Saturday, September 29, 2007

We've Got Spirit, Yes We Do!

This week was homecoming week at school, and to be honest, homecoming week is a really fun week to be a teacher. Not only do I find a way to incorporate jeans (or better... running tights) into my daily costume, but it's fun to watch the kids go crazy dressing up, decorating, and having pep rallies. Granted, I am like one of two teachers who does dress up, so I guess that makes me that "crazy teacher," which is what I am going for anyway.

Homecoming was a very serious time "when I was growing up." My students start moaning when I start a sentence with "when I was growing up" because they know I'm going to launch into a "walk three miles in the rain" speech about how we did things back on the prairie.

Truth be told, though, homecoming was one thing we did right. We had HUGE floats (they had to be hauled by semi-trucks), we had parades, daily noon time rallies on the quad (my students... or all high schoolers from a place that actually experiences winter... don't even know what a quad is). And granted, my students do dress up and decorate a hallway (don't ask about the hallways), and I must admit that as the junior class moderator, I'm glad that I don't have to plan a big, big week, but sometimes, I do think they're missing out.

So, what was this week's attire: Monday, I pulled out a crazy outfit complete with my wedding veil for "what the heck are you wearing" day. I sported a farmer look on Tuesday for Hick Day (yes, I understand the irony of hick day in Indiana). Wednesday was class color day, which for faculty was denim. Thursday was class theme day, and the junior class (the one I'm in charge of this year) picked Spiderman (they had to pick a movie trilogy). Friday was school color day (maroon and gold), and I sported some supa' fly running tights and athletic shorts for that one.

I love homecoming. Even as a 32 year old adult. It makes me giddy to work in a high school.

Here's Grant sporting some school pride for his mama.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Need a hand?

This morning on the interstate I passed a truck full of ladders, saws, and other things with which I could no doubt injure myself in far less time than it takes to type this. As I passed, I noticed that the name of the business on the side of the truck was "Handyman's."


Handyman's...what? Handyman' Handyman's...grease gun? Handyman's...truck full of Hardee's wrappers?

Did you mean, "Handymen?" This still seems like a weird business name, but it beats "Handyman's."

"Handyman's" has bothered me all morning. I can't shake it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Old Man Spot: IN PICTURES!

There have been some verbal and written requests to see the OLD MAN SPOT (really, one of many) growing on Bret's face. So, without further ado:

Aunt Barb: is it time to get a biopsy?

Monday, September 24, 2007


I have discovered a fundamental flaw in blogging over the past couple of years, and in the past week, it has greatly impeded my ability to provide you, the reader, a quality product.

Let me give some examples. This past week I was having lunch with some co-workers, and one of them said some truly outrageous things. I mean, in my head I was thinking, "This will make the funniest blog in the history of mankind." And the material just kept coming. The longer the guy talked, the longer the blog in my head got. And it was some truly, truly stellar stuff.

So what was the guy saying, you ask?

Well that's just it. I could post it, but then I'd have to go into hiding. Not only is this particular individual computer savy, but he also can be a little, shall we say, unpredictable. And as sure as I post it, as I go to exit my vehicle in my garage some dark and lonely evening, there he'll be. Waiting. With a hook.

This is the fundamental flaw in blogging. There are just some things you can't post, since it will assuredly leave you with no friends and potentially no family.

Family is a whole other issue. The wifey and I have an unspoken agreement that we're willing to post about each other, as long as it's nothing too embarrasing (or at all weight related. At which point the agreement goes from being unspoken to spoken only in four letter words.) On the other hand, a lot of people in our family say and do some pretty funny stuff. But I have one uncle already trying to cut me out of Christmas. I don't need more.

So I've spent some time trying to think of potential solutions. One is to create my own blog somewhere else with no identifying information. This prevents me from forgetting all of these delightful occurrences, but affords me the protection I need from co-worker and mother-in-law. For all you know, perhaps that blog already exists. Somewhere. I've been unsuccessful at coming up with other solutions, so I'm open to ideas.

In the mean time, I'm forced to sit here and marvel at what this dude said at lunch last week. I wish I could tell you. I really do. But I can't.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sickness and Swings: A Quick Update

Bret was sick for SEVERAL weeks, and then Grant got it, I got it, and it's been "snot" so much fun here for weeks. Bret and I have been in separate bedrooms because of all the night time hacking, and Grant has had that baby nose plunger thingy up his nose more than he'd ever like to admit. We are thankful to be over the hump (actually, I swear I'm getting worse), but I'll be the first to admit that the full on family sickness trial wasn't a fun one.

Last week, I had severe guilt over the fact that Grant hadn't seen actual daylight in days (thanks to being sick). So, the other day, we headed up to the park in our subdivision for Grant's first experience with a real swing. He giggled and laughed and loved it. In classic Grant picture form, he took two very different pictures back to back: the "stoned/stunned" picture and the "happy as a clam" picture.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Old Man Spot

A few months ago, one of my esteemed Indian (Asian, not Sioux) engineering colleagues approached me in front of several other colleagues and inquired, "Hawkins, what eez dat ting growing on your face?"

My observant, tactful friend was taking note of the age spot, for lack of a better term, that I have on the left side of my face. It's about the size of a dime, but it has become more noticeable in the past couple of years. For reasons unknown, it's starting to resemble a map of China.

My grandfather on my mother's side has a number of these spots. It would appear that I've managed to avoid the dreaded "father on your mother's side" hair loss, only to have instead acquired his "liver spots," as my mom referred to them when I was little. I'll take that trade.

My wife has also taken note of this distinguishing mark; although, she has approached the topic with much more disdain.

"What is that thing?"
"Is it going to go away?"
"Is your whole face going to look like that eventually?"
"You should put a bag over your head."

In an effort to regain my dignity, I've begun using Olay Definity cream, in an effort to improve the Elephant Man-like horror that is, apparently, my complexion. This was started at the suggestion of the wife, and it does appear to be working.

On the "Churchill to Clooney Pretty Man Scale," I think I'm unfortunately somewhere around a Gary Busey with the spot. Hopefully with a few more months of Divinity cream, I'll have moved back up to being at least an Anthony Clark again.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


This week's FFFF challenge (from Lissa at Loving Lydia) is about as easy as it gets: snoozin'. Every mother has pictures of her sleeping baby, and I am no exception. It doesn't hurt that baby Grant loves to sleep. We recently tried to move him down to TWO naps a day, but no go. My 8 month old still takes 3 naps a day (sometimes 2 hours each!) and sleeps 12 hours at night. There were many months there where my sanity was tested because of what seemed like sleepless nights, but we are really blessed with a hearty sleeper. Now, if I could just get him to sleep in!

Grace (the world's longest pregnancy) will probably never sleep a wink. You know how it goes.

I am sorry that these pictures are repeats, but he's so cute that he deserves to be shown off twice!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

One Smart Cookie

Since this blog is as much an "update" tool as it is a "chronicling of life" tool, I thought I'd share two new skills Grant learned this weekend.

Aside from giving kisses and doing the wiggle dance, Grant now drinks out of a straw and turns the pages to board books himself.

And just a few minutes ago, I was holding Grant on my lap (he was craning his neck to look back at the Colts game on TV) when he gave me a kiss. Looking back to the TV, I said, "How about another one?" At which he turned back around and obliged.

Smart kid. His not so smart parents will try to have a camera near by when it happens next.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Catch up

1. This week's FFFF challenge from Lissa at Loving Lydia is Close Ups. And in the Hawkins' household, how many up close and personal shots do we have of the boy wonder? Too many too count. I put together a "quick" slideshow (it could have been 15 minutes long... I swear, I've got a camera in Grant's face every other second). The slides are from current Grant to baby Grant... what a little hunk-a-love. **You can hit "view all images" at the bottom and control the speed.

2. Today is Bret's 32nd birthday. Happy birthday baby! Bret takes GREAT delight in the fact that he is 6 months younger than I am, so I always love when his birthday rolls around because--for at least 6 months--we're the same age. I actually forgot I was 32 the other day (I thought I was still 31), and when I discovered my error, I really felt like I had lost a year of my life. So, loudly and publicly, Bret David is now 32 years old (that's 8 x 4, or 16 x 2, or OLD in any language).

3. While Grant is indeed all boy (as outlined by Bret in the previous post), he also is a heart melter. He has officially (he's been working on it for some time) started giving kisses. When asked (and presented with a large set of adult puckered lips), he opens his mouth (there's no pucker involved yet) and places his lips, ever so gently, on the lips of the asker. Problem is: I keep asking. After one kiss, why not two? three? four? He tires of the game quickly. The really "melt my heart moment" happened yesterday when I was playing with him. He stopped, opened up his mouth and waited for me to kiss him... I wasn't even asking for a kiss. To die for cute! I gave him my credit card at that point and just surrendered to the fact that I'm a TOTAL goner!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

All Boy

A few days ago, Erin asked me "You think everyone still likes Grant now that he's all boy, right?"

This may seem like a strange question to ask, but Grant has gone through a pretty amazing personality, shall we say, development over the past few weeks. He went from our sweet, smiling little baby to a little dude.

Grant now communicates with us, still smiling always, with a series of caveman grunts accompanied by much puffing of the chest and clinched fists. He looks at you and puts his fists in front of his waist and with all of his might, grunts at you. I love it. I now have someone in the house to grunt with. And even better is that as long as you're willing to grunt and make his arm motions, he'll stand and do it back to you.

His other move which many have witnessed is that he has a little happy dance that he does. You can simulate it by alternately raising each of your shoulders and simultaneously swiviling your hips. It's sort of a little snake charmer move. In the last couple of days, if I do this dance (and let me say, I look ravishing while doing it), he will answer with his own version. Combine this with the grunting, chest puffing, and our almost equal gas production, and Grant and I are forming a father/son bond beyond rival. I'll try to get a video up of this as soon as possible...

Erin's only comment is that "At least Grant will grow out of it." Sure he will, hon.

Monday, September 10, 2007

I hope this guy doesn't charge much

Regarding the fact that people just paid top dollar for new iPhones when a $200 price break came just days later, CNN had the following quote:

"If they told me at the outset the iPhone would be $200 cheaper the next day, I would have thought about it for a second -- and still bought it," said Andrew Brin, a 47-year-old addiction therapist in Los Angeles.

That's a bit like having a one-eyed optometrist or an AA sponsor who works for Budweiser, isn't it?

In other random thoughts, Erin and I were responsible for helping out in the toddler's room at church Sunday morning. Toddlers are an interesting age to me. They walk around on two feet, eat pretty much normal food, and seem as though they should be able to carry on a normal conversation. But then you sit down with them and they try to pull your eyelid over your forehead or pee on you. They're like little aliens.

In previous toddler room experiences, I've been less than effective. I'll wander around and eventually sit down to play with a group of them, and usually after a few minutes, they've overcome me and are hitting me with toy hammers. I don't know if they're old enough to understand, "One more hammer and somebody's taking a punch" or if I should say, "No, no. That's not what we do with hammers. Those are for furniture."

This time around was much more successful, and I can attribute it fully to having Grant (who despite being eight months old is large enough to seem like a toddler.) I have a much better understanding of these small humans after just a few months of absorbing Grant-drool, and I was actually pretty effective this morning at playing with, feeding, and avoiding being abused by the kids.

On the way home, I told Erin that I still feel like I'm urine soaked after having twenty different diapered kids sit on my lap, and she just smiled that half smile which says, "Oh good. Then you're still crazy."

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Come to daddy...

You may have heard the big announcement in the past week. It's an exciting time in the life of any family, but especially in ours. We've endured so much over the past few years, and this is just another example of the best things coming to those who wait. Erin can hardly contain her excitement, so I thought I'd better announce it.

That's right. There's a new iPod.

Now I'm guessing that you might have thought I was talking about the new iPod with the snappy iPhone interface. But this doesn't interest me in the least. What I want is the new iPod Classic with a whopping 160 GB of space. My current iPod, which I dearly love, holds 60 GB, but I have 90 GB of music in my collection. Plus I'd love to have ALL of my music plus a pile of movies for my plane rides to China. This new bad boy can hold 40,000 songs or 200 hours of video. That should cover it.

Normally I would have expected much wailing and gnashing of teeth from Erin when I presented my "plan to purchase within 6 hours" to her. But she was aware that she would be the recipient of my current iPod, which thrills her no end. Finally a place to hold every musical soundtrack and Backstreet Boys CD ever released. (The harddrive may crash itself on purpose when she starts loading that stuff.)

So we raced to the local Apple store yesterday to plunk out the cash for a new iPod, and I got rejected like a Trekkie on prom night. Apparently the 160 GB models are due in later this week. I'm probably going to have to make a quick run (?!?) to China in the next couple of weeks, so hopefully they'll have them before I leave.

40,000 songs. 200 hours of video. Every Beach Boys and R.E.M. track ever laid to tape PLUS every episode of the Twilight Zone. Does life get any better?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Engineer Sweat

Today I walked by our central conference rooms at work, and as I passed by, I saw something which seemed a little bit off. There were engineers on little mats all around the room. All of them appeared to be in some sort of pain, except for the lone, cute female at the front of the room. She was leading them in some sort of activity which involved them lying on their backs, holding their ankles directly above their heads and squirming like stuck turtles.

I later inquired as to what sort of torture was being inflicted on the men in this room, and I was informed that it was a combination of yoga and pilates.

I can think of nothing less suited to male engineers than yoga or pilates. This was taking place in a building where the bear claws and cinnamon buns for $1.50 run out in the vending machine by 10:30am, yet you can get a Nature's Choice product of any variety at any time of day. These are guys who have a blood sugar level which reads "Mountain Dew Code Red."

Incidentally, there was a dinky old boom box in the corner of the room providing the musical accompaniment, Madonna's "Like A Virgin." A room full of aging engineers willing to lay on their backs struggling to hoist their feet over their heads while donning their holey "1980 Pink Floyd World Tour" T-shirts? "Like?" Based on the smell eminating from the room, I'm relatively sure that the instructor wasn't looking for any dates after class.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Closet Cleaning

Well, it's that time again: the Grant clothes shuffle. Last time I went through his clothes to pack up the ones that were too small, we ended up with this photo shoot:

And this experience wasn't much better for Grant as I pulled and tucked to see what clothes fit and what clothes didn't. He's officially in a size 12 months, but there are plenty of size 18 months that also fit. He has an entire size 18 month wardrobe for winter, so I think we're set well into next spring. So grandparents: he doesn't need any more clothes for Christmas or his birthday!

Here, he is both happy and concerned (mystified?, speechless?, startled?) about dress up time. He cracks me up!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Long, Lazy Weekend

The weekend started off with the bang when family flew in from California to celebrate. Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Richard came in on Friday, and Grant has been spoiled silly ever since. Saturday evening we left Grant with his Aunt Rachel and Uncle Troy as the rest of the family headed out to Connor Prairie for the last installment of the season of Symphony on the Prairie. The weather was fabulous, and we ate like pigs as the sun set. Ah, life in Indiana.

Sunday provided for a lazy day as Grant had a cold and couldn't go to church with the rest of the kiddies. We did venture into downtown for dinner and chocolate fondue. More yummy!

Grant did master a new trick this weekend: standing up in his crib. He's too much. He is sooooooooo proud of himself; he actually puffs up his chest!

In the end, if you add in a cookout, some shopping, and one hot weekend, you've got the summary of our weekend. My aunt and uncle will be around next weekend too, so we're extra excited to have them here for such a long stay.

Here is Grant with his Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Richard. Don't ask about the bear.

Here's Grant standing. So proud.

And just in case you think I posed that last picture, here's moving proof:

"No" means "No"... or does it?

So, I have a book--from the American Society of Pediatrics--and it says that by the end of his seventh month (that's in 11 days), Grant should start to understand the word "no." I know that Grant understands lots of words. He understands and uses his favorite word: da da. And he knows how to wave goodbye and hello (never on command mind you...), and he understands the word "up" as he lifts his arms into the air to be picked up.

But the word "no"? I think not.

I think he thinks the word "no" means "try again several times" or it's code for "make Mommy crazy time." I can say it with a serious voice. I can pull his hand away from the object. I can say it 15 times. None of that matters. Grant keeps trying and trying and trying. To eat a leaf. To pull my hair. To grab the remote.

Sometimes, I think he knows exactly what it means, and he's just smarter than me. Other times, when he looks up at me with those big, brown eyes, I think he's just not quite there yet.

He does have quite a will which has started to rear its head. If you take away a toy, a bottle in use, a food item, he starts to grunt, to moan, and to whine. I don't like kids who whine, so we'll have to get that squared away as soon as he learns the word "no." My friend informed me that her seven-year-old son still doesn't understand the word "no," so I've decided that in the next month English teacher mama is going to bring out the flash cards.

Here's a picture of the drool king. The nursery workers at church said something again about his oral fixation with all toys, so I'm going to send him with spray toy cleaner next week (not kidding).