Friday, October 19, 2007

"Otis! You're not stupid!" - Brian

Sometimes, we have to trick our dog Trudy into eating. One nearly fail-safe method is to play catch with a few pieces of kibble. After about three she will begin eating out of her bowl. I'm not sure if she gets the idea that she should eat or if the taste of a few pieces whets her appetite. Either way it gets the job done.

Every time I throw food for Trudy Otis comes and sits expectantly, so I throw food to him too. Usually the kibble hits him somewhere in the face and he scrambles for the rebound. However, yesterday morning after the usual "Otis, ready ... catch" he actually opened his mouth in an attempt to catch on his turn. Excited I praised his effort as he scrambled for the missed food.

After Trudy's turn, I decided to try Otis again, hoping to reinforce his attempt, but not expecting much. This time Otis caught it! I was overjoyed and gave him lots of praise! Brian overheard the commotion from the stairs, confirmed what he was hearing was true and wished he could have seen it. Then he too praised Otis with some pats and said with delighted surprise, "Otis! You're not stupid!"

This morning Trudy required another round of kibble toss. And as Otis waited for his turn he had the same kind of crazed look Trudy gets while fetching at the dog park, quivering with excitment. I paused a little too long after saying ready and he sprang up directly in front of me. Hilarious! He missed that one, but was able to catch the next. A light bulb must have gone on. So our boy may be slow, but he's not stupid.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


As many of you may know, Brian and I enjoy playing games. We don't play as much as we used to, but we try to play something while we are eating dinner together. The game of choice lately has been Scrabble.

Scrabble is great because it can be paused at any time. Or one player can take their turn while the other is not there. Lately, our schedules have not matched much, so it may take us a few days to finish a game. It is always fun to come home and see what word Brian has added.

We allow each other unlimited access to the Scrabble dictionary, under the pretense that we are "learning," though most of the words I look up I don't remember. Brian is good about asking what the word means; usually I am just excited that I got a high score. We probably will be those parents that do make their kids learn the meaning. But for now, I'm just trying to keep up with Brian.

Usually our games are pretty close, right around 300 points. Earlier this week Brian had a great game and nearly broke 400. So, of course, he wanted to start a new game the next night with the mission to break 400.

The game started normally, but then on his third turn he got a bingo (using all of your tiles and earning a 50 point bonus) on a triple word score. On the subsequent two turns, he got two more bingos. By the seventh turn he was already over 300 points! All in all, he got 4 bingos and 4 triple word scores. He didn't even have all of the good letters. I still had a pretty good game ending with 274 points. Brian, however, finished this epic game with a score of 526! The picture above is a photograph of the now famous game.

Bring on the Scrabble championships...

Tip: If you can't get a high score, keep the letters on your tray that spell the word Starline, and find a place to get rid of anything else.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Name List

Shannon and I have been talking about potential baby names for years, narrowing down to a short list of first and middle names we both love, so when baby pops out naming her should be no harder than a multiple choice question. I like our long incubation period, because a name is kind of like a tattoo--do you really want a mermaid on your butt cheek when you're 83?


But we're not discussing tattoo's here. Or my butt cheek, left or right.

Anyways, Shannon and I keep telling ourselves we're not settling on a single name before the birth because we know several people that have had to change their mind when they saw their baby. My brother just did it last spring and Shannon, bless her little bisyllabic self, was supposed to be a Jessica. Despite our best efforts though, one name is leading the nominations.

It's perfect. It sounds beautiful but shortens well. It's not too common and not too weird. It looks pretty on paper and feels good to write. It's versatile. It has a suitable manifestation for whatever life pursuit little *BEEP* pursues. Etc. Etc.

And we're not going to tell you, or anyone, what it is. It's too easy to criticize a name before it's a person. And we'd rather not spend the next four months defending, persuading, or second guessing.

But--to appease you ravenous vultures--I present you with a shortlist...

...of names we will NOT be naming our child:

1) Brianrietta
- although a personal favorite, this one didn't pass Shannon's rigorous screening process.

2) Kwanesha - NB. that does NOT exclude its variant: Qwanesha.

3) Hairb - even though a new surname may be in her future, there were a few tangles to work out with this one.

4) ???

Feel free to make your own suggestions in the comments. The list is short but it's not closed.

Friday, October 5, 2007

I Felt Her!

The other night Shannon told me to put my hand on her belly. Man, we have a strong little lady in there. There was no question of whether or not I felt it. It was definite. I just hope it's not one of these! ----->