Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008

This, this, and the other this

Dylan has learned that "this" can substitute for any word she doesn't know or can't say. Hence a weekend of sort of existential conversations.

"This! This! Thisthisthisthisthis!"

"Dylan, what is this?"

"THIS! Me me this."

"Okay, your this. All the this is yours."

She's also started making a valiant effort to say her own name, beyond the DILL that's she's been doing for a long time. It comes out as DIHmuttermutter so I didn't figure out what she was saying until she did it at a picture of herself this morning.


We did the full kid-in-summer stuff again this weekend. Saturday we went to an air show, so it was nice to finally show Dylan what Daddy does at work all day. It was a lot more than just death defying plane stunts (where more = massive military recruitment effort), although they did tend to dominate the experience. In fact, the goal of just about every plane seemed to be to get us absolutely convinced that it was going to plummet into the earth any second, but no! He's (I'm pretty sure these were men we're talking about here) gone up again! That careening must have been on purpose! Irritatingly, they wouldn't put the schedule online for security purposes. Nor could you bring your own food, also for security reasons, which did indeed avoid the danger of paying a reasonable price for your lunch. We went and poked around a couple of HUGE cargo planes they had lying around, although that led to some confusion as to when the up up sky part was going to happen, now that we were on a plane and everything. Also, I joined the army, as long as I was there.

Today we went to Seabreeze. I can't believe I hadn't been there the whole time we've lived here, but that's all behind us now. What you don't realize until you get the general public in a bathing suit is that everyone in the world has a tattoo. Or maybe that's just what we epidemiologists call selection bias (sorry, sorry too much science immersion lately). It was really crowded and we had to quickly remove Dylan from two of the three rides she asked to go on (due to: freaking out), but the third one, cars going around a track, was awesome and she was so happy and proud. She did laps around, but not quite in, the water play area for a good long time and every time she inadvertently got wet she got this ridiculous shocked expression on her face and would pause and look for me to make sure I had seen what just happened.

Friday, July 25, 2008

In which Aaron stars as a pillow

We may be in store for some light posting in the next couple of weeks as I try to get as much of my project written up as I can. We'll see how it goes, but I'm not promising anything.

This is what happens post-swimming

Live Action Shot Get Your Truckxx Here

They driveway has needed replacing since we moved in. Five years ago. The day has finally come.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Swimming, swimming, in the swimming pool. And also the road.

Dylan has now officially gone from slightly afraid of the pool to all enthusiasm all the time. So we've been trying to take her swimming a lot this summer, and when my parents came to spend the night this evening we thought a trip to the hotel pool would make sense.

That was incorrect. I see now that we were wrong. The god in charge of Dylan's swimming career caught wind of our intentions and thought to himself, water eh? You think the kid needs water? I'll give you water. And he did.

If you will refer to the part in the second paragraph about "all three northbound lanes of Route 390" you will also know the exact route we took from our house to the hotel. We were in the car for almost an hour, and we had to ford through water that was approaching a depth of "exactly how high is the clearance on this car, anyway?"

We made it to the pool eventually, and Dylan was so happy it was probably worth the drive. I mean paddle.


On another topic, it's weird, right, when you send back a driveway paving contract, don't hear anything for a month, then get a phone call Wednesday evening that they'll be starting work Friday morning? Stay tuned for exciting tales from Operation: Don't Let the House Fall Apart Completely.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Recap, in brief

There were no less than four (4!) lap babies in my immediate vicinity on the Denver-->Detroit flight. If nothing else, they are a handy barometer of when to pop your ears.

The mountains (or "Rockies," if you want to get technical) in CO = really cool. Except for the constant mind boggling dehydration, which makes it difficult to exist. Suddenly the not-the-heat-the-humidity seems downright moisturizing. The swarms of dogs and bike trails are exciting though.

When I'm not around Dylan and Aaron apparently spend their days racing from one fun activity to the next, and visitors descend like locusts. So it's not clear that Dylan really noticed I was gone, or else just accepted the old "up up sky plane blah blah" without question. However, once I got back it DID seem to occur to her that hey, I haven't seen YOU for a while, some clinging is definitely in order. We Skyped a couple times while I was gone, which helped me a lot anyway.

Planes in miniature turn out to be popular around here. Sorry the hand model I keep hiring is a little chunky.
And a little something for Aaron as well

Monday, July 21, 2008

Back Home

A Quick One, While She's Away

A few quick links from today

Dillon Art Festival (I know Dillon is spelled incorrectly, but it's still cool)

Mmmm, breakfast.

Breckenridge Farmer's Market

Oh, we're not really at 12,000 feet. That must be the top of the mountain.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The trip so far

To start, here is where I am right now. Well, the condo's just to the right of the picture. It's about fifty steps from the conference, so it's really easy to come back and relax during breaks. This is a necessity when you are totally inept at adjusting to your stay at 12,000 feet. The air is SO DRY and the sun is SO STRONG and I am SO DEHYDRATED. Also sort of short of breath, so it's actually more than a convenience to have the conference close to the housing.

The trip out was fine, but it takes about 10-12 hours of travel to get here. Add an hour if the shuttle you book from the airport does not actually run during the summer, despite having a website that allows you to reserve a spot and pay for just such a trip.

I learned that the Detroit airport is surprisingly nice. There's this really long tunnel between terminals that goes under the runway that has a constant light and sound show. It's like airport, airport, airport, DISNEYWORLD, airport.

The guy who runs the program I'm in (nationally, not in Rochester) was on my shuttle, and he helped me determine that I would be presenting my poster at 6pm yesterday. I left Rochester at 8am, add plus or minus 12 hours, subtract two for the imposing Mountain Time Zone, and you will realize that the shuttle dropped me off at...5:45pm. I still showered beforehand, you'll be pleased to know. This is a conference that has people from all sorts of fields, so my poster was fun because it attracted ALL the other epidemiology people around.

There is currently a fireworks display going on (celebrating...being in the mountains?) that from the sound of it is originating in the living room.

I'm off to work on Project Hydrate. What can I say, I like to party.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Found in the back pocket of Dylan's pants

Dylan's To-do list for July 18th, 2008

☒ Stay awake, and keep mommy and daddy up, from 10:30 pm to 2:30 am.

☒ Snuggle aforementioned parents until they're just about asleep, and then pounce on their heads like a cat.

☒ Be very sweet when saying good bye to a very tired mommy.

Scream when someone other than mommy or daddy sits in the back seat with me.

☒ Make sure to fall asleep 20 minutes before we get to daddy's work retreat, so that I have a horrible nap (be sure to add on time, because that man is going to get lost).

☒ Charm everyone at the retreat and make them think that I'm easy going baby.

Stay calm when I'm unable to make bubbles.

☒ When I see something I like, i.e. ducks, ask daddy for more.

☒ Actually see more, and if possible have the more be baby versions of what I had just seen, i.e. ducklings.

☒ Impress daddy's co-workers by eating hummus.

☒ Fall asleep in the car within 10 minutes of leaving the retreat (a fall hour and a half before bedtime).

☒ Ask daddy for humus and then look at him like he is an idiot for bringing me hummus.

☒ When taking the dog out, be sure to be running at least 75% of the time.

☒ If I see a stick on the ground pick it up, start repeating "dog", and stick it in Snuffy's mouth (even if he doesn't want it).

☒ Sleep well in my cool, cool room.

Kate's masterpiece:


I am off to Colorado until Monday night, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to write until then.

This is the first time I will be away from Dylan for more than a night, and so far (one hour in) it is going...not well. Yesterday afternoon I thought I would do a little preparation by telling her that Mommy is going up up sky plane etc, which as you know is a concept she is deeply familiar with from her father's work.

I thought maybe she would understand at least a little bit, and it would be less confusing when they dropped me off at the airport. Oh no. She understood. She spent the rest of the day clinging to me with even more fervor than usual. Then when she woke up at 9:30pm because it was a hot night (air conditioner: installed this morning) she remained hysterical for Aaron until I came in, then clung to me for four hours.

Whoops, they're calling my flight. Bye for now.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Things that inspire the happy gremlin dance

Snuffy's girlfriend.


Daycare best buddy.


Daddy's home! daddydaddydaddydaddy

Meatball sub.

That guy on the street! He could be Daddy! daddydaddydaddydaddy (confidential to Dylan: this is embarrassing)

Bare midriffs/shirtless men. Belly! bellybellybellybelly (ditto, about the embarrassing [while we're on the subject, yelling POTTY while pointing wildly at other customers' feminine hygiene products in the checkout line is ALSO embarrassing])


Any task that involves painstakingly moving items, one by one, into or out of a container. This can be handy, as with garbage that needs to be thrown away, or less handy, as with garbage that needs to be thrown away but the garbage can is too tall and then things deteriorate into the frustrated gremlin stomp.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Summer in the Jungle

New family rule: No Night-Night in the Pool

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

No cookies here

Unless you are a die hard pictures-of-Dylan fan, I think we can all agree it's going to be hard to top that cookie post. I am especially dumb after working on my research projects for three hours after Dylan goes to bed, which is what I have been doing lately. Hey, you could make a chart of post quality and time spent working in the evening! Maybe I should stop now with the science and the blog, combining thereof. Aaron has been muttering about peer-reviewed blogs and giggling, so I think that should have been a clue.

So! Back to the pictures. Well, one picture for today. Sunday morning it rained and rained and Dylan and I were looking for an excursion. Guess who has puddles galore and no cars on weekends and is 100 meters from our house? Daycare. Awesome. We took the pirate boots out for a spin. Luckily they kept the looting and plundering to a minimum. I poured quite a bit of standing water out of the boots afterward. I think that's the mark of a good Sunday morning.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

On the Baking of Cookies: a Highly Sciencey Study

Introduction: While some have noted that cookies are low in nutrition and high in fat and sugar, others have argued that they are the perfect food, akin to breast milk but in no way limited to being consumed by small babies. In fact, they may be wasted on small babies, who reportedly can be tricked into thinking peas are dessert (although not my baby). Despite whiffs of perfection, a recently published report (see: New York Times of a few days ago, but sometime within the last week) suggested that certain tricks and techniques could improve Your Loyal Researcher's cookie baking methodology. YLR generally rises to such bait, and scurried out to procure the necessary ingredients.

Methods: As previously noted, eight cookies were baked more or less simultaneously with YLR's reading of the article. Four had milk chocolate chunks, four had 60% cacao bittersweet discs, and three of each kind were topped with coarse sea salt. The rest of the dough was also split 50-50 between the kinds of chocolate and left to rest for 36 hours. Most of it got salted also. The "make the cookies bigger" technique suggested in the article was not employed, as we think it is a gimmick for bakeries to charge more for their cookies and we prefer a nice bite-sized cookie, thank you very much.

Results: As noted by commenter MHC, the dough decreased noticeably in volume between being left to rest and baking. The resting dough also lent itself to sassy comments from interested parties who think they're funny about the dough being tired and what kind of baby is it that it needs to rest all the time? The salting technique could use improvement because YLR makes cookies in tight little balls, so the salt just perched on top of the ball and ended up in one little part of the cookie. However, that teeny little part was yummy, and reminiscent of Vosges' Barcelona flavor, with which YLR is slightly obsessed. Along with preheating the oven adequately, the resting time did improve the cookies' evenness and delightful goldenbrownness. The darker chocolate was enjoyed by 33% of tasters. Another 33% did not like it, and a third 33% was so excited to get her grubby little mitts on a cookie that she wouldn't have noticed if it were full of worms. A fourth candidate for cookie consumption was vigorously prevented from reaching the experimental setup due to potential interspecies bias.

Conclusions: It is hard to improve upon your basic Toll House cookie. Try all you like, the regular ones still seem just as good as all the ones you are messing with. I might try mixing the course seat salt in with the dough next time, and I do think the resting made them turn out nicely. In general I think the recipe needs a little more flour and a little less chocolate than is written on the bag.

Acknowledgments: Thank you to my family for their support during this stressful time of experimentation. This research was supported by grant #aaron.has.a.regular.job.that.allows.me.to.indulge.my.cookie.habit

Friday, July 11, 2008

Baby also needs to work on left shoe vs right shoe

In the past few weeks we have exchanged phone numbers with not one, but two couples with children more or less Dylan's age. Maybe it's different for you kids who have grown up with cell phones, but I rarely find myself in a position to give out my digits. One of the fathers muttered we don't normally do this... as we were both taking out our phones and I had to agree. So, this means I'm popular, right? Actually, it feels more like dating, but family dating. Instead of any confusion about which gender should be leaping to open the door/pull out the chair/pay for things, it is all sparklingly clear: it is the babies. Come on kids, hop to.

One of the families was of the girl who was in the playground gang with Dylan in that picture. I hadn't really registered until pretty recently that they are the bestest of buddies and we should probably get them together, but, whoops, they are. We ran into them in the park and they did their gleeful hugging thing in which Dylan is a somewhat reluctant participant and it was revealed that the other girl was the biter in case we happened to receive one/many reports of Dylan being bitten a few months ago and it turns out they were born five days apart. They ran happily off together and did you know kids that age can actually play like actual kids? They can and we all melted into puddles from the cute (except for the dogs, who as usual melted into puddles from the hot).

Also, speaking of the kid, she's been hoarding shoes. Maybe she heard Aaron say BABY NEEDS A NEW PAIR OF SHOES one too many times?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A monkey, a bus, and a dog

Straight from London!

I guess all that reading my dad did with him paid off

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Cookies are not a sometimes food

You know how I am prone to compulsive fits of cookie baking? You are not helping, New York Times. I just made eight cookies, four each with two different kinds of chocolate and three of each kind with sea salt. The rest of the dough is resting in the fridge for 36 hours. By the way, is being wounded while opening salt different than rubbing salt in your wounds? Because it didn't feel different.


As it turns out, making a poster is not that different from writing blog posts. It's all about trying to get the right mix of nice visual stuff and actual content. The content piece, coincidentally, is giving me trouble in both forums. But you should see my color scheme!


I just can't get over how much fun it is having Dylan always jumping around doing her little gremlin dance and speaking her own brand of English. I think she's gotten over whatever was bothering her because she started sleeping and eating again, to a certain extent, and this morning she went and entertained herself for 45 minutes, which is certainly new.


Aaron never gets sick or uses vacation days, so he has some that he needs to start using before he loses them. He took today off to do some painting around the house. Unfortunately, he forgot to learn how to paint first. Thanks for getting those groceries, sweetie!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


So, where were we? Right, Dylan has stopped sleeping and eating, started chatting in pidgin, and prefers to remain within six inches of me at all times. Meanwhile, it is a million degrees and I have spent the past million hours gazing at (the all new all confusing) powerpoint hoping it will make a brilliant scientific poster for me. I am therefore functioning at about the level of a garden gnome and the best entertainment I can offer today is a picture of my pretty pretty dog. I invite you to enjoy the lovely color of his fur, the ubiquitous snout, and the nice floppy ears. (sorry...I told you...garden gnome)

Oh wait, I also have a Tip of the Day. If I should happen to mention that I am, uncharacteristically, in a tired cranky state, it is not strictly necessary, in your enthusiasm to support and validate my every word, to heartily agree and mention that in your opinion this state has lasted three days.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Almost Two

I think I figured out why everyone thinks their kid is a genius. It feels like some kind of miracle to go, in a matter of months, from grunting the occasional word or two to waxing eloquent on the topic of No Doggie Eat Shoe. For example. That is to say, I think we're coming close to actually conversing with Dylan, although she has retained many colloquial expressions and syntax from her native Dylish. I just have to say a word a coupe times (or once, in the case of dessert-related vocabulary) and she knows it. She's been able to count to two for a while, but further counting has been stymied because it's hard to say three. It turns out she actually knows more than that because yesterday I was counting to myself and after I said five I was really surprised when she yelled six.

Probably relatedly she's going through some kind of developmental...thing right now. She's given up eating and sleeping, I guess in favor of talking, and gets just hysterical when we put her to bed. Hey, she's up right now! She has also been particularly cautious, so you may not have appreciated that picture from yesterday of her floating by herself in a pool as a small miracle. She has been very personable and engaging lately, and also fairly quick to haul off and smack me, whether for fun or frustration.

Sorry to cut things a little short, but I have to go tend to the child (see: up right now).

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Healthy Suspicion

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th

How to build a structurally sound tent

Dylan dodges the paparazzi
A bug's life
There just aren't words
This slide was angled at approximately 90 degrees
Maybe skipping the nap wasn't such a good idea? Hm?

Chicken fight