Take THAT, Resumé!

This is just an aside---a momentary break from constantly posting pictures of Gulliver potentially getting in trouble.

So apparently when I was in Chicago, Dr. Rice was in Chicago, too. And we didn't even know it. And I'm so mad I could spit. In fact, I could have spat on her, since she was touring around on an evening architectural boat tour, while I was wandering around the city, crossing the bridges, and spitting on the boat tours below.

But enough about that. Dr. Rice teaches at Georgetown University. So I was mentioning to her that we will probably be teaching our classes in DC in the fall and I needed to start looking in to getting a few hotel conference rooms. At which point she said that she could get us free rooms at Georgetown.

So question: Does that mean that afterward, I can add "Taught classes at Georgetown University" to my resume?

The Living Room Playground

So the living room is one place that I've at least tried to baby proof. Now that Gulliver is an expert roller, beginning army crawler, sitter upper, and own-toe tickler, I'm seeing my problem areas.

1) The shoe rack. It's a veritable buffet of horrible things for Gulliver to put in his mouth.

2) The Nintendo Wii. It calls out to him.

3) The drawer above the Nintendo Wii. He just figured out that it opens!

4) All the drawers in our card catalog.

5) Any electrical cords. They're his favorite.

6) Any other thing I happen to leave out on the floor.

7) The uncarpeted areas. I've never been a good sweeper, but now if I don't keep on top of it, all that crud ends up on my BABY.

8) Crud. How is it that I put all these entertaining and engaging toys on the floor for him to play with, but he happens to find the one piece of random crud on the carpet?

Oh, Gulliver. How I love you. But I really don't have the time right now to rearrange my ENTIRE MAIN LEVEL.

El Senor sent the following photo with this message: This should fix his wandering nature.

Please Ignore the Electrical Cord

And please don't call child services.

I am asbolutely swamped. Like I'm going to go insane swamped. Like I'd better get a pile of money when this is over to replace all the happy summer memories I could have been creating with my husband and first born swamped.

So today, poor Gulliver has been having a hard time because he's teething. Also, he's learning that when I park myself in front of the computer, that means that my focus is no longer on him, and he starts to cry. Add to that the difficulty of the fact that everything on my list right now has to be done in the unbabyproofable office. So we've been having a tough day. I'm going to be honest with you. I am in my underwear and I have sweet potato baby food ALL OVER MY BODY but I can't stop to shower.

So after lunch (when I got all that stuff all over my body---also, I sat Gulliver on the kitchen counter to feed him... child services?) we came back upstairs and I put Mr. I Refuse To Nap today in his room to play.

By the way, we never childproofed the nursery. Of all the rooms in the house that should be childproof, that's the one. But we made it when he was in utero, so what did we know about childproofing.

When the noises stopped coming from the other room, I went in to inspect and here's what I found.

Dear Gulliver,
I promise you a really nice vacation next month and I promise you I will better organize my time so that we can both slow down a little. And I'm sorry I let you play with the electrical cord.

Dear Swaggers

One thing that blew me away at BlogHer was all the free stuff that you get. I could have gotten a lot more free stuff if I wanted to, but I wasn't really a swag hag. Sometimes, you reach a point where free stuff is just free stuff. Here is a list of most of the free stuff that I got. It is currently organized into piles in my living room, and like a bad mother, I'm letting Gulliver roll around in it.

My favorite bit of swag, of course, was this adorable handmade memory game from OLLIBIRD, a digital art company. I visited the site and subsequently the blog and found out that the husband and wife are the most attractive people on the planet. I endorse this company 110 percent and would encourage you to do so, too.

That was the only thing that fit into the "handmade" category, and I overheard someone else at the conference express glee at receiving something handmade because everything else she received and could bring home to her children was mass-produced.

* Zarbees cough syrup, which kindof makes me want to get a cough so I can try it out. It's all natural, which I like. And I got a whole bunch of it. Yay! Also, I think they're a local Utah company.
* Mini disposable one-use toothbrushes from Colgate. (Now's probably not a good time to admit that I brush my teeth only once a day, so I don't know how likely I am to use these...)
* Organic baby care items from Nature's Baby Organics, which couldn't come sooner as I have discovered Gulliver has ecsema.
* LOTS of makeup from ELF. I don't think that I received any makeup from anyone but them, and they seemed to be all over the conference. I popped in at their party but felt underdressed (couldn't find a cocktail dress to match my cast) so as I was trying to sneak out, the CEO of the company literally ran after me and told me not to leave without getting my swag bag. I received a mini makeup kit that has everything and is one of my favorite gifts from the conference. I also got lots of their nail polish (from three different parties) and makeup brushes.
* Shaving cream by EOS. Which makes shaving my one leg an even more enjoyable experience.
* Lip balm by EOS, which I think I'll keep in my office so I always have some on hand there. Or by my bed? It's mint, which is my favorite lip balm smell.
* Sugar hair removal from Sugar Me Smooth. I am both curious and scared.
* Hot Sauce FHI Heat hair product.
* Cute foot care products from Lego, as an apology for what happens to our feet when we step on them. (We have yet to reach that point in our household.)

* Lots of kitchen sponges, cloths, and scrapers by Scotch Brite. Will definitely be using these.
* A Bounce dryer thing that STAYS in your dryer for four months and replaces the need of using dryer sheets. Murray will be especially pleased because I won't complain that he forgot dryer sheets when I electrocute myself while folding our underwear load.
* Method lavendar all purpose wipes. Who doesn't love Method?

* 2 scarves and a purse from Torrid.
* Flip Flops from ELF
* A purse from BowlHer that contained their swag

* Two pens from two sources. I think it's remarkable to go away from a conference with only two free pens.
* Cute file folders, notebook, and paper clips from Office Max
* Sticky notes from OTCsafety.org

TECH: (It was a blogging conference, after all.)
* A jump drive from Bounce (undetermined size)
* A jump drive from Michelin, incorporated into a LIVE STRONG-style bracelet. It is 256MB.
* A jump drive from Ann Taylor, leopard print (but actually very classy leopard print)
* A USB hub from sayitfacetoface.com, from the girls at 5minutesformom.com. I'm actually excited to use sayitfacetoface.com, and I'll let Murray determine whether or not he wants to use the hub since we already have one. On second thought, I'll put it in my laptop case and keep it with the laptop.
* An ethernet extension cord, great for travelling, from BlogHer
* A Kodak mini camcorder, in red. By far the most expensive thing I received. Thanks, Socialluxe Lounge!

* A Mister Potato Head from Playschool (another of my favorite gifts)
* Playdough and a rolling bug toy, suitable for Gulliver, from Playschool
* Science for kids, little packaged experiments. Made me wish Gulliver was older. From Steve Spangler Science. One of these is a mentos in a bottle experiment. I was also able to ask these ladies what happens if you drink diet coke while eating mentos, because if you're going to explode, shouldn't there be a warning label somewhere? They let me know the world is safe because our stomach acid takes care of the problem. Phew!
* A cool food container from Boon that you can put kids' snacks in, like Cheerios. I really like Boon's clean graphic design.
* A Spiderman comic book that you need this little thing to read. I had never heard of this, and I can't find it to find the company name, but friends assured me that they're really really cool and their kids love them.

[The food part is hard because most of the food was consumed before I came home because I am a glutton.]
* A tin of mints from I don't know who, but I'll be keeping them around because you always need mints. Hint to swag givers: Try to get your tin of mints in the MAIN BAG given at the event because I would have killed for some mints during the whole conference.
* Weight Watchers brownies, which were basically my sustainance between meals, and on the first day when approximately 18 hours passed between meals. (I ate at 6:00 a.m. and then ate my next meal at 2:00 a.m. How many hours is that? I'm too lazy to do the math.)
* Some "kinky" "sexy" chocolates that were so good that I ate a bunch there and then at a whole package at home yesterday. I'd rather not remember what company makes them because clearly I can't be trusted with chocolate.
* Speaking of which, Dove chocolate, 80% of which did not make it home. And I received the package at 1:00 a.m. the night before I left and I left first thing in the morning. Oh the shame!
* Gold fish crackers.
* A huge bottle of Chambord raspberry liqueur that I plan on using in delicious chocolate desserts + a shot glass.

* A neck pillow from Little Giraffe

* A water bottle, that I'll actually end up keeping.
* Energizer Bunny Ears, that are foam and disposable but that are one of Gulliver's favorite items so far. They have made him laugh a lot.
* A clown nose from Barnam and Bailey. For real? I'll keep it!
* A keychain from LEGO, that is cute
* A keychain from J Caroline Creative, that is really cute and sturdy. The best part was that I received it from her in person and she is the Queen of the Quilt Market. It was hard to choose which one I wanted! And it uses How About Orange's design. (I also got to meet her in person and all of this will be in another post!)

* Lots from various companies.

Wow. I think that about covers it. I'm sure I'm missing a few things here and there, but you get the idea: major haul.

Off to BlogHer!

Tomorrow I leave for BlogHer. I know that I'm not a rock star blogger or anything (especially with my sporadic posting lately) so I'll be honest. I'm going to the conference to network and peddle my wares. There's no shame in that.

Of course, I'll be going with this cast on. Unfortunate, except for the fact that I'm totally stuffing it full of cocaine that should get me a tidy profit from all the SAHMs.

(Dear law enforcement: I'm totally kidding. Also I flushed down all of my leftover percocet from my foot surgeries because that's the kind of person I am, even though I could totally sell them on the street for lots of cash.)

BUT, I am milking it for all it's worth, so I called the airport today to let them know that I need a wheelchair, and for the first time in my life, I'm going to get on PRIORITY BOARDING!! And Murray can wheel me in all the way up to the gate! (In other milking it for all it's worth news, I will definitely be using my handicapped status to enhance our Disneyland experience this fall, even though I should be feeling fine, but my temporary handicapped parking sticker says I'll be crippled till November.)

Now, how do I make a cast look good for a conference? I turn it into a go-go boot, that's how. Check it out.

I'm sure to post more full body shots from the conference. I used an old pair of patterned tights to do this. But Murray, who is a husband who has opinions on this sort of thing, encouraged me to buy actual knee-high socks so that everything looked a little nicer. So I did. Right now I'm wearing a stripey pair, but for the conference, I should be wearing a pair that looks similar to the picture.

Probably the hardest thing about this conference will be leaving my 6-month old babe. (Sorry Murray---I will miss you, too, but remember that you have gone on THREE trips without me since we've known each other, so this is my turn.) But just to get me through, you can be sure I'll be watching this video over and over and over again.

(Gulliver doesn't put hard things in his mouth---only soft things. So although he was slightly fussy the other night because of teething, he wouldn't chew on the frozen teething ring we gave him. So we found something else to do with the teething ring...)

Boot Camp (or Bye Bye Bunion)

Well, this has been quite the weekend, again. Last week, I finished up as much business as I possibly could, tried to tie every loose end, and Friday I went in for my second foot surgery. I think that going in for it this time was worse than the first time because this time I knew what to expect so I've just been dreading it.

Murray and I got to the hospital and we got to the pre-op room pretty much right away. I definitely wanted Murray to be there just in case the nurse came out to tell me that I was pregnant. But he didn't, so I'm not. My nurse was a burly man in his 50s who looked better suited to the back of a Harley than a hospital, but I didn't mind. He had a very gentle touch while trying to do my IV, except that he couldn't get it, so he had to get another nurse to do it. I didn't hold it against him, though.

(They give you shorts now in the hospital to give you extra coverage. These are one size fits all.)

Murray asked me to try to be as aware as possible, without trying to be too aware, as they put me under. Last time, I fell asleep before I got to the operating room and woke up after I was out. So this time, I do remember getting onto the operating table, maybe just a little. I know that Murray and I had discussed cast color previously, and I was stuck on black, but Murray wasn't so sure. So I didn't know what to ask for. I remember the doctor asking me, but then a nurse came in and interrupted and I don't really remember being asked again, but I ended up with a black cast, so I think I may have been asked when I was mostly out of it. I woke up on the operating table as they were bandaging me up, and although I think the cast was the part I was dreading the most, I do remember that when they were putting it on, my thoughts went something like, "Sooooo luxiouriously comfortable!" I also remember fighting the compulsion with every fiber of my being to say, "I have to look professional for my conference." (I'm going to BlogHer in 2 weeks.) But I have a follow-up appointment tomorrow and I wouldn't be even slightly surprised if my doctor asks me about my conference. It may have slipped out at some point.

Since the surgery, I have been recovering at Château In-Laws, which beats Disneyland as the happiest place on earth. I am more than thrilled to have left my home computer at home, and to legitimately tell clients that I will be unavailable to work on their projects until sometime after Wednesday. I feel I gave everyone fair enough warning and now it's time for me to have a break to just focus on getting better.

The funny thing is that I'm not even feeling bad. Not even remotely! My pain level since the surgery has never been higher than 0.5. I'm supposed to be on bed rest, and for the most part I've been honoring that, but I've also gotten on the floor to play with Gulliver. (It seems we should have had this surgery 3 weeks ago since Gulliver is working REALLY HARD right now on crawling and although he hasn't coordinated it all perfectly yet, I think that by the end of these three weeks, he's going to be a little mobile pro!) I've made my very own crock pot orange pork shoulder. I haven't even made my mother-in-law fetch me every single snack. I have been pretty self sufficient, but with a team of helpers nearby to step in at any moment. (Don't ask me if I've bathed yet though---the answer is no.) My father-in-law, bless his heart, even got me a deluxe cupcake because he knows how trendy and delicious they are. Murray has also gotten me special foods, including Fage yogurt (usually too expensive for me to justify) and fresh raspberries.

Yesterday, I watched several hours of TV, including 1.15 Meg Ryan movies. So I am living it up right now. I'm not even going to go home tonight. I'm going to stay here as long as I possibly can!


United Breaks Guitars

Have you seen this yet? Have you ever been so frustrated at poor customer service and getting jerked around by a big company? Well, here's a creative solution. Dave Carroll of Sons of Maxwell witnessed his guitar being mishandled by United Airlines baggage handlers. He discovered it was broken, but United refused to do anything about it. He haggled with them for nine months and finally told the last person to say no to him that he'd be writing a series of 3 songs about his experience with them. The first of these songs was released (this week?) and it's awesome. (One day maybe I'll write a post about Canadian musicians...)

You can read his whole story here. And you should definitely watch the video. Poor, poor United. Murray found one news story about this that said United is now using this video and experience as part of their internal training to teach their employees how to better handle these situations. (For starters, you might not tell someone who lives in Halifax that they need to take their guitar in person to Chicago for inspection.)

SF 2009!!

Every year for the past three years, I have gone to San Diego to visit Switchback. It's a Pioneer Day tradition (although the definition of "Pioneer Day" changes from year to year). This year, however, Switchback has moved to Provo (Yay!!!) and we don't need to drive 10 hours to see her. So instead, we're going to drive MORE hours to go see San Francisco. It's my first time, and Murray can be my guide. I'm so excited. It also seems like such an adult vacation. It's still weird for me to be in the pilot seat of my vacations. It seems like such a parent thing to do, and then I defer to all their decisions. Even visiting Switchback wasn't totally grown-up because we always stayed with her for free, and we didn't really plan what we were going to do until we were actually there.

So here's our tentative plan. I don't like to give dates, because robbers can break into my home, but just so that the robbers know, my mom will be in town while we're away and she'll be using our home. And we have a bad-A neighborhood watch neighbor who keeps an eye on things. So don't even think about it.

Day 1: Drive to Carson City to stay with KT and her family. It has been years since she and I have had a chance to really sit down and visit, so this will be wonderful.
Day 2: Drive to San Francisco. Check into the apartment we're subletting for a week. The apartment sounds great and it is in a cool location as far as I can tell. Close to Golden Gate Bridge and close to water. Soooooo cool!
Day 3: Play in SF!
Day 4: Play in SF!
Day 5: Teach a little and play in SF!
Day 6: Teach a little and play in SF!
Day 7: Teach a little and play in SF!
Day 8: Drive to Lake Tahoe to camp
Day 9: Drive home

I am so grown up. I planned all that myself!

Any suggestions of must-do's in San Francisco?

1 down, 31 more to go

Today is Gulliver's 0.5 birthday. Happy birthday Gulliver! To celebrate, I'm going to run out and buy him some rice cereal.

Last night we also discovered that Gulliver has cut his first tooth. In fine Gulliver fashion, he hasn't really made any fuss or big deal over the fact that sharp objects are cutting through his tender baby gums.

Myriad Activities!

This weekend was pretty much awesome. I took a much-needed break and we participated in many activities, nay a plethora of activities, nay even myriad activities!

(In Sunday School yesterday, "myriad" seemed to be the word of the day as everyone was trying to work it into their comments to sound smart. I told Murray to make a comment using the phrase, "...a plethora---nay, even myriad..." but he refused. Much like the time I dared him to use a phrase during the opening prayer of Sacrament meeting. We attend the Kolob x Ward. The opening hymn was "If You Could Hie to Kolob." I dared him to give thanks that we can hie to the Kolob x Ward every week. He didn't, that big chicken.)

On Thursday evening Murray and I took a nice scenic drive around Springville. Gulliver was getting hungry so we stopped at a park to feed him. We sat in the car and I just stared at the bizarre equipment in the park ahead of us. I wanted to know how it worked. So when I was done feeding Gulliver and while Murray was strapping him into the car, I went to the equipment and approached this one thing that looked kindof like a flower. You put your bum in it and it spins you around. Well, I sat in it and didn't have to do anything before the weight of my body started spinning me. And spinning me. And spinning me. It wouldn't stop! I was laughing. And laughing. And then calling for help. Murray meanwhile was sitting in the car, watching the spectacle. I called for help again and when I heard Murray say, "Oh, are you serious?" then I started to panic and I started spinning even faster. Murray eventually rescued me.

On Friday, El Senor and his girlfriend La Senorita came over to visit. We told them about the park and invited them to come back with us because this time we meant to record it on the Flip. Thanks to the Flip, I now have this to share with you:

And as long as I'm sharing videos, here's a couple that demonstrate what happens when I leave Murray at home alone with Gulliver.

A Realtor in Maryland or Anywhere Else

And as long as I'm blogging about real estate and realtors today, I would like to let you know that my dad is a realtor in Maryland. He has helped a few of my friends in Maryland find the right homes, and he'd love to help you, too.

My dad has also been a realtor for decades and his professionalism is unparalleled. Also, he is a no-nonsense sort of guy who will negotiate the best deal for you. You ought to see him in action when someone tries to pull something they shouldn't! At the same time as being no-nonsense, he's fun and funny and personable. Also, he speaks Spanish! And my mom, his assistant, can sign!

If you're not looking for a home in Maryland, my dad belongs to a network of realtors who he can recommend to you. Instead of blindly trying to find a realtor, get in touch with my dad and he'll do the work for you, finding the right realtors in an area, and finding someone he can personally vouch for. And by the way, his doing all that leg work for you costs you nothing.

My dad also has a real estate blog where he talks about current trends in the market and gives lots of helpful advice in home buying or selling, valid no matter where you live!

My Father-in-Law, the Realtor

Okay. So now that I've announced my new section, let me first introduce you to my father-in-law, the realtor. Since I'm trying to figure out a way to still remain a little bit anonymous, let's just say, email me if you are looking for a realtor in Utah. And I can hook you up with my father-in-law. And here's why you want to use him:

He has been a realtor in Utah for decades. He knows his way around (we call him OnStar because we can ask him about any address and he knows exactly where it is). He knows the market very well and he knows how to find you the house you're looking for.

He is a man of the people. He genuinely cares about helping get what's best for people. He'll tell us all the time about clients who he's helping in one way or another. This is a realtor who will be personally invested in you.

He's someone who I trust completely.

As I said before, now is a great time to buy a home, so if you've been even thinking about it, I can put you in touch with my father-in-law and he can answer any questions you might have and advise you on your best course of action right now!

New Section

I'd like to introduce you all to a new section of my blog. If you'll be so kind as to link over if you're reading this in a reader right now, you can see my new design! I figured I'd update headers periodically as Gulliver grows. Murray, of course, wants to know where I am in this header, and right now I'm just not in it. Maybe I'll put myself in later, but for now, it's the men of my life!

Anyway, about the new section. Recently I've been contacted a few times about advertising on my blog. I feel like this is my personal blog and a place to share Gulliver's poop stories. It's about me and my family, not about getting you to buy the latest and greatest product. So I would prefer not to have ads. However, I have started to think about the reach that my blog does have and I've realized that I should use it as a tool to recommend service providers who I am personally connected to.

Take the following scenario for example. My father-in-law is a realtor here in Utah. Because of the great tax incentives right now, it's a great time for first-time buyers to get a home. So I end up hearing about a lot of friends who are already in the process of buying or selling a home! And then I get sad because I didn't know in time to let them know that my wonderful father-in-law is a realtor. And maybe if they had known that I had my father-in-law to recommend, they would have had the confidence to use a realtor whom they felt they could trust, rather than just searching the yellow pages for whomever.

So I'd like to use my left sidebar as a place to recommend people to whom I am personally connected, whose services you might need one day. I hope you find it useful and helpful!