried about keeping her from drowning, but other than that, she is going to love hanging out with her cousins. Seeing how much she loves Hannah - she is going to be over the moon about the reunion! In addition to the other kids, she'll also get to see gramma and papa and Uncle Kelsea and Aunt Brii. (But not their dog. Sadness. I asked her recently, "What do you like about Uncle Kelsea?" And without hesitation she answered, "Doggie." Yeah, poor Kelsea! Feeling the love! On the other hand, if you ask her what she loves about her mommies she will say "milk" for me and "read books" for momma. Ask her who she loves in general and she will say peaches. So there you go. She needs no people, just some dogs, books, milk and peaches. In all seriousness she would happily live on milk, peaches and chicken.)

KB is pretty much done nursing. It's funny - people told me the morning nursing would be the last to go and I discounted that. But she hasn't nursed at night in many weeks, and yet every few mornings she wants to nurse. Today she insisted on nursing for a long time, and then after about two minutes she wanted to nurse again. I told her she would have to wait because she drank all the milk. She insisted on trying. Then she stopped and said, "Wait."

Yup. No more milk right now!

It's amazing to see her talk about things now and really understand things.

This weekend she will be playing with other kids all day on Saturday and Sunday. It will be interesting to see how that goes. Mal came to visit from 10-4 last Sunday and KB tried very hard to get him to play with her. She would bring him toys, call him over to see things, come over to him to play with him, and he pretty much ignored her. He's roughly four months younger. He was totally fine with her existence, but didn't really play with her. Still, KB really enjoyed playing with him. He goes to daycare and never tried to take any toys away from her, which I'm sure he's learned from all the socialization there. Twice KB tried to take something out of his hand, while he hung onto it. Both times I told her not to, but didn't do anything else, and watched as she tried to figure out what else to do. She tried offering him a different toy, but that didn't work. She tried talking to him - didn't work. She tried finding and playing with other toys that did the same thing, which mostly satisfied her. Finally she simply waited until the moment he let go and then she grabbed it. (Then he tried to get it back and they had to work that out.)

She needs a lot more interaction like that - preferably with a kid who will fight back - to learn how to handle these sorts of conflicts. I've found that when we have playdates, which are usually at a playground, the kids tend to not have any conflicts - or even any reason to talk to each other. They all know to take turns, for example, and then they all sort of ignore each other and slide and swing or whatever.

So we need to have more playdates where the kids are all playing in a more enclosed area. But that is not really what people want to do in the summer. Oh well. I'll just offer to babysit Mal a lot more. :) Poor Mal, at one point he was holding a little person in each hand and KB was trying to pull them both out of his hands. When I told her to stop, she sensibly went off and found more of the six million little people we have in the house. I think there's at least one in every single room in this house. Seriously, I saw one in the bathroom yesterday. Somebody had been giving him a pretend bath.

Anyway, they had a great time playing with the water table once KB realized she could drown her own people. I mean, have them go "swimming." They don't float, by the way. Plunk, sink, while KB caroled at them, "swim! swim! whee!"

She also sent them down the ball drop. "whee!" Killing little people left and right. :) Mal plunked them in, lifted them up, poured water on them from a cup, put them in the cup...so much excitement drowning little people.

Sandy is going to hide a few toys today to bring to the events this weekend in hopes that KB will be excited to see them again and happy to play with them with whatever other kids are at Wayne's two-day birthday.

The weekend AFTER next, we are going to see KB's current favorite person in the whole world, Hannah.

When I said that we were going to see Mal on Sunday she said wistfully, "See Hannah?"

She asks me every night too. So yesterday I said, "yes, soon." I am not at all sure she understood what soon was, but she did understand that it was not now, so that's an improvement.

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22nd July, 2016. 11:14 am.

So tired today. Last night we watched the first of the two-episode finale for Flash and SOMETHING STUNNING AND HORRIBLE happened and so I said I didn't want to watch the second episode. So we switched to Arrow, which we are about two seasons behind in, and THE SAME STUNNING AND HORRIBLE thing happened.

OMG this is why I should just read books I have safely read a dozen times before, I know what I'm getting into then!

But actually right now I am rereading Moreta, which I stopped reading because I didn't want to read about death either.

I am surrounded.

So I took my phone on a pokewalk, and it died before I even got to the sidewalk.

It just wasn't my night.

I took Sandy's phone and took her character on a pokewalk while she made blue roses for a wedding cake, and in 40 min I hatched two eggs and leveled her. Only then did I realize I could've signed her out and signed into my account on her phone.

Yeah.

Then of course there was Trump's speech, which went on far too long and I ended up staying up way too late and today I am super tired. So of course I have tons I have to do.

On the plus side, at weigh-in today I had lost two pounds. 23 pounds to go...

And, thinking positively - I have an awesome playdate set up for Sunday, so that will be great. Hopefully we will also see Ghostbusters and Star Trek this weekend. Just two more days! And then the radiology appointment for Alice, which hopefully will be good...and Sandy's appointment to figure out what's wrong with her foot (whatever it is, here's hoping they can fix it before DragonCon!) and ugh this isn't making me look forward to the weekend after all. Let's focus. Playdate and movies. Yes.

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12th July, 2016. 2:45 pm.

Oof what a month it has been! I must admit I am now looking at the next 6 weeks and thinking ahhhh, no vacation for awhile. Oh good.

This weekend is Tisha's house warming, in two more weekends is Wayne's birthday, and the following weekend is our big all-day date to see two operas at Glimmerglass. Then there's the Renn Faire. But, generally speaking, "nothing."

It's been a lightning round of vacation on steroids. I literally picked up KB at the babysitter and drove directly to RI when I got out of work Saturday. Got there just before 10 p.m. Left Monday night after dinner (and after returning to pick up things I'd forgotten, including MY WALLET which luckily Aunt Mary remembered seeing so we were able to find it).

When I said goodbye to Patrick, I said it had been a wonderful two days, and he said, "TWO days? It felt like 20!"

I decided he meant that in a good way. ;)

He also asked repeatedly if we were going to see him again "this summer or even this year." Oops. I'm sorry, kiddo. I used to see him almost every month...but then life got busy...like four years ago. Yeeaaah.

I am campaigning to have them spend a few days up here with us this summer. We haven't quite figured out how to get them, though. And of course their schedules and ours are packed. Sigh.

Last night KB fell asleep in the car about 9 p.m., basically slept through my carrying her upstairs, changing her and putting her in her crib, and stayed asleep until 9:30 a.m. When I went to get her she said she was still sleepy and wanted to stay in her crib (but also see momma, so she agreed to leave the crib). She was industriously working on the zipper of her sleep sack, which of course she wanted me to put back on.

She excitedly told Sandy all about the "pony" or "cow" that she rode and petted. (It was a camel.) She also told her about the gaffies (giraffes) and bears. What else rated a mention? "People! Hannah, Patrick, Hannah. Doggie. Barking. Stairs. Piano!"

I'm guessing one of the two Hannahs is really Anna. The doggie that barks is Aunt Mary's dog, who is a total sweetheart. KB LOVED her.

But mostly she loved the kids, and they were really amazing with her. They played with her and entertained her so well, particularly Hannah, that I was able to take a shower one morning and a (very short) nap one afternoon. KB wanted to do everything they did. Which is why in two days she managed to hurt herself about four times. It's hard work, keeping up with big kids! (And she was fine - nothing major.)

She didn't sleep well AT ALL, though definitely better when she wasn't sharing a room with the ever-fascinating Hannah. She rolled over at 2:30 a.m., saw Hannah sleeping nearby, woke up completely and spent more than an hour lobbying to have Hannah play with her. This included chanting "wake up wake up wake up" and "sleep big bed, BIG BED" and even hysterical screaming at one point. She eventually sort of slept with me, constantly turning and climbing and crawling and then sleeping briefly before doing it all again.

So I learned 20 months is too young for a sleepover. Ah well. She changes so fast, this won't be forever. It will be MUCH more convenient on trips when she can sleep in the same room as other kids. In the meantime I think I will invest in a small hanging-curtain thingie so I can create a little room for her. Because sleeping in the same room as the mommies seems to get the same eager reaction.

So - at various times I got to have really good (separate) conversations with Peter, Anna, Aunt Mary and James, Patrick and I built a salt-water-battery robot that worked briefly, and we went to the zoo.

It was SO COOL to hang out with Anna now that we can have full conversations in English. She remembers me even though I haven't seen her in 4 years and she even remembers the cake Sandy made for her 4 years ago.

Now I am tired but I'm at work til probably 10 p.m. or later so...coffee it is! I didn't manage to get home til midnight, fell asleep about 1 a.m.

Make Notes

4th July, 2016. 2:11 pm.

The convention was good. We made a lot of money. It was a lot of work, but I found out there's a kids' room (door! toys!) that's open at inconvenient hours (like 8-noon) so I didn't get to actually take KB there this year, but that will be helpful next year. Also there's a daycare there with drop-in rates so that could work too. The pool is lanes-only and had no kids playing in it, so it wasn't fabulous, but she did get more comfortable with her little life jacket thingie.

This year we took turns running around with her and I carried her on my back several times while selling cupcakes on the cupcake cart. (She loved that so much that she started calling me Ride. As in, "Who's that? Is that Mommy?" "Ride!") The only problem with carrying her was twice she got sick of it and started hitting me on the head while screaming ALL DONNNNNE while I was trying to sell cupcakes to people. You haven't lived til you've made change in that situation, I'm telling you.

I tried to teach her the types of cupcake, but the best I could get her to say was people! cuppycake! By the end of the con she'd heard the word so often that she'd started saying it correctly. (She said cuppycake because that word is in a song Sandy sings her.)

She had what seemed to be a cold at the beginning of the con, but slept horribly the whole convention and then woke up screaming (and oh do I mean SCREAMING) with a fever the last night. Then she got diarrhia last night after we got home and now she's just sick sick sick. :(

Anyhow she had so much fun at the con...every morning she would climb into her stroller, wearing nothing but a diaper, and try to convince us to "Go! People! Down!" She loves people. And all their cool toys.

It was not so much fun for me...my feet hurt, and I feel like I was pretty much walking for 18 hours a day. This is not exactly true but close. I hate this con because the layout is so awful that we have to use the cart because no one can get to the booth. We might have to switch to this con instead of Total Con next year too and I'm like PLEASE GOD NO I cannot do TWO cons with the cart.

It was fun, sometimes - I got to see the end of a bunch of very cool LARPs with awesome costumes and really good NPCs and fun plots. I got to see all the wargamers and their cool toys.

But mostly it was chase baby, walk cart while carrying baby, force baby to nap, walk cart without baby, go get baby after nap, chase baby, carry baby and walk cart, force baby to go to bed, walk cart, pack up booth, carry huge boxes of cupcakes, sleep.

I would've much preferred a weekend with my cousins at the lake.

But on the plus side, we are closer to buying a car! So that is good. Another convention this weekend - in Lake George which is very convenient - and I don't have to go to this one. Hopefully it will be good - it's a new one. Then maybe we will have more money for a car.

Tomorrow morning at 7:15 a.m. Alice is getting an MRI to make sure that cancer (if it is cancer) has not spread to her brain. I'm working late that day so I can stay home with KB while Sandy takes Alice. On Wednesday, hopefully I will have the day off so I can stay with KB while Sandy takes Alice to pre-admission testing and admission to St. Peters, which they say could take upwards of 3 hours. Then they will slowly take her off coumadin so they can do a biopsy of the possible cancer on Friday. Here's hoping it's nothing. Doc says it could be stage 1 or stage 3, depending on whether the lymph nodes are "lighting up" due to pulminary fibrosis (which she also has) or cancer spreading. If it's stage 3, that's very bad and she has a 15 percent chance of living for 5 years. If it's stage 1, it's very easy to get rid of, doc says. There's still the possibility it will be nothing, as well. Here's hoping. I could REALLY go for a diagnosis of nothing right now.

Also on Friday Sandy will be baking. Then she'll be at the Lake George con on Sat and Sun. (Earning money for the car!) Hopefully I will go visit my cousins on Sun-Mon (my cousin is helpfully not telling me where he will be, when, or if he's available...), and hopefully everything with Alice will be fine, and we'll find a good car, and KB will be well, and all the problems in our lives will be resolved.

Today I am tired, but KB went to bed without any fight last night, and only got woken up when WW III happened outside. I got her back to sleep as soon as the idiot firebirds stopped playing with their firesticks and then she slept til 3 a.m., demanded milk, and was back asleep within minutes and didn't wake up til 9:30. Ahhh. It sounds like a lot of wakeups but compared to the last threee days when she woke up 6+ times a night (I am so serious) and required hours to get her to sleep, it was a great improvement.

Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.

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17th June, 2016. 1:41 pm.

So tired. So that we can go see Peter & Anna (and everyone else) next weekend, we need to have everything done for the convention by next Thursday. Last night Sandy got half the cake balls done (stage 2 of the cake balls - in which the cake-frosting mix is rolled into balls) and I got a third of the chocolates done (half the cupcakes have chocolate toppers - Darth Vader, Serenity, Tardis and Dalek were the ones I was doing last night).

That took us about 3 hours.

Two more nights of that and we should be done. On Monday Sandy will spend the day decorating the cake balls (half are BB-8 and half are beholders).

It's more work than normal because not only does she have the big convention coming up, but the weekend after it is ANOTHER big convention. So I am making even more chocolates than normal. Last night I made almost 100 Darth Vader helmets, about 50 Tardis, 30 Dalek, and 30 Serenity because that damn Firefly-class ship is really hard to shape in chocolate. The wings always break off -- or the engines -- and we have to glue them back on with melted chocolate.

But despite that, tonight we are going to see Finding Dori. God I hope it is better than The Lobster, which I picked for our anniversary. It was...well, horribly violent in strange and unpredictable ways. We recovered by re-watching Star Wars 7 after KB went to bed that night.

Maybe I should just watch Pixar and Disney movies from now on.

Tomorrow night Sandy is making a special dinner for Mommy's Day, and then Sunday we're going to Six Flags for Mommy's Day, formerly known as Father's Day.

Then on Monday I should be able to finish almost all of the chocolates between KB's nap and after she goes to bed. And I'll still have Tuesday and Wednesday nights if necessary! (Which might be necessary, to fight with the molds for Chuthulu - his wings keep breaking off.)

It's amazing how much faster things have gotten. The crazy whirlwind plan for next weekend: go to Old Songs on Friday, camping Friday and Saturday nights, then drive to NH to spend Sunday and Monday with the family, then drive home Monday night. On Tuesday I go to work and Sandy gets things ready for the huge baking plan Wednesday. Everything needs to be perfect because, of course, on Wednesday she must also take her mom to the surgeon to discuss surgery for the probably-cancerous tumor in her lung. Which is estimated to only take an hour (plus an hour of driving time) but still, at best that's 2 hours of what is usually a very long baking day anyway. And who knows whether Sandy will be able to focus afterward. But she didn't want to move the date.

With the new wall ovens baking has become MUCH faster so - in theory - she could finish the baking in 6 hours. Which would be amazing. But assumes that everything goes perfectly and she does not, for example, have to make more frosting after underestimating how much she needs, or having to remake a batch of batter for some reason...and of course KB slows things down too.

Anyhow, I work next Tuesday and Wednesday and then vroom! Off to Dex Con for 5 days.

So I am tired but happy. Lots of great things coming up!

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25th May, 2016. 11:52 am.

KB has slept through the night the last few nights. No idea why. Babies are a mystery.

Weaning isn't going well. We were nearly done with morning nursing but now every morning it's neees! neees! (nurse, nurse)

Then she'll nurse for like a second and want to go play, but if I dare to go back to getting ready for work, it's neees! NEEEEEEEES!

Sandy says that when KB wakes up and I'm already gone, she shows KB that I'm not in the bed and not downstairs and KB calmly goes about her day.

Argh. Maybe I should be appreciative. It's nice to be loved, right?

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