Friday, November 30, 2007

Job Observations

1. Should you be concerned if a younger, most probably better looking gentleman from China is sent to watch and learn about what you do in a given day?

2. Should you be concerned if you were the youngest person in the company when you hired in 13 years ago, and now, 13 years later, you're still the youngest person at that same company?

3. Should you be concerned if the clip used for demonstration purposes on the TV you've been working on is the crash scene from We Are Marshall? Does that seem right?

4. Should you be concerned if your desk phone keeps getting turned off, and your badge to enter the building works "most of the time?"

I'm still feeling grouchy.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

FFFF=Hair

If there's one thing I had to learn about from day 1, it's how to take care of baby Grant's hair. African American hair is very different, and I must admit that I think my son has the cutest head of hair ever. People ask when we plan on cutting it, and I could burst into tears at the thought. And, it's partly because he has had so much from the beginning. For other adorable children with supa' fly hair, check out Loving Lydia.

Here's Grant's first day out of the womb hairdo... it was sooooooooooooo soft and sooooooooooo strait:

Here's Grant in mid April: His hair is getting more and more curly,but it was not kinky curly... almost wavy.


Here's Grant in late June with his wicked bald spot. It's growing in nicely, now.


Here's Grant in the tub; it's a little blurry, but you can kind of get an idea of how long and springy his hair really is:


Here is Grant in the last few weeks. Blow up the pic and check out how tight his curls are. They are little springs. His hair is well over 6" now; it's sooo cute to see hundreds of little, tightly wound curls on top of his head.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

... the goose is getting fat



I love Christmas! And, I love that we'll be celebrating Christmas this year as a family of three. So, the tree is up and decorated. Stockings are hung. Christmas lights festoon the entire front of our home. The holiday is in full swing.

I've been toiling away on Christmas cards, and I've been having photo shoot after photo shoot trying to get the essence of baby Grant in a picture. No such luck. Here are a few leftover shots...

Grant's Supa' Fly Pose. He's chillin'.


Let's review: I want 4 gifts wrapped in sparkle paper. Got it?


Looks too cute to pass up until you realize that Grant is chewing on a foamy earplug (used at really loud concerts by wifey, Erin). Ewww! Blow it up, you'll see. Finger swipe through mouth #78.



Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Baby Fun and Life Saving Measures

Here is baby Grant being his adorable self. You'll notice a small scuffle half way through the video when I try to pry his mouth open for one of the many finger swipes I do throughout the day. A little inside glimpse into Hawkins family life (complete with the Costco toilet paper purchase in the background... yet to be put away).

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Holiday Grouch

I've been grouchy the past couple of weeks. Not "I'm 'a drive this car into a tree" grouchy, more of a "Who left their shoes on the stairs for me to trip on...again" kind of grouchy. I've been advised by my wife that perhaps writing an analytical blog about the situation, trying to figure out the reason for my grumpiness, might relieve some of the tension, so here goes.

1. Perhaps I'm still bummed about the passing of my grandfather. Thanksgiving just didn't seem quite right without my granddad attempting to put sunflower seeds and ketchup on his dessert or providing an inappropriately graphic analysis of someone's medical condition over cranberry sauce.

2. The diet. Erin and I are both trying to lose weight at the moment. Who goes on a diet two weeks before Thanksgiving? Are we really that stupid? If I eat another cereal with the words "flax", "fiber" or "digestinal health" on the box, I'm going to lose it. I'd rather be locked up than eat another cereal that tastes like the box it arrived in.

3. Stupid cable. I'm pretty sure my grouchiness started when Erin made me get rid of cable. All I want to do is watch an occasional basketball game, but now I spend my nights watching Jeopardy "as a family" and then retiring with a nice episode of Nova. Last night I watched a bunch of dudes in loin cloths collect ants to eat the termites that were eating their village. This was followed by ANOTHER episode of Antiques Roadshow and an episode of Europe Through the Back Door featuring San Marino. (You're part of Italy! Get over it!) I need a Twinkie and some Comedy Central. Now.

4. Our microwave. The other day I turned on the microwave and it growled angrily at me. I proceeded to take the cover off and poke around (similarly to the way the tribesman poked at the termites on PBS last night). Probably two minutes before electrocuting or radiating myself, I gave up. The noises were coming from a little motor in the top of the microwave. A quick search on the Internet revealed that this little motor costs $150. A new microwave is in the same ballpark, so forget fixing it. So now I'm replacing five year old appliances that have little value in life except to heat my oatmeal and make popcorn. Grr.

5. Last night Erin and I got out of our van and I noticed something shiny in the tire. Nothing shiny should ever be near the tires. There was a nice big nail sticking out of the tire. Now I have to deal with that tomorrow morning. It doesn't matter if there are 2 people or 50, it always takes an hour and a half to get out of the tire store. Always. And the coffee there tastes like it was filtered through someone's underpants.

6. Erin cleaned the toilet last night and it ran continuously afterward. I got the old "I didn't do anything to it" which apparently is a mantra taught to wives the world over prior to marriage. I guess I have to believe her, since it was fixed by a $1.50 seal. My Chinese workmates would chortle and say that's why we should just go in a hole in the ground. Perhaps they're right. Although I suspect my shoes feel differently.

So there you have it. I'm annoyed. I'm anxious. I like everything to be in working order, but it seems life never deals you that hand, so I need to get over it.

Happy Holidays. Blagh.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

So Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving!!! Bret has been in charge of our Thanksgiving posts in the past (he still laughs uncontrolably every time he sees that picture of the dog and the cat), so I thought I would let the newest addition to our family let you know how thankful he is this Thanksgiving.




We are so thanful for you, our family and friends. We are blessed beyond measure.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day...

It started out well. Grant came with me to school today because I only had to teach one class (which was considerably shortened to begin with). It was his Disneyworld. So many things to look at, loads of people oohing and ahhing. Grant was the center of the world. Just how he likes it. But it came at a cost because it meant an altered nap schedule. Not, just how he likes it.

We did okay with some mild crankiness through the afternoon, and somehow, we got through dinner. In his sleep deprived state, Grant bonked his head: his first real self inflicted baby injury. He is now sporting a hefty bump between the eyes, a party foul that occured while trying new sit to crawl techniques.

In the end, I knew Grant would go to bed extra early, so when clock struck 5, it was off to bed. That's when things went downhill in a hurry.

Grant has been a great sleeper lately. I mean GREAT! He's stopped waking up so dang early, which is a huge relief to his mommy, and on the whole, he puts down between 12 and 13 uninterrupted hours every night. No fussing. No crying. Just lots of good sleep.

He's had a bit of a cough lately, not to mention all the teeth coming in, and he's still the power sleeper. He does struggle with the coughing, so at night, we've been giving him some cough medicine that the doctor gave us several months ago.

Tonight, about 10 minutes after putting him down, I heard the cough start. It didn't end. Then, I heard the "that's got product to back it up" cough, and I'd like to say that I rushed in, but I waited for Bret to bound up the stairs so we could survey the damage together. Moral support is necessary in moments like these.

This is what we found:


Sorry for the explicit content, but you just had to see. The poor kid coughed so hard, he threw up all over himself and his sheets... and then, of course, proceeded to roll around it with a sheepish grin.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

National Adoption Month

Today alone, 5,760 children will become orphans. Of those children, only 1 out of every 56 will ever see a home or a family. Every 2.2 seconds, another orphan, one who has never known a home, has never known a family, has never known love from a mother or a father, "ages out" of his or her orphanage and is sent out into the world without a home.

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. I imagine that--for most Americans-- adoption doesn't enter the framework of their plans. Adoption is reserved for those who can't have biological children.

If you know anyone who might even be open to the possibility of adoption (infertile or not), do not hesitate to have them contact us. We'd love to talk with them and answer any questions.

In the end, adoption is a beautiful statement to the world, and it has the power to speak volumes about what true Christianity is about: that God is a lover. And He loves us so much that He was unwilling to let us sit as orphans, without a home, without knowing what unconditional love is like.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Old Movies

I watch a lot of old movies. I thoroughly enjoy reading things like the American Film Institute's Top 100 lists and picking up whatever movies I haven't seen on Netflix. (Erin would tell you that such checklist behavior is a tenet of my OCD, but what does she know.) Consequently, I've seen scads of movies -- everything from Fran├žois Truffaut's French New Wave classics to, somewhat embarrasingly, Hostel.

Erin, on the other hand, has absolutely no desire to watch many old movies. Occasionally she's up for an Audrey Hepburn or Fred Astaire pic, but The Battleship Potemkin? No way.

The other night, after I got the Tivo all setup, I wanted to give the Amazon Unbox service a quick spin. As it turns out, they're currently running a promotion on a handful of classic movies where you can download and watch them for free on your Tivo. So what did I select to watch? The 1922 F.W. Murnau silent classic Nosferatu.

Nosferatu is widely considered one of the greatest horror movies of all time. Max Schreck plays a timelessly scary looking version of Dracula who, for my money, scares the pants off Bela Lagosi's 1931 "I'm a lover not a biter" version of the same character. (Plus it doesn't hurt that Schreck's name translates to "terror" in his native Germany.) So I thoroughly enjoyed my 63 minutes of reading dialog and digging Nosferatu's rat-like fangs.

Erin, on the other hand, could do nothing but make fun of me as I sat in the dark on the couch with my popcorn. What does she know? She made us rent Deliver Us From Eva early in our marriage. Enough said.

In the end, I decided that part of the reason scary movies aren't really scary any more is the selection of actors. Many old movies were genuinely disturbing, and it was partly because the actors portraying the parts were frequently crazy themselves, leaving little reliance on acting ability. With this in mind, perhaps we need to start letting Phil Spector and O.J. do buddy commedies.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Stupid Greedy Big Ten

Here it comes. The big gripe session. The manifesto written in the shack in the woods (or in my case, in the bathroom over breakfast, so to speak). Just be forewarned.

Our little experiment in dropping cable has, thus far, been a success. Our new Tivo box works like a champ, and it's network features, such as sharing photos and music from our home PC, work even better than expected. We don't feel like we've missed any TV, and more importantly, we're getting more done while we're not zoned out watching "Keeping Up With the Kardashians."

So what's the problem, you ask?

Well, in a nutshell, it's basketball.

I knew when we went down this path that I would miss a lot of college basketball games on ESPN. (I gave up on the NBA about the time Reggie Miller exited stage left. I can watch old guys jog aimlessly up and down a court at the local gym.) And I knew there was a big stir being created by the launch of the Big Ten Network based on the college football season. What I guess I didn't realize was just how out of hand this whole thing had gotten.

You see, I have fond memories as a kid of sitting around the fire during Indiana winters watching Indiana University basketball games. (I realize some of you might know that I'm actually a Purdue grad, but I do have a degree from Indiana as well, so I guess my allegiances are split.) Now that the Big Ten has created their own network, all of those basketball games which used to be on free, local stations are now being broadcast on the Big Ten network. And to make matters worse, the vast majority of the state can't even get the Big Ten Network on their cable, leaving satellite companies as their only option.

The Indianapolis Star ran an article on this issue this morning. In the article you'll see that without cable or satellite, I'll be able to watch exactly two of the regular Big Ten season IU games -- Illinois and Ohio State. Now I realize that we as a family have made the choice to ditch cable and satellite. But it still doesn't seem right to me that the hard working, blue collar fans of IU basketball across the state won't be able to watch their favorite team this year without forking over their hard earned cash for a monthly cable or satellite subscription. I can't really imagine that the potential exists that I won't be able to sit and watch IU basketball games with Grant without succumbing to the stupid cable company in the future, and that's pretty sad.

In my mind, this is just another example of greed ruining a good thing in our society. And unfortunately, there are enough basketball fans in the state willing to pay the cost to watch their home team that the cable companies will end up winning this round. What a crock.

Now back to whatever is on PBS or ABC...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dressing up for the brrrrrr...

This week's FFFF challenge from Lissa at Loving Lydia is all about dressing for the weather. I know I just posted a picture of Grant dressed for winter, but come on, there is no such thing as too much of a good thing.



Right now, Grant thinks cold weather is funny, and he opens his mouth and laughs whenever he gets hit with a gust of wind. Silly boy.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Can't Quite Go Right

Grant's crawl is much improved, as he doesn't use his face any longer for leverage. His belly still never leaves the ground, but if you had a buddha belly like my son (and some of you very might well), you'd understand that hefting that jiggly goodness is no small feat. Here's a video of Grant trying to roll over. He's a pro at rolling over in every other direction, but this rightward roll--as you'll see--gives him more of a fit than he'll care to remember.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Irony

We just went all Amish up in here getting rid of our cable and all, and you know what happens the very same day? My husband walks home with ANOTHER huge television. That makes three HDTV monstrosities in our home. He told me he decided for the middle sized version as--get this--he didn't think I'd want another big one and he'll be bringing home a smaller panel from his own project soon. The mid sized version is well over a 40" set, making it in female terms: GIANORMOUS!!!! We're going to have a huge TV in every room before you know it. Bret's dream. My nightmare. I know that most people don't complain about free, state-of-the-art, HDTV television sets, but there are limits. At least in girl world. We'd give them to you if we could, but we can't, so don't bother offering to "ease Erin's stress" by taking one off our hands. If only it were that easy. Ah, the life of a wife married to a TV enginerd.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Lemme 'splain de cable

Ok, so let me tell MY side of the story regarding us disconnecting ourselves from the local cable company teet.

Over the past few weeks, I've been doing a little internal market research regarding what we watch on television here in the Hawkins household. (Since I work in the TV industry, I should be billing these hours, but alas.)

What I noticed is that we watch 90% of our television on the DVR (the Tivo-like hard drive box provided by our cable company, for those of you not television addicted.) Of the shows that we choose to record on the DVR, 90% are from the local broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC). The other 10% are home improvement shows, and that show on TLC about the "little people" (which I can only assume Erin watches because of some sort of weird reverse psychology for tall people).

The second part of my little survey involved an analysis of our monthly cable bill. We spend approximately $80 per month on cable and another $20 per month on Netflix. What bothers me about this is that we spend around $100 per month on TV and movies, and the vast majority of the programming we watch for the price of cable can be received for FREE over the air.

So I started doing a little research on our options. First off, the cable company will not let us keep our DVR box without a full cable subscription, and since we love watching the shows when we want to watch them, getting rid of the DVR is out. So I needed an alternative.

This led me to start looking at Tivo, the original DVR genies. Tivo has a high definition box available for $253 on Amazon, and this box will allow you to download movies from Amazon, which may even lead to us eliminating or greatly reducing our Netflix subscription. The Tivo box also has some other cool bells and whistles, including the ability to move shows off to your home computer where you can burn them to DVD or put them on your iPod. Plus, the Tivo service is now only between $8 and $12 per month, depending on how long a contract you sign.

So the end result is that I'm reducing our $100 per month to at least around $30, and maybe even less depending on how well the Amazon download service works. I'll keep everyone posted on how this little experiment goes. Just know that we're not going totally Amish here. Just a little.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Winter is Coming...


It's getting cold in Indiana. I had to go searching in my piles of garage sale purchases/gifts from grandparents for Grant's winter clothes. The hat was a gift: size 4. What's that mean when my 10 month old is wearing it?

In other news, Bret and I are getting rid of all of our cable (except the cable modem: a girl does have her limits). Makes us lazy. Already this weekend (we still have cable, but I'm practicing), I worked through 7 pages in Grant's scrap/baby book. Fun. Fun. Now, I should be grading, planning lessons, writing the last of my college recommendation letters, but as stated earlier, a girl does have her limits.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Mind Melt

A few days ago, Erin posted about my cunning ability to beat her at Jeopardy these days, and she made the assumption that this was due to her "getting dumber." (One must put such a statement about one's spouse in quotes, as to protect oneself against future liabilities.)

As I've basked in the glory of my Jeopardy wins and my brainful of completely useless music trivia, I've come to realize that she may be on to something. I'm finding that I too am doing many things which are leading me to the conclusion that I'm well past the peak of my cranial powers. Here are a few fleething thoughts:

1. While driving around Indianapolis, a city I've lived in virtually my whole life, I frequently find myself looking up and suddenly thinking, "Hey, I'm driving here. Where the heck am I?" as though I've just been awakened from a long, satisfying nap.

2. When I remove the dryer lint trap, I occasionally say outloud, "Now how does this go back in there?"

3. I repeatedly put Grant's diapers on backwards. This leaves Grant very annoyed and prone to peeing on me when given the opportunity.

4. Someone at work came to me with a piece of computer hardware and an accompanying question, and I had no idea what the part he was holding even was, let alone how to fix it. (For those who know me, this is really horrifying to me. I'm a computer engineer by trade and degree, for crying out loud!)

5. I had some level of difficulty reprogramming our clocks following the switch out of Daylight Savings Time. Some of the problems involved my inability to figure out how to actually reset the clocks. Some of the problems involved me just being able to hold onto the clocks.

6. I hear songs on my iPod that I've owned for over 10 years, and I think, "Gee. That's catchy. I wonder who put that on there."

7. I got dressed for work this morning, and as I left the bedroom with laptop in hand, I realized I'd forgotten to shave. I shave every morning, almost without fail.

8. Some mornings I'm awakened by Grant's cries, and I think "Who the heck is making that racket?"

I'd like to make it known that Erin is continuing to show signs of dimensia as well, although in her case, I think her California upbringing had something to do with her difficulties (I should probably just apologize in advance to our West Coast family). Last night we volunteered to do some painting at the building our church is rehabbing and planning to move into. We were to be there from 6pm-8pm. When we arrived, Erin declared that she was very cold.

I looked down at her feet and she was wearing a pair of flip flops. Not the nice leather kind, or a full pair of sandals even, just good old rubber, beach flip flops.

Now keep in mind that a) this is an active construction site covered with sharp objects with a keen eye for the sole of one's feet and b) it was about 40 degrees here in Central Indiana at 6pm last night. Such a mistake in judgment can only be attributed to a California upbringing or the slow loss of one's mind.

I thought of a lot more things for this post on the way to work this morning, but I've since forgotten them. Perhaps when I remember my ideas, I'll be able to race back to my desk and do a second post about this...if I'm quick.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Audiophile

My husband told me about the Rolling Stone Almost-Impossible Rock and Roll Music quiz. I actually knew two of the answers. The other answers: complete and utter guesses... not even the educated kind. I was pretty proud of my score of 26.

Bret scored well over 75. Music icon. How about you?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Congrats Long Family

Congratulations to Eric and Emily on the second addition to their family: Ashwin Long. Mom and baby are doing well, and we're excited there's another boy in the friend clan: wrestling matches to look forward to in the years to come!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Ho Ho Ho--Walmart in November

Yesterday, Grant and I made a sweep through Walmart to pick up some necessities. His new favorite area of Walmart is the Christmas area. He loves the big, inflatable, tacky lawn ornaments and snow globes that line the Walmart Christmas section. It's a cornicopia, a veritable pantheon, of visual delight.

We went down an aisle yesterday that had a plethora of singing stuffed animalsantathingys. They sang and rocked and jiggled their hips to Christmas music. Grant was interested (but not excited) at watching them on the shelf, but he was none too happy when I brought one into the cart.

I'd like to think that Grant's displeasure (as seen in the video--you have to watch until the end) is a sign that he thinks that we have overdone the whole singin' Santa thing in this country

In other (semi-related) news, Grant did just learn how to sign "thank you," so he should be ready to accept the mounds of gifts he's expecting this Christmas from his grandparents.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Stupid Boston

After our visit to Boston a couple of weeks ago, I developed a bit of an affinity for the Red Sox. It was endearing to see a city so enchanted by a sports franchise, and I even ended up watching at least a portion of each game of the World Series as part of my new found fandom.

But all that changed last night, and now I'm back to my stance that all teams from Boston, well, suck.

Yep, our beloved Colts were unable to hold off a 4th quarter surge from the Patriots and ended up losing their first game of the season. There are any number of things that are irritating about this.

First off, there's Tom Brady. Brady has become a surprisingly effective NFL quarterback, but he's still a bum. Sure, Peyton Manning does tons of commercials (actually, I think one could say he's in "most commercials"), but they all have that goofy, "Yeah, I'm a great athlete and I make enough money to build lawn sculptures out of hundred dollar bills, but I'm still just a goofy, down home guy." Brady's ads are always kind of smug and somehow remind the viewer that he's better looking than you and will be heading home with a supermodel at the end of the day.

Secondly, there's the whole deal with the Patriots video taping defensive signals during their games. I've read all the stuff these past couple of weeks about how teams try to steal each other's signals, but actually video taping? It's cheating. The Patriots cheat. Period.

And finally, New England? Did they really need to rename themselves from the Boston Patriots to the New England Patriots? How did that happen? Does the 30 miles from Foxborough to Boston really matter? Does anyone in Vermont or New Hampshire really give a crap about football?

Despite the final outcome, the game was fun to watch. We had Erin's parents over for chili. I love my wife, and she is an amazing hostess, but she does have a few lessons to learn about sports food etiquette. Before the game, she laid out a spread of carrots and dip and some little toasted bread slices with not-American cheese and some of those little dried up tomatoes on top. I told her that corn chips and a large vat of cheese-in-a-can would do the trick, but she insisted on her version of "sports food."

In the end, she rescued the whole event by providing beer and chili during the game. I used this food combination later that night to make her pay for the misguided pre-game foods. I'll say no more.

Friday, November 02, 2007

on the move: part ii

Here's a video from Wednesday (pre costume) of Grant "crawling." His grandma thinks it looks "pathetic." Poor boy! . You get some casual family conversation in the background, but you'll get the idea.

video