Monday, September 19, 2016

Diaper Derby

For the last month or two - pretty much as long as Calvin has been able to crawl/scoot - Sarah has joked that at his first birthday party we were going to have baby races.  In the last couple weeks, Calvin has been really picking up speed.  He is now crawling on hands and knees with a 70% success rate – the remaining 30% of the time, his hands are not fast enough to keep pace and he falls.  This increased speed has made parenting more difficult.  Before, I could throw something in the laundry and come back before Calvin had moved across the room.  Now if I leave the room for a second, he will undoubtedly be in the dog’s water dish when I return.  Between the increased speed and him pulling himself into the standing position, there has been a lot more baby proofing and a lot more supervision.

We went to the Santa Cruz County Fair today with some friends.  There were racing pigs and camel rides, baby goats and funnels cakes, giant pumpkins and a 3D printers - so a pretty typical fair with one exception… On a small stage, behind the FFA showcase hall, at 1PM sharp, tens of people turned out to see the most exciting event at the fair – Diaper Derby (an event we had only heard about the day before)!

Waiting for the race to start
The rules were simple:
1. Contestants must be under the age of one.

2. Contestants must crawl to the finish line – any walking will result in disqualification.

3. Parents may use whatever they want (toys, bottles, etc.) to entice the contestant to crawl to them.

The competition was fierce.  Five babies elected to compete: a little boy, a set of twins, a little girl, and Calvin.  Dads and babies lined up at one end of the stage, while moms and lures lined up at the other end.  With a Jellybeanz gift certificate and trophy on the line, the air was electric.

The race started, and the twins immediately took a commanding lead by using a knee-scoot technique (that was more than a crawl but not quite a walk).  It looked like the race was over before the other babies (including Calvin) had even moved from the starting position. But, in an exciting twist, just before crossing the finish line, both twins unexpectedly turned around and started moving in the opposite direction of the finish line. Whew!

What Calvin did for the first six minutes of the race
Meanwhile, the other babies (Calvin included) sat and watched this whole twin-centric production from the starting line.  For six excitement-filled minutes it went on like this, with the twins almost crossing the finish line only to abruptly change direction, and the other babies watching, while their dads tried to prompt them to move. At one point, Calvin looked like he was going to crawl off the race course to play in the dirt.  But he didn't.  Occasionally he would look at Sarah and smile, but not move at all in any direction. Eventually one of the twins (finally) crossed the finish line to win. So first place was out for Calvin. 

Luring Calvin slowly toward the finish line
The other (not winning) twin decided that the toy Sarah had (it plays music with lights that flash in time to the tune) looked like it would be SO MUCH FUN to play with and knee-crawled quickly toward Sarah to get it. Remember, Sarah is at the finish line. Sarah, without a competitive bone in her entire body, saw that the twin was coming to get the toy and may very well win second place, so Sarah slid the toy toward the twin in a direction that just-so-happened to be back on the race course, well away from the finish line.  While this was taking place, Calvin stared at a little boy who was walking nearby, the other little boy in the race laid down, and the little girl sat and looked at the wall behind her. It was shaping up to be a never-ending race, so Sarah took action.

The double cell phone maneuver
Grabbing Calvin’s “Happy Easter” sheep toy, she moved onto the racecourse and stopped in front of Calvin at a distance of approximately 1 foot.  Seeing his mommy and his sheep at a nearly graspable distance lit a fire in Calvin and he very slowly crawled in the general direction of Sarah.  Every time he got close to Sarah, she'd move a backwards a little, moving him ever closer to the finish line. Things were going great for Team Kienle, and it looked like Calvin was definitely going to get second place. Then, two things happened: the twin still in the race raced over to Sarah, once again attracted by the musical toy, so Sarah had to use some clever maneuvering to move Calvin closer to the finish line while simultaneously moving the twin back. This strategy was working well, until out of nowhere, the little girl who had previously been staring at the wall, charged toward the finish line in a startling burst of speed and physical prowess.  Seeing the little girl fly (well, crawl) by, Calvin lost interest in the sheep toy and decided to sit down.  I thought we had lost for sure, but, just like the twins before her, the little girl stopped mere inches from crossing the finish line, getting distracted by all the cheering. The second twin continued to happily play with the musical toy Sarah had slid onto the race track, and the other little boy continued to lie down at the start.
Sarah and Calvin are equally excited by his

It was time to bring out the big guns to win (second place).  Aside from the dogs’ water dish at home, there is one thing that always gets Calvin’s attention – cell phones.  Sarah implemented the controversial double-cell phone maneuver and got Calvin back on all fours in hot pursuit of both mommy AND daddy's cell phones, just in time to win the silver medal!  The little girl got third, and the other two babies got hugs from their parents.

For finishing second, Calvin won a Dr. Seuss book, some banana puffs, and a snack holder.  He also got his picture taken to appear on the Diaper Derby website for next year’s County Fair.  He did not win a trophy. Only the first place winner got to take home that prize.

Baby Champion and his mom
At least now when I'm closely supervising our super mobile baby, I know I'm chasing after a baby champion.

Monday, June 2, 2014

This Just Happened

Upon coming home:
Sean: Gus is very proud of himself.
me: What did he do?
Sean: You'll have to check Facebook.  It read: "Recently, Gus has been digging a lot of holes in seemingly random spots in the backyard... Today, he caught a shrew."
me: He caught a shrew?  How do you know?
Sean: I saw it.  And, I looked it up. 

Later in the evening:
Sean: Can we let the dog outside?  He’s being annoying.
me: No!  The shrew may still be there.
Sean: Can you go check?
me: Yep, he’s still there. 
Sean: Can we let Gus out?
me: No!  Gus will eat him!
Sean: Then, can you move the shrew?  Toss him to the neighbor’s yard!
me: No!
Sean: Then take him to the front yard. But not through the house.
me:  He probably just needs time to build his hole.
Sean: We gave him an hour!
me: It takes a long.  They’re little.
Sean: He’s built to dig!  Why don’t you just move him?
me: I’m not a shrew mover!
Sean: You’re a biologist!
me: That doesn’t make me a shrew catcher!  Why don’t you catch him?
Sean: I don’t want to!  I’m fine with letting Gus out.
me: I’m not!  I don’t want the shrew to get eaten.
Sean: I know. I think that makes it your problem.
me: No it doesn’t!
Sean: Just use the yogurt container that’s sitting there to scoop it up.
me: What if we just cover the shrew up with the grill so that he’s protected?
Sean: That might work.
me: Okay.  Hold Gus. I’m going out.  Oh, he’s not there!
Sean: Can I let Gus out?
me: Yes.

A few minutes later:
Sean: Gus is barking.
me: I’ll go check…..

A moment later:
Sean: Well? 

me: Let’s give the shrew 24 hours to make his hole. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Summary of the Hobbit/ Fellowship of the Ring by Sean Kienle

I meant to write an entry about our New Zealand trip, and then this happened.  Last night I was having trouble falling asleep (probably because we'd slept 15 hours after our return from New Zealand), and so I asked Sean to tell me a story.  What follows is Sean's late night re-telling of the Hobbit/ Fellowship of the Ring.

Sean: There is this short guy.  He lives in an underground house and is kind of a grouch.  He is perfectly content to live by himself and do nothing.  Then, this tall guy comes and he’s like, “Want to go on an adventure?” and the short guy’s like, “No.”  And then, the tall guy is like, “Are you sure?”, and he’s like “Yes, I’m sure.”  The tall guy is like “Okay!” and when the short guy shuts his door, the tall guy writes something on it.  Later, a medium guy shows up and says, “Hey, I’m here for the adventure”.  Then, more medium guys show up who are ready for the adventure. Then, they eat all of his food and sing a bunch of songs.  The tall guy, oh yeah, he’s there too, is like “Hey, we’re going on an adventure, and you’re coming too!”  And so they go on an adventure.  Later, the short guy, whose name is Bilbo, is back in his underground house, and there’s another short guy there named Frodo.  Bilbo’s like “I’m really old and dying, and you should have this ring.”  I guess the ring is from the first adventure, but I forgot to mention it.  And then, three other short guys join Frodo, not Bilbo, and they’re like “We need to take this ring somewhere.”  I don’t remember where.  Or, why they’re doing this at all. But, they do.  Then, they’re climbing a mountain, and Frodo’s like “Hey, I’m going to put this on”, and he disappears.  Then, grim reapers appear!  [Sarah: Wait, you forgot the part at the inn!  He doesn’t put on for the first time on the mountain. Sean: This is my story.  When do the grim reapers appear?  Sarah: I’m going to make a note.] Then, they run away, and apparently the grim reapers are really slow because they don’t catch them.  Instead of finding Gandalf, who was supposed to be there or something, they say, “Let’s go to the bar.” And the barkeeper is like, “We don’t serve your kind here.”  [Sarah: I think you’re just making things up now.”]  And then Frodo is like, “I’m going to fall off this barstool and become invisible.”  Then Vigo Mortensen is like “Hey short guys, come sleep in my room.”  And they’re all like ‘Definitely!” And they do.  Then the grim reapers show up and are going to stab them in the bed. And they do. But then it turns out they aren’t in the beds; they are on little horses…or something.  I don’t remember what happens.  Then they go to the river place, and all of these different people are arguing about something. The ring!  They are arguing about the ring, but I don’t remember what they are saying. A medium sized guy tries to hit the ring, and it doesn’t work like you think it should.  They have to put a ring in a volcano for some reason.  The short guys say, “We’re short!  So, we should do it!” Everyone else is like “We’ll go too!  It’ll be fun.”  And that’s how they sorted the Ringling Brothers (because of the ring).  But, not everybody went.  Some people were like, “We’re going to stay here because we can see the future.”  And then, because there are no cars, airplanes, or horses of different sizes, they decide to walk forever, like across the country.  And the tall guy, the wizard who is back for some reason, is like “Let’s walk up this snowy mountain.”  Everyone is like “Okay!”  Then, when they are half way up the mountain and its snowy, they say, “This sucks!  Let’s go somewhere else.”  The tall guy says, “It’s this or we can go into a dwarf tomb!”  And everyone says, “Tomb! Tomb!”  So, they go to the tomb and then it’s gross and creepy like you’d expect a tomb to be, and it’s like a maze, which sounds fun but isn’t.  They walk across a really unsafe bridge single file with no guardrails over a deep chasm. At the same time, they have to fight a whip monster that is on fire and has a whip.  The tall wizard decides to break the bridge, and he does.  But the monster gets him, and they fall until they land on top of a tall tower, which doesn’t make sense.  But wait!  You aren’t supposed to know that yet.  He dies.  Then they are sad for a few minutes.  And, come out of the tomb (which apparently is just a tunnel), and come to a giant lake.  One guy says, “You know who should be in charge of this ring?  Boramir.” [Sarah: Nobody says this!]  And Boramir agrees.  Then, I don’t know what happens.  Boramir gets killed, and the short guys sneak away.  Did I mention the short guys are called hobbits?  And that’s the story of the brotherhood of the ring.  The end.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mac Store Fun

Today we went to the Mac store to replace my computer charger.  While we were there, waiting for it to be replaced, I played with the iPad on the table next to me.  I noticed that the computer-owned iPad had two unread text messages.  Naturally, I looked at them.

The text messages read:

Random person: Hey!
Random person: Which beach do you want me to pick you up at?

So, again naturally (with some encouragement from Sean), I responded.

Me: Pacific Beach

And, to Sean and my surprise, random person responded.

Random person: Right now?
Random person: ??????
Me: Yes.
Random person: Okay.
Me: Can't wait to see you!

And, then we left the store.  We've been giggling about it ever since.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

George R.R. Martin is EVIL.

At the beginning of June, I (finally) started reading Game of Thrones (specifically Book 1) by George R. R. Martin.  Sean has already read the first three books.  I knew that something big happened at the end of Book 3 since a lot of people had posted about it on Facebook after that particular episode aired, and I figured that someone major had died. 

A couple of weeks ago the following conversation occurred.

me: Who dies at the end of book 3?
Sean: I'm not telling you that!  Why would I tell you that?
me: Is it Character X [i.e., one of my favorite characters]?
Sean: Noooooo.....

[To be fair, he did not do a long drawn out "Noooo", which everyone knows means "yes".  But, since I know him so well, I knew to look at his dimple, and since his dimple showed when he said "No", it meant he was lying.]

Sean: It's not him.  
me: It is.  I saw your dimple.
Sean: Ask me about someone else.
me: Is it Character Y?
Sean: No.  [See, the dimple thing didn't happen this time.  Then, I REALLY knew that Character X had died.]
me: It's Character X.  Your dimple told me.
Sean: Why did you ask?  
me: I can't believe you told me.  Stupid books. I didn't want to know.
Sean: You asked!
me: This is your fault.

Skip forward in time to last night.  Sean had gone to sleep, and I was reading Book 1.  All of a sudden, Character X appears to die, but I didn't think anything of it since I knew he/she survived until Book 3.  However, I wanted to confirm his/her aliveness with Sean. 

me: Sean, did Character X really die?

[Sean is asleep at this point.]

Sean: What?  
me: Is Character X dead?
Sean: Well, what just happened.
me: [Insert me telling him.]
Sean: Yes, Character X died.
me (now tears are welling up in my eyes): BUT YOU SAID HE DIDN'T DIE UNTIL BOOK 3!  
Sean: No, I thought I told you Character X died in this book.
me: NO!  I was prepared for Character X's death in Book 3.  Not NOW!  I thought it was not a real death!  I figured they had a really good look alike.  

[Tears were shed.  Sean had to comfort me.  He also laughed at me.]


[More tears were shed.  Sean still had to comfort me. He also was still laughing at me.]

Me: I know that I am crying over a fictional character.
Sean: It's not the first time.  And, it won't be the last.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Christmas Shenanigans

Oh yeah, we have a blog!  Who knew?

Sean and I did our usual hectic traveling over Christmas break.  For me, it wouldn't feel like Christmas without all the traveling since every Christmas since birth, my family has driven the 21 hours up to Illinois (and most years, Michigan) to visit our grandparents and extended family.  Sean, on the other hand, grew up staying in one place, but he is a good sport about all of the traveling (for the most part).

We left on December 17 in the evening.  I remember it was the afternoon because I took the GRE test in the morning, so it really felt like Christmas break when we got on that plane.  This particular test scheduling could have been good (i.e. I did really well) or bad (i.e. I did not do really well); luckily, it turned out well for all involved!  Our first stop of our Christmas traveling was Louisville, Colorado to see our Kienle family.  They promptly got snow, which I appreciate since I only have to deal with it for two weeks every year. 

One of my absolute favorite things about the Kienle house is that I have a pair of slippers that stay there year round (so does Sean), and when we come visit, Lisa (my mother in law) puts them out by the bed.  We also eat VERY well.  Much better than we were eating at home for the previous week since Sean and I had purposely not gone grocery shopping.  A lot of "what can we make out of what is left in the fridge?" meals were had that particular week.

One morning I woke up and said, "Sean, did you hear something breaking?"  Sean said, "No."  So, I went back to sleep (which is quite typical), and Sean got up (which is also quite typical).  As soon as he stepped out the door, he came back in and said, "Sarah, you need to come see this."  

The giant, hand-axed down Christmas tree had plummeted downward spraying needles EVERYWHERE.  Sean and I therefore answered the age old question: If a tree falls down in the living room, does it make a sound?

Just in case you thought I was lying!

The answer is YES, and it makes a gigantic mess!  In other news, Lisa won this year's Kienle Family Competition.  In order for me to win, I need there to be a lot less bowling and a lot more flexibility-based competitions.

Because we are not yet at the financial point where we can choose flights based on convenience rather than price, the entire Kienle family was up at 4am to take us to our super early flight to Austin, Texas the day after Christmas.  Daniel must love Sean a whole bunch, because I don't think I would get up that early to get on a flight to see my sisters' off....I say that, but I think I did do that for Madison at one point.  But I promptly swore "NEVER AGAIN!" afterwards.

After a fun airport game of what-gate-do-you-actually-want-us-at-and-how-much-longer-are-you-going-to-delay-our-flight, we made it to Texas.  I almost didn't recognize our ride, because the minivan was not (yet) decked out in its holiday attire of Christmas lights and reindeer antlers + nose.  

We celebrated our Stachura Christmas that night, and, most importantly, I got to see my adorable nephew who I hadn't seen in 7 months.  Sean hadn't seen him since the week of his birth, so I guess he wins that particular contest.

Two days later, we did our annual road trip up to Farmer City, Illinois.  I've perfected the art of sleeping in the car, so between sleeping, knitting, reading, and some TV show watching, we made it up to Illinois.  Of course we stopped at Lambert's, Home of the Throwed (yes, I spelled that correctly) Rolls.  A road trip up (and back) would not be complete without it.  

On New Year's Eve we snuck alcohol in to my grandparent's farm house (I'm not too worried they find out, since neither of them are on the Internet.  Don't you dare tell them!).  This was a family effort, and my aunt, uncle, parents, sisters, cousins, and Sean and I were careful to hide all of the evidence!  Because I was sick with a bad cold, as soon as it hit midnight I was in bed.  It was a struggle to stay up that late.  I blame it on being ill, NOT on being old.  

Mom and Dad drove Sean and me to Chicago to catch our respective flights.  Sean flew from Midway back to San Diego, and I flew from O'Hare to San Francisco for a conference.  But that's a whole other story....

The moral of this particular adventure was that my suitcase weighed 49 pounds on the way to Colorado and only 47 on the way back to San Diego.  Therefore, I did not get nearly enough presents this Christmas.   What a bust!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Day in the Life of Our Pets: Part 2

Gus did not like that Teddy went first (see Part One).  And he definitely didn't want THE CAT [Zorro] to get any attention, so here it is.  

We don't have a consistent voice we use for Gus.  It's usually an excited boy voice.  Make up your own.  

A Day in the Life of our Pets: Gus's Story

Wake up at 6:15am.  Look at Sean.  Go back to sleep.  Sometimes sleep is more important than pets.

Wake up at 8:05am to alarm.  Ready to get up.  Sarah does not.  Need Sarah to let me out of my cabin [crate] so I can start my day.  Bark at Sarah.  She ignores me.  Bark at Sarah again.  She ignores me.  Bark at Sarah again.  She ignores me.  Alarm goes off at 8:15am.  She gets up.  

Run out of crate.  No time for pets.  Scratch at dog door.  Sarah opens dog door.  Hurl myself out of dog door.  I think a herd of wild animals came through the yard last night.  I must identify all of them by their scent. 

I smell things.  I smell more things.  Sometime when I smell things that are really good, I bark.  Most days there are lots of really good smells.  I re-smell all the good smells, and bark again.

See THE CAT jump over the fence.  Good riddance.  No more THE CAT.

Faintly hear Sarah blabbering.  Decide unimportant.  Ignore Sarah.  Go into house for breakfast.  Look for Sarah.  No Sarah.  More importantly, no breakfast.  Wish instead of blabbering, Sarah had told me it was breakfast time.  See bowl on top of fridge.  Too high to get with jumping.  Must practice more.  Drink water.

Teddy stands beside door.  He stole my spot.  Push him out of the way.  Decide door unexciting.

Sleep on couch.  Wait for sun to hit backyard. 

Once sun in backyard, go outside and sleep in sun.  Must recharge.  Beagles are solar-powered.  

Sniff things.  Bark.  Go inside.  Sleep on couch.

Sniff things.  Bark.  Go back outside.  Sleep in sun.  

Sniff things.   Bark.  Look for escape routes.  There are none.  Will check tomorrow.  Bark.  Go inside.  Sleep on couch.

Sean comes home.  He didn't pet me right away.  Barked at Sean.  Got pets.  Sean sat on couch.  Jumped in his lap.  Got pets.  Sean got out computer.  Shoved it with my feet.  Got pets.  

Sarah comes home.  Ran to edge of couch.  Jump on Sarah.  Get pets.  Sarah sits on couch.  Jumped in her lap.  Got pets.  Sarah got out computer.  Shoved it with my feet.  Got laughed at and shoved to floor.

Sarah and Sean put on running clothes.  Get really excited!  Run around their feet to encourage them to go faster.  Try to steal a sock.  No luck.  Push them to the front door.  Sean puts on harness.  Try to make him put it on wrong by moving a lot.  Doesn't work.  

Teddy gets to go out door first.  No fair.  Barked at Sarah and Sean to let them know I'm unhappy.  Teddy gets to smell things on the driveway first.  No fair.  Barked at Sarah and Sean to let them know I'm unhappy.  Teddy gets to pee in the gravel first.  No fair.  Barked at Sarah and Sean to let them know I'm unhappy.  Pee in gravel too.  

Start running.  Yay!  Keep running.  Yay!  Smell things while running.  Yay!  Wait, we're done running?  Thought we had only begun, but Sarah and Sean drag me back into house.  I wasn't done running.  

Drink water.  Get pets from Sean while Sarah showers.

Start barking for food.  Sarah ignores me.  Shove both feet into my empty bowl to indicate no food.  Sarah ignores me.  Turn bowl upside down to indicate no food.  She doesn't understand.  Bang on bowl like drum to indicate no food.  She ignores me.  Go outside in frustration.

Faintly hear Sarah blabbering.  Decide to go inside.  Food time!  Put butt on floor for food.  Run to food.  Eat food as fast as I can.  Check to see if Teddy left anything behind.  He didn't.  Drink water.

Follow Sean around kitchen.  Wait for him to leave something by the edge of the counter.  He does.  Jump once to scout it out.  Jump twice and lunge to grab it.  Run like lightening to dog door and take it outside.  Hear Sean blabbering.  Unimportant.  Butter is good.

Look adorable while Sarah and Sean eat dinner.  Even balance on back two feet.  Sarah and Sean are not properly appreciative.  Don't want pets.  Want food.

THE CAT comes in.  Wait!  I thought THE CAT knew not to come back.  Bark at THE CAT.  Will attack THE CAT if Sarah and Sean want.  Sarah picks up THE CAT.  She must not know that THE CAT is not for petting.  Bark at THE CAT.  Jump at THE CAT.  Get yelled at.  

Go outside.  Bark at neighbor's dogs.  Continue barking.  Go inside.  Check to make sure THE CAT isn't being pet.

Once no food is on counter or table, go to Gus-Chair with Gus-Blanket.  Circle around on blanket several times.  It always gets folded funny.  Make into good bed.  Lay in bed.  

Hear doorbell.  Run to door.  Bark loudly!  Turns out we don't have a doorbell.  Get into Gus-Chair with Gus-Blanket.  

Hear knock on door.  Run to door.  Bark loudly!  Turns out nobody is at the door.  Get into Gus-Chair with Gus-Blanket.  

Sleep.  Check to make sure THE CAT is not being pet.  Continue sleeping.  

Go outside on leash.   Use bathroom.  Go inside and run to my cabin [crate].  Get bedtime snacks.

Lay down.  Bark at neighbor dogs from my cabin [crate] to assert dominance.

Sleep.  Snore.

Good day!