Monday, July 31, 2006

The end of the world as we know it...

She's done it. We had always known she eventually would... and dreaded the day a bit. No longer can we tame the overtired and grumpy beast by putting her in her crib because...

Last night, Pumpkin figured out how to climb out of her crib. Twice.

We had been to the pizza-oven-coworkers in the afternoon/early evening for pizza. Pumpkin had a great time, played some with the dogs, ate a little pizza, some chocolate and some ice cream. She got grumpy and we headed for home. She fell asleep in the car, soundly enough that she was NOT happy when we got home and took her out. We fed her supper, put on pjs, read stories, and tried to put her to bed. Much yelling and Mama-ing. I went in, tried to calm her down, sang, had Daddy get her a banana when she said she was hungry, etc. (Dang sugar and excitement!) Eventually, it being rather late (9:30 or 10, I think), we told her good night again and left. Again, there was a long time of Mama-ing, but not too upset. No big deal - we'll ignore it and she'll give up and fall asleep, we thought.

Then, suddenly, we heard "Mama, mama, mama, mama..."

.... accompanied by the pitter patter of little pajama-clad feet.

I jump up from the couch, Mr. Kluges comes from the computer, we meet at the foot of the stairs, look up and see...

Pumpkin, standing up at the top, looking down at us.

"Mama." She says. "Came out."

Yup, you did "came out" of your crib, you little monkey. Dang. Not exactly sure how, but she managed it.

"Ok, we can deal with this," we thought. She probably did it mostly by accident, so we've got a little time here to figure out what we're going to do about it. Once again, we convinced her it was time for bed, and left.
The Mama-ing continued for a while, then it was quiet. We breathed a sigh of relief, figuring that we'd dodged a bullet, but not for long.

Yeah, then, at 11:30, we heard "Bumpety-bump-bump-BUMP!" "Waaaah! Mama, Mama! Came out! Bonk head! Mama!"

Yup, that made twice, apparently less skillfully the second time. SOOOO... then we had to calm the girl, haul a mattress in from the other room (And it is, apparently to a toddler, very WRONG to take apart a bed like that - we were told "Put back! Fix it!" several times during the process.), lay it down on the floor beside the crib, and try to convince her to go to sleep in either the crib or on the mattress.

Eventually, at 12:30, I gave up, made sure there was nothing in her room she could mess with too much, kissed her, told her "good night" YET AGAIN, closed the door and went to bed. It wasn't much longer that she Mama-ed, then, FINALLY, all was quiet at the Kluges/Huis household. Here's hoping we figure out a better solution soon, 'cuz I doubt she's going to go back to being contained now that she's found freedom.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Day trip to Kilkenny

So today we drove 2 1/2 hours up to Kilkenny to visit our mosaicist friend from 2002. She and her fiance were having a joint exhibition of their work. It was so nice to see her again and 2 of her 3 boys. The 14 year old is now 18, but looks basically the sameas he did in '02. The 7 or 8 year old is now 11 or 12 and has totally changed - taller, longer hair, braces, young-man-face instead of kid-face. After seeing the exhibition, them, a bit of Kilkenny, and such, we got to drive 2 1/2 hours back here. We were glad to get out of the car at the end!

On our way up, we met a group of 20 or so bicyclists in matching yellow jerseys stopped near an intersection. Must have been a fund raiser or something. They were accompanied by an ambulance in case of emergency. Not that unexpected... but only in Ireland would the ambulance drivers be standing around smoking. Hmm... I don' t know about you, but I've heard they're a bit of a health risk. Ah, at least they didn't have pints in their hands!

I gotta tell y'all another Girl-brag, too. We've driving home and there's a rainbow off to the side. I point it out to Pumpkin. She observes it for a while, then tell us, "Stripes in there." Yup - pretty complex for not yet 2!

She doesn't have it all figured out yet though... she kept telling Daddy to "catch it!" and was rather put out when he wouldn't catch that rainbow for her. Reminded me of the time in MN when she wanted me to "make sun ... come up" 'cuz she didn't like that it was getting dark out. Guess she's got rather high expectations of her parents!

Tomorrow we're invited over to the wood-burning-pizza-oven coworkers for (you guessed it) pizza! Yay! Should be tasty, and Pumpkin is probably going to go nuts over their two new dogs. Better hurry up and go to bed so I've got the stamina to keep up with her around puppies!

Friday, July 28, 2006


OMG, a real blogger left a message on my [MSN] site. [('cuz I'm backdating and posting these to my new Blogger site since MSN apparently switched over to Windows Live. Anyway) ] Yup! Somebody I don't even know, but whose blog I've been reading fairly regularly for a couple of months (yes, I'll put her on my blog list, I just hadn't gotten to it yet since I've been back) checked out MY blog. I had left a comment on hers for the first time today about a brave and honest post she'd done about her mother's mental illness, and SHE CAME AND READ MY SITE! AND SHE SAID PUMPKIN WAS CUTE!

I know, I know, I'm such a geek, but it's just neat.

Also, she calls her daughter Pumpkinpie, which I get a kick out of since it's so close to my girl's nickname (and something I call Pumpkin sometimes, too.).

Ok, gotta go add her to my blog list of people I don't know so that you can start reading her funny and touching blog, too. Whee!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

We always knew she was brilliant...

Of course, every parent thinks their child is gifted, brilliant, excellent at something. Also, we get used to our child and take things for granted. Now Pumpkin was rather a late crawler and walker, but she's always been fairly quick with her fine motor skills, and seemed to catch language fairly easily. We're used to all the things she can say, but during my visit, we were around the child of a cousin of mine. Now this child is only a month or so younger than Pumpkin, but he wasn't talking yet that I heard. Just "mama"s and "uh" combined with pointing. Sure, he's probably a little on the later end of developing speech, but it really highlighted to me Pumpkin's huge vocabulary. Also, the family that I met while waiting for the plane had a daughter two months younger than Pumpkin. She was certainly babbling, but I could only understand a few words; I'm certain her parents could understand more, but still... quite different from what I hear from our girl.

So, yesterday, I got out a notebook and started writing down all the words I could think of that she uses.

I had no idea how many to expect, but when I looked at the length of my list, I had to find some reference points. Here are a couple links, but in general, the range was from 50-200 by the age of 2 and from 200-500 by the time a child reaches 3.

Well, my list of Pumpkin's words, at 23 months old? 383

I was amazed. I guess she is ahead of the curve on that one anyway.

('Course, that probably is a precursor to large phone bills when she's a teen, but still...)

Yay, Pumpkin!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Missing MN

So I woke up in a Missing Minnesota kind of mood this morning. 'Course, that may be in part because I was dreaming a bunch of us were camping in tents at a convention and all hanging out and enjoying ourselves. I miss being around people who have known me and I have known them for years. There's just a different level of history, connection and comfort there. You guys know me flaws and all and yet I'm still invited to stuff.

Anyway, here are some things I miss about MN
(Not the bugs though! I love having no screens & no screen doors here!)

  • Family Pumpkin started saying "Gramma Yori, Grampa Jm, Gramma Pet, and Grampa Kise" while were were there. Now she'll say one of their names (or Aunt Ruse, UnkaTom, Andoo, or Kistin) and then say "home." It's neat to know she's thinking of them, and more often than I'd have guessed she would.
  • Friends Whenever I got to see any of you, it was like we'd never left. I miss hanging out with y'all.
  • Triscuits I did bring some Wheat Thins back with me, but now I've got a Triscuit craving.
  • Target Things are so dang nice and so dang cheap there! And they've got EVERYTHING I need. *sigh*
  • Speaking of Target, I miss store brand contact solution. Ok, Target contact solution is like $3. Here, I can only get it at the pharmacy (drug store) and it's almost E20! That's $24. For one bottle!!! Even though my suitcases were rather full, I still picked some up and brough it back.
  • Knowing where to go to get stuff Here, we decide we need something, like a small alarm clock, or contact paper, or padded envelopes, or coffee beans, (or something else that you can't get at Target 'cuz those are all the examples I can think of off the top of my head). Then we have to try to figure out what store might carry it. We have the hardest time with stuff we'd go to Best Buy for 'cuz the closest thing we've found here is more like a Radio Shack. Also, it took us months to find the two places in Cork that have whole coffee beans.
  • A refrigerator that can fit more than 3 items in it Yes, I know, an exaggeration, but our frig measures 45" tall by 21 1/2" wide. That's the outside measurement. And it includes the freezer on top. That's right - less than 2'x4'. Go look at yours. A little larger, huh?
  • Roads where I don't have to worry about the other lane coming in to mine to go around a parked car, going into the other lane myself to go around a parked car, how close I am to the hedge and/or stone wall on the side so the car doesn't get scratched or I lose a mirror, where the lane IS exactly since there's no middle line, etc., etc., etc.

I could go on, but that's enough pity party for me. If you actually read the whole thing, thanks. Either way, it was just nice to get it off my chest this morning. Whew. I feel better. Think I'll try to get something done while Pumpkin naps.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Our musical girl aka Guess Those Lyrics

So, our house is a much happier place today, as Pumpkin slept through the night. In fact, she slept through the night up until about 11 am! Yay! Also, over the last couple of days, she kept touching her ears, so I brought her to the doctor today & found out that yes, she does have an ear infection, so hopefully we can get that cleared up soon with the lovely antibiotics. One dose so far, and only about 10% of it went on her shirt.

While I'm writing this, Pumpkin is singing one of her songs. Yes, not-quite-two-year-olds CAN sing/say recognizable songs... or at least parts of them.

Can you guess her repertoire?

"Happy Bird Day" (currently singing)

"Are You Sleepy Are You Sleepy" (the easiest one to guess) (This is the only part she knows, so she repeats it over and over and over and over.)

"Mary Mary" (NOT Quite Contrary, though it's a good guess.)


"Hush Baby Hush Baby"

We're also currently playing balloon sticks as flutes, but that's another entry.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

700 is a big number!

Oh, Mr. Kluges told me Pumpkin is 700 days old today.
Happy (sort-of) b-day today, Pumpkin!

(Now, if you figure out how many diapers per day...and times it by 700...and add in a few extra for the first few months... DANG, that's a lot of diapers!!!)

And again with the bleary eyes.

So, you remember how I was complaining a bit about being tired after our long and little-glitch-filled trip back to Ireland?

Well, I just want to let y'all know that Pumpkin has been up from 2 to 4 (yes, FOUR! as in LAST NIGHT!) hours in the middle of the night each night since we got here. I know, I know, jet lag and harder-for-her-to-adjust-cuz-she-doesn't-understand-and-can't-read-a-clock, but ARGH!!!!

And it's usually encompassing 1 am. I'm thinking that she sleeps the first part of the night (we'be been letting her go to bed an hour or so later than usual to try to help with the shift), and then wakes up all "What a nice nap I had! Now let's play!" 'Course Mommy and Daddy? Not so much with the playing at 12 or 1 or 2 or even 3 am. Really. Trust us on that one.

We've tried leaving her for a while in hopes she'll fall back asleep. We've tried rubbing her back. We've tried singing to her. We've given her bananas and crackers while she sat on my lap and I waited for her to get done eating so she didn't choke and I could GO BACK TO BED in case she was hungry. We've found the water-filled sippy cup she couldn't find in her crib when she plaintively called, "water bottle! water bottle!" We've had her Baby Tad toy play classical music over and over and over while flashing his pretty, relaxing lights. We've turned on her lava lamp/nightlight in hopes the pretty moving wax bubbles will entrance her. We've tried telling her that it's nighttime and that the birds are sleeping, the cows are sleeping, the cats are sleeping, the dogs are sleeping, the people are sleeping, etc., etc., etc.

THESE DO NOT WORK. NOTHING WORKS. Eventually, after a long time, we give up and go back to bed and let her yell again. If this goes on for an exceptionally long time (like another 45 minutes), then we go back in and try again. Eventually, the us-going-back-to-bed is eventually followed (after more yelling), by blessed silence from the other room.

Dear Lord, this is like the days of many nighttime feedings! I think we might just have to cold turkey it with her and give her an ample snack before bedtime and then just let her cry it out and learn that yes, it's night, and people SLEEP in the night. Not yell, not play, not get up to see what's wrong. Just SLEEP.

So, that's what's up with me today. I'm wondering how I ever managed nighttime feedings and work with small children once upon a time 'cuz I'm a wee bit testy today with the three nights running of limited/interrupted/yell-filled sleep. Here's hoping for a better night tonight.
12:46 PM

Saturday, July 22, 2006

No longer two-toned gray

Our car is no longer charcoal gray on the bottom and light gray on the top. That's 'cuz Mr. Kluges just washed the car outside in the rainy-misty weather. He started because the windshield needed washing, but then took his rag to the rest of the car.

Now, just so you know, I'm only posting this because it's a very news-worthy event. You see, this is the first time either of us has washed the car since we bought it about a year ago.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Blearily-eyed yours...

So, Pumpkin and I made it back to the Emerald Isle safely, if rather jet-lagged. Our excursion included several small glitches, starting with leaving MSP late due to the icky weather we had in the am arriving in Chicago. So, since we left late, we arrived in Chicago O'Hare's Terminal 3 only 1 hour before our flight to Ireland was supposed to leave from Terminal 5. Now, if you've had to go from one terminal to another there, you know it involves going out of the terminal, taking a tram to the next one, and then having to re-clear security, often involving a lengthy wait in line.

So I hustle our butts from 3 to 5 in great time, knowing that our bags in all likelihood will NOT be moving as swiftly as we were, but not worrying about that too much since we're in our way home. In all the MANY cases of delayed luggage we've had between ourselves and visitors, it's never actually gotten LOST, only delayed. Get there and see a BIG line for security. So, I doubled back a little bit to find a TV screen with the flight info so I'd know which gate. I look at the list and see... EI 124 DUB/SNN 7:00P AT 9:45P.

Well, that took care of the need to rush! I double-checked with the nice lady at the information desk right there and found out that we'd probably want to eat before clearing security since there's nothing more than kiosks on the other side and that there is a small play area near Gate 15. After a diaper change, supper of Pizza Uno and a strawberry smoothie (yummy!), and a much-reduced security line, we got to our gate to find a high school choir rehearsing a couple of their numbers while enduring the wait for our flight. They were REALLY good and listening to them kept Pumpkin entertained while I asked the nice man at the desk if there was any chance of an extra seat being available for her even though we'd only paid for a lap ticket for her.

He was really nice and called somebody else and said there was one right near mine, but that he couldn't do anything until 8:30 when they'd officially close the flight. So we listened to the choir's last song then went and found the play area. Pumpkin had a great time playing there with a 4 year old boy (Emmett) and a little girl a couple of months younger than she is (Zeta). I found out their mom was South African and their dad was Irish, but they live in San Francisco. 8:30 came, I went back to the desk, and they blocked 13H for us (I was 13G). Now, this didn't mean we were guaranteed the seat 'cuz we hadn't paid for it, just that nobody could assign it to somebody else. As long as we sat there first, it was ours. VERY nice of them 'cuz we weren't entitled to anything other than a seat for me and a lap seat belt to keep her on my lap. We like Aer Lingus.

Wandered back to play until about 9, when they were going to start pre-boarding. Pumpkin and I ended up being the FIRST passengers aboard (Yay!) and found 13G & 13H, which were separated by the aisle. So I talked to a flight attendant, who said they'd see if somebody'd switch or if there were two seats together somewhere else once the flight was loaded. So I left our stuff in H and stood at G, and said Hi to the San Fran family when they came to sit in the other 3 seats by G. Eventually, once everyone else was on, they swapped us over to two empties not far away and we were set.

Except that we were all settled in on a plane that proceded to wait in line to take off for forever. We're talking forever with a side of "now we're #4 in line, but there's a problem with the runway, so we've been advised to turn off the engines to save fuel because it's going to be a while, so we'll start the in-flight entertainment while we sit here on the ground." Eventually, at 11:30 pm, we take off and Pumpkin falls asleep. (I don't know what it is about that part of the flight, but of the 6 take-offs on our Eire/US/Eire trip, she fell asleep during half of them.) After a long trip, in which I didn't get much restful sleep due to much kicking and wiggling by Pumpkin, we got to Dublin. The flight was supposed to stop there, then continue on to Shannon, but they ended up having all of us still on it get off, clear passport control, then board another plane that was going Dublin-Shannon-New York. Made sense, since it was already going that way and had plenty of space, but it was just one more small hassle, and an additional delay for Mr. Kluges, who by this time was at Shannon waiting for us.

All ends well though. We got to Shannon and so did both suitcases. We found Mr. Kluges as soon as we'd cleared customs and had an uneventful drive home, where I was happy to let him change the next messy diaper for us. Pumpkin was up last night from about 1:15-3am, but is down for a nap now. I think I'm going to follow her example 'cuz it sounds like an excellent idea.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Pre-flight packing crap

Ok, first of all, sorry for the lack of postings. We went and visited G&G Kluges and stayed overnight on Sunday, then visited Pumpkin's godparents in their new house on Monday & then went shopping and had MORE relatives over tonight. In the past week and a half, my parents have graciously cooked for and hosted large groups four times.

Tomorrow afternoon we leave for Ireland. I'm very excited to see Mr. Kluges again. Yay! It will also be very nice to be back home in our own space again. I do love my parents, but we've been here long enough. (Granted, I'll miss having Grandma change diapers and do laundry and Grandpa grill supper and keep the vehicles gassed up, but I'll adjust.) I'm not looking forward to the long transatlantic flight. Also, I'm pretty sure my carry-on bag shrunk 'cuz I know I got more stuff in it last time.

Do you have any idea how much stuff you need to pack in a carry-on for a 9 hour transatlantic flight with a toddler? And don't forget the hour and a half flight you have first, plus the two hours at the airport before the first flight and the 2-3 hour layover between them. And add in the fact that there's no reasoning with a toddler... and no waiting if she's hungry or thirsty. Here's what I can tell you I've got packed in my li'l ol' backpack off the top of my head...

A change of clothes of me
a change of clothes for Pumpkin - with comfy waistbands for sleeping
Pumpkin's pjs and an extra onesie
Extra pair of shoes and socks for Pumpkin
Our usual diaper change dealie with 3 diapers & wipes case
6 spare diapers
more wipes ('cuz you really don't want to run out with a poopy)
her harness/leash thingie for running through the airport
a baggie with a bib, plastic silverware, and candy for bribes
spray antibacterial crap
a bag that collapses into a small zippered pouch
a large bag/case that has 5 or so kid books and NUMEROUS small toys
6 pre-wrapped presents to be taken out when Pumpkin reaches the end of her rope & NEEDS distraction
a sippy cup of apple juice/water
2 other apple juice boxes
a snack cup with raisins/cheerios
fruit leather snacks
dried cranberries & macadamia nuts
trail mix
cereal bars
a book for me
water for me
my glasses & contacts & solution & case
toothbrush & toothpaste
the digital camera
the digital camera's battery changer & cord

and that's not counting the crap in my purse, which also packed full of travel-related stuff including both the US cell phone & the Irish one. Argh. I know it'll fit in the overhead luggage bin, but I'm not looking forward to lugging that heavy beast through the airports and I know she'll still want stuff I don't have along. Oh well, that's life & we'll deal.

Wish us luck and sleepiness for our overnight flight back, okay? Also, I'm not all packed yet, so wish my bags become dimensionally-transindental while you're at it, all right?

: ) More in a few day from Eire!

Friday, July 14, 2006

"Donald" Why? *Shrug*

So, toddlers are just learning to talk and will therefore have many "approximations," or sounds that are pretty close to the word they're trying to say. Grandpa will be "Gampa" or "Gappa" and such like that. I get that. The hard part comes when you're trying to figure out some of these approximations. I get that, too. But the hardest part sometimes is figuring out why a particular item has a particular name.

You see these guys:
(Ah, fart. I can't upload them without downloading stuff to my folks' computer... which I really don't want to do.)

Ok, follow this link:

(And since a long link sometimes messes up the display, here it is in chunks.)

You see the 5th guy down? The African-American construction worker? (We've got two, so imagine they're twins.) And the last guy? The Caucasian construction worker with silver construction helmet?

Well, their name is Donald.

Yup. Donald.

Collectively they're Donalds, but each one is also Donald.

And she knows there are three of them in all, so it's often, "Donald! 'Nother one. 'Nother one!"

Why are they Donald?

*shrug* Heck if I know.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Apparent punctuation mania, I guess

Ok, so I heard at the party on Saturday that some folks check my blog with some degree of regularity. Which is very flattering! Also, means I must make a point to at least write a little bit of something so they're not disappointed and stop the flattering often-checking.

(Yes, I do enjoy making up new word-phrases by putting dashes between words I want to go together in my sentences here. Thank you for asking. Did you not notice that trend throughout my blog? No, I do not do this in official-type writing (not that I do any of that in my current career as a stay-at-home-mum).)

Tomorrow Grandma Huis, The Greataunt from Tennessee Who Sends Pumpkin All Kinds of Great Stuff and Cute Clothes, (which you'll notice I did not fill with dashes... or hyphens... or whatever they're really called) (and yes, I am a licensed teacher, thank you very much, even though I can't remember what they're called) (who shall henceforth be called GAFTWSPAKOGSACC... or maybe not... how about... ummm... TNGreataunt... at least until/unless I come up with something better.) (which I should do because I told her I'd send her the link to my blog & she'll probably check it out.), Pumpkin, and I are going to the Mall of America! Woo-hoo!

(Yes, apparently, I'm also parentheses-happy today. Leave me alone.)

Yup, a day of shopping and visiting the Camp Formerly Known As Snoopy. I'm VERY MUCH looking forward to it, even though I know that Pumpkin will get tired of shopping long before we're ready to leave and we'll get tired of watching the rides move up and down, or around and around, or whatever long before she does, but it'll still be good.

(There. That's long enough that I can consider it an actual entry... even if a little content-light.)