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The Energizer Bunny

Remember the Energizer Bunny, from the old battery commercials? You know, the one that just keeps going and going … and going …

That’s Jenny.

We had an extremely busy day today. First up was my nephew’s first birthday party, in a town 1.5 hours away. The kids all had a blast, and the girls ran around playing in the wading pool, filling water balloons, etc. Next up was a wedding reception for the young woman who was our summer nanny last year. They had a band and a dance floor set up. Jenny danced for about a half our with our friend (Allie’s best friend’s mom, who is one of my best friends.)

Adam and I figured we’d leave once our friends left, since the only other person we knew was the bride. Nope – we stayed for at least another 90 minutes, with Jenny pretty much dancing the WHOLE time (much of it with Adam, who had patiently been waiting for our friend to leave so that J would pay attention to him).

I thought she’d be exhausted by 8 – busy day, she spent the whole time outside (even the reception was outside), etc. On the contrary – she danced until 9:30! She probably would have gone longer, but the band took a break and Adam and I decided it was a good chance to make our departure.

(And even once we got home, she didn’t crash – she played on my phone for a little while, until at least 10:30.)

A & J dancing

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I don’t know what it is with my kids, but they have all been fascinated with looking into the refrigerator. (Believe me, there’s never much of interest inside it – just the usual product, milk/cheese/yogurt, leftovers, etc.)

Check out this recent picture of Jenny. (I can’t quite tell whether she’s going for the Hershey’s syrup or the salad dressing. Hershey’s, probably.)

J fridge

Now, compare it to the pictures here. Tell me there’s not some kind of weird trend with my kids?

Getting a New Car

safety pilotWell, it’s not actually new, and it’s not actually mine to keep. But there is an extensive, multi-year U.S. Department of Transportation safety pilot research study being conducted in our area. It’s pretty neat. And, being somewhat of a vehicle safety nut, I find it interesting and signed up to participate when the study was first announced.

There are three levels of participation. The least-involved level (which we currently have on our main vehicle)  includes a small data collection device that involves no interaction from the driver. The middle level (which my boss has) includes the data collection device and also emits warning signals when another study vehicle is too close. The third level involves driving a study-provided car equipped with five cameras that collect data about driving conditions, proximity of other vehicles, driver reaction, etc.

I was notified today that they want me to participate in the third level. Besides being excited to participate further in the study (I happen to work in the research environment at the university, and was interested in research even before I started working there), I am really looking forward to driving one of their vehicles for 5-6 months. It won’t be a luxury vehicle, but it’ll certainly be nicer than the 2003 Ford Focus station wagon that I usually drive. (Or maybe it will be a luxury vehicle – I’m supposed to be getting a 2011 Buick Lacrosse. Not new, but nice!)

Here’s an interesting article on the study, from Wired magazine. (Though I do think their “300 vehicles” figure is wrong.)

OK, a kid of a different color. Or a shirt, really.

The day after Allie wore her “Go blue!” clothes, she got to wear her “Go green!” clothes. And so did Adam and I. More specifically, we got to go to a hockey game at my alma mater! (Which just happens to be another huge Big 10 university within easy driving distance – and oh, did I mention that it’s my employer’s archrival?)

Adam and Allie with Aunt Betsy, our benefactor for the evening.

Adam and Allie with Aunt Betsy, our benefactor for the evening.

How did that happen, you may ask? Well, it was another example of why I love Facebook so! I posted a picture of Allie in her maize and blue – and one of my college friends chided me (good naturedly), asking how I could let her wear those colors. I replied that we wear the colors of both schools, and that we’d even go to another (alma mater) hockey game if my sister Betsy could get us free tickets again. Two minutes later, I had a private message from Betsy saying that she had free tickets to the game that night, and would we like to go! Of course we would! So I got off work an hour early, raced to pick up the kids and run home to change (why oh why did I have to wear a maize and blue shirt for casual Friday?) and get to the hockey arena.

We had a blast, as expected. Our team lost (5-2, yikes) but it was fun. My friends and I had season hockey tickets all through college, and our dorm was directly across the field from the hockey arena (on top of which I had my first-and-only cigarette – just a puff, really) so it felt just like the old days.

I don't remember the band being this big when I was in college (it was usually about a third this size at hockey games).

I don’t remember the band being this big when I was in college (it was usually about a third this size at hockey games).

In fact, it really felt like the old days because of where we sat. Our ticketed seats were quite a ways from the band, and we couldn’t hear it very well. And what’s the point of going to a sporting event if you can’t do the silly chants/cheers, sing the fight song, etc.? We quickly noticed that the student section was only about a third full – because it was spring break. So after the first period, we moved to the student section, which surrounds the band. It was kind of surreal. On the one hand, I felt like I was back in college, because this is how I spent many a Friday night. On the other hand, watching Adam cheering and singing with gusto – I felt like I was getting a glimpse of my son in 7 years or so, a college kid rooting on his team. Weird. But cool.

I admit that I was a little disappointed that the student section no longer does a couple of the gags that we used to do. I mean seriously, if the other team has someone coming back in after a penalty, and you know the announcer is going to say “Western, full strength!” – why wouldn’t you shout “Hey Jerry (or whatever the announcer’s name is now), what’s that smell?” Or when the announcer is going to say “One minute left to play. One minute.” wouldn’t you shout “Hey Jerry, how much time?” Sheesh. Kids these days.

Mmmm, the traditional hockey game snack - Melting Moments ice cream cookie sandwich.

Mmmm, the traditional hockey game snack – Melting Moments ice cream cookie sandwich.

Go Blue!

The local Big University’s women’s basketball team was supposed to visit the first grade classes at Allie’s school on Monday. Unfortunately, the visit was canceled that morning. Allie was disappointed, but was thrilled when she found out that the team had sent ticket vouchers to the entire class. She insisted that Tim go with her.

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They had great seats. Allie watched for a classmate friend that she knew would be there, and she and Tim were able to sit right next to them. The pep band was there, and so were the cheerleaders. Tim might possibly have really enjoyed that part. Allie also liked the local baton twirling school that performed at halftime.

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Tim caught a shirt from the shirt-shooting cannon. It’s a little big for Allie, but she’s using it as a night shirt now.

Oh, and our team won, 50-55.

Phil Was Wrong!

I never put too much stock in Groundhog Day, but it’s always fun to see what groundhog Puxatawney Phil. This year, he predicted an early spring. I don’t think so …

We got 8.6″ of snow last night – on top of 1.26″ of rain that fell earlier in the day.

Feb snow 2

It was beautiful, for sure. And Allie and Jenny had a blast playing in the snow. I may post pictures of their adorable snowman tomorrow.

Feb snow

But what a mess! t was a really, really heavy and wet snow. Tim nearly got stuck twice getting out of our subdivision (and we only live about 6 houses away from the main road). Adam and Allie were thrilled to have a snow day. And Adam might get another day off – his school was without power today, and it still hadn’t been restored earlier this evening (last time I heard an update).

Sure hope this is winter’s last hurrah.

What Are Your Hot Spots?

No, I don’t mean that kind of hot spot.

I’ve been following Flylady for about six weeks. (Flylady is basically a system of getting and keeping your house decluttered and clean.) I don’t follow it to a T, but I follow a lot of the basic elements, and it has really helped. Tim and the kids are following it too, though they don’t necessarily realize it. The house isn’t spotless, but it is much neater than usual – and it’s much easier to get the house into shape.

One of Flylady’s terms is “hot spot.” This refers to a place that you can. not. keep. decluttered. Though much of our house tends to collect clutter, there is one spot in particular that starts to fill up the second I get it cleared up: the “peninsula” counter in our kitchen. Our kitchen has always been the heart of the house – I spent a lot of time there for obvious reasons, it’s a major thoroughfare because of the layout (it has an entry on both ends), and it’s close to garage, which is where we always come in/leave. This part of the counter always has some combination of “important” school papers, bills, toys, books, etc. on it, waiting to be put away, sorted, tossed, etc. It doesn’t seem to matter what I do, there is always stuff here.

As soon as I read the term “hot spot” in a Flylady email, I knew exactly what it meant – and what it meant in my house.

What is your (clutter) hot spot?

(Maybe I’ll get brave and take a picture tomorrow.)