Sunday, August 31, 2008


As Olivia's vocabulary expands, so does her entertainment value. She really does speak well for a 2 1/2 year old but some of the little twists she puts on things are pretty funny. Here are a few of my faves:

Tater totter - we have a teeter totter on the swingset that Olivia has confused with her favorite fried potato snack. "I want to ride the tater totter."
Tootlip gloss - Aunt Patti bought Olivia some little tubes of lip gloss for Christmas. When she loses her lipgloss she asks, "Where's my tootlip gloss?"

Wig-ear: ahh the glorious time of year when the creepy crawly earwigs invade your home. If Olivia sees one she screams, "Look mom! A wig-ear!"

When we were pulling into the bank's parking lot the other day, she said, "Oh, we're at the piggy bank?"

Root "beard" - her favorite soda to steal from daddy.

Pirate talk - we found a pirate hat and sword at a garage sale. A few days ago in the car she was wearing the hat and we hear, "Arrrrgh matie. I want a jelly bean" coming from the back seat.

Shlippery Sloap - she wants to wash her hands all the time and use her "shlippery sloap" I hope she doesn't turn out to have OCD. The little lisp she gets when talking about her soap is so cute and reminds me of the Brady Bunch episodes when "the youngest one in curls" has a lisp. What was her name? She had to repeat over and over, "Suzy (something) seashells by the seashore."

We have a book from the library that has all sorts of flowers in it. She can name all of the flowers now...rose, iris, tulip ("tootlip"), daisy, sunflower, lily, morning glory, and zinnias ("ginnias").

Probally/cuz - everything is probally instead of probably and cuz instead of because. She'll also pause after a sentence and add, "anyways..." which, if you read my posts, I say (write) quite often.

She's learning how to say her friends' names correctly. Here are a few examples of the way it sounds and the actual name:

Sippy = Sidney

Quiet = Wyatt

Wheeler = Taylor

Sara = Cierra

Krisfofor = Kristofor

Hayla = Makayla

Deff = Beth

Physically, she is changing also. She can now walk up and down steps without holding my hand or a railing. She is beginning to learn to dress/undress herself. She tries to put her shoes on and of course, on the wrong foot. EVERYTHING is "I can do it myself."

Her bedtime routine has also become a bit more detailed. Inevitably, after we read the books (at least 2-3) and sing songs (never less than 2), she suddenly has a boo boo and needs a "baybaid." "What kind of band-aid" we'll ask. "Bunge Bob (Sponge Bob) baybaid." She also insists on being gently tickled while I sing. She thrust an arm, or expose her belly, or stick a leg in my face depending on what she wants tickled. Last night I was singing "Lullaby" to her, and when I sang, "go to sleep little baby..." Olivia corrected me and said, "I'm not a baby. I'm a big girl."

The final funny thing that we've just noticed is she's making up nonsense words now. The "gooblededictylop" this or that. Then she krinkles her nose and laughs in spite of herself. She fancies herself quite clever when she invents these words. She's got a great imagination and it's just a matter of time before she dreams up an imaginary friend too. Then they can speak the gobledygoop language to each other. Never a dull moment around here!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

And the Winner Is...


George accepted their offer this morning, even before hearing the crappy offer Memphis put together for him. Their justification was that they considered it a lateral transfer so there was essentially no pay increase. That just confirms that we made the right decision.

The bad news is...the moving company can't move us for 3-4 weeks so we'll be in temporary housing without our stuff for a month. If it was just George and I, not a big deal. I'm just trying to figure out how we'll do that with kids - not having their toys and their furniture. Maybe we'll just buy them a few new things to play with once we get there? I'm sure it will all work out one way or another. The plus side is that we'll have plenty of time to find a nice place to live and we don't have to stress about squeezing in a house-hunting trip in the next week. So, we'll have to get busy weeding through the junk we have lying around that's not worth taking or needs to be thrown away. I also need to put on my thinking cap and figure out what the 4 of us need to bring to Philly on the plane. I think I'll need more suitcases!
George will be working in King of Prussia, PA, home to the largest shopping mall on the East Coast! You know I'll be having fun window shopping there! I keep imagining it as Pennsylvania's answer to the Mall of the Americas. Yahooey!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

This Way or That

Well I thought we were going to Philly...they counter-offered yesterday and it was a more than reasonable increase, suprisingly so, actually. They must really want him. Apparently, so does Memphis. He called the HR person yesterday to withdraw himself from consideration since he was planning on taking the PPD position. She was so flabbergasted that he was considering other positions that she mentioned she would try and get him a job offer over the phone, sight unseen. The Memphis interview thing has been such a fiasco and it seemed as though they were dragging their feet - his initial phone interview was on July 10th! I don't think either of us thought she was serious about foregoing the interview and coming through with an offer, but...George heard today that they are planning on contacting him with an offer tomorrow morning. He still hasn't received his offer letter from PPD yet so this puts us in a really good position to have two offers in hand and make the best choice.

We also had someone come look at the house last night. One of George's coworkers and her family moved here from Cali about 6 months ago and their lease in town is up. She has two little boys - one who is starting kindergarten, and another who is almost two. They are interested in starting to move in middle of the month, as soon as we vacate. That's a great relief to us. Our landlords have been wonderful and we'd love for them to rent the house again immediately without any lapse in rental time. George called him today and updated him so hopefully he's contacted Tanya already.

We also put the Corolla and the tractor up for sale last night. A couple has already called about coming down to get the car tomorrow night for their daughter. So, things are moving right along. Now if we only knew if were headed to Memphis or Philly...

More on that tomorrow!

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Offer

The Philly job offer came in on Friday. The salary was the very bottom of the range George specified, though it did include full relocation, including one vehicle, a house-hunting trip, and one month of temporary housing if needed. After reviewing our expenses and budget, we determined we couldn't make it in Philly on his income alone so he called them this morning with his counter offer. It included a significantly higher salary plus a signing bonus. So, we'll see what they do with it. The HR person said he would probably hear back from her by Wednesday. That also gives us a few more days to see if an offer comes in from the Red Cross.
Ahh, the joys of salary negotiation. Seems to me that his job search is too much like shopping for a new car. It should be fun and exciting, but it really ends up being a sucky process and inevitably you end up feeling taken advantage of despite your best efforts to be prepared and drive a hard bargain. George thinks that HR people and car salesmen are basically the same breed of people. This process makes me think he's right.

On a brighter note, George's mom was visiting this weekend. She arrived on Friday evening and we had a nice birthday dinner for George. Saturday we spent some time at the Farmer's Market followed by a trip to her favorite quilt shop and lunch. Sunday we ventured out to KMart so she could buy Nate some birthday presents. We also spent some time outside Sunday evening. George was busy in the yard, raking and setting off smoke bombs to kill the moles. He found several nice, big, juicy worms for Olivia to play with. Olivia was so excited that she ran up to show Nanni, who didn't share her enthusiasm for the slimy little things. "Look Nanni! Look what me found! It's a sweet wormy worm. It's so sweet. And a baby worm too." I asked her what their names were. She decided to call the big one "Mr. Wormy Worm." "What about the baby one?" I asked. "Tootie" she replied. We all got a giggle.

In case you're wondering because of Olivia's outfit, no, it's not cold in Montana already. We had a few chilly days last week and ever since, Olivia has insisted on wearing a coat AND hat when she goes outside, even if it's 80. Gotta love the iron will of a two year old.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Long Few Days

This round of interviews is over. Whew! I realize I say that like I'M the one who was being interviewed and is all worn out by the process, but in fact, I am worn out. It's hard taking care of two little ones without any help! Oh, and they missed their daddy. Olivia got to talk to him on the phone several times. She told him to be a "good boy on the airplane and have fun, ok daddy?" After Nate got to "talk" to daddy, he kept going to the mudroom door saying, "da da. da da" (That's the door George enters through when he comes home from work.) All day yesterday Olivia was whining about seeing her daddy. We shopped till we dropped, ate dinner at the Cracker Barrel, and finished the day with a trip to the mall to play on the choo-choo. Nate was so funny. He just trotted around, trying to keep up with the bigger kids, and climbed up the stairs to the choo-choo look out at the top of the slide. He played peek-a-boo and giggled, giggled, giggled. We got drenched three different times. Yeah, I picked a great day to haul kids in and out of stores. We checked into the hotel, had bathtime, then tried to settle to sleep. Nate had a really hard time. Once I got him to sleep, I laid down with Livy. She fell asleep pretty quickly. George arrived shortly after midnight, then had to get up early for his interview. While he was interviewing, I got the kids dressed, loaded the car, finished a few errands and then we met for lunch.

So, anywho...both interviews went well and he'll probably be getting the offer from Philly on Tuesday. He is scheduled to talk to the HR person at the Red Cross tomorrow morning. He thinks both jobs would be good, but definitely seems more excited about the Philly job, although staying here in MT would be nice. He flies to Memphis on Friday, 9/5 and back that Sunday. Nice of them to schedule his interview on his day off and use the weekend for travel time so he goes right back to work that Monday. Gee, thanks.

I'll post again when I have more information!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

PPD in Philly

George's plane just arrived in Philly. The Lab Manager is taking him to dinner tonight and his formal interview is tomorrow morning, followed by lunch with the interview team. Then he flies back to Missoula, arriving at 11:30pm. Since he has the American Red Cross interview on Thursday at 10am, we decided to get a hotel room up there tomorrow night so I could have clean clothes for him and he wouldn't have to drive all the way to Hamilton, then back to Missoula first thing the next morning.

I'm planning to take the kids to a nice park up there that has a spraypool and wading pool, then maybe out to dinner at my favorite place, the Cracker Barrel. There's lots of fun things to do in Missoula so we'll keep busy, fall into the bed exhausted, and wake up to daddy.

George will return to work Friday and Saturday, have Sunday off, then work Monday and fly to Memphis on Tuesday for his Wednesday interview at GSK. They couldn't get the video conference equipment to work so they finally decided just to fly him down.

Well, I promise to keep you updated as more details become available!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Job Search

As many of you know, George has been busy looking for new gainful employment. He's pretty disenchanted with his current situation and who could blame him? After taking a pretty steep pay cut AND having to sit around most days with not enough to do, he's over it. I've been emailing some of you updates on the job search but I think I might just start posting updates on the blog for those of you that are interested. I'll catch you up to speed as best I can... I'll just do it alphabetically by location.
Bozeman, MT: In-person interview 8/8. Seemed very positive. Next step is to meet with the owners who actually make the job offer. As of today, they are still deciding who to bring back. Bozeman is a great city and only 30 minutes from his folks. The down side is that it is really expensive to live there. Rent is similar to what we paid in Seattle. We would likely live about 10 miles away in Belgrade if he was offered the job.
King of Prussia, PA: Just outside Philly, this is a position working in a GSK facility but he would be employed by a different company that is based in Madison, WI and has 10,000 employees nationwide. We could put in a few years there and then transfer to some place more desirable, like Madison. He also thinks this job has great advancement potential. He's flying there on Tuesday, interviewing Wednesday and then flying back that night. Supposedly they'd want him out there to start by 9/8. Not sure how that would happen!
Memphis, TN: Transfer position. Video conference interview has been rescheduled several times due to technical difficulties with the video conferencing equipment in Memphis. Was supposed to interview today, but now it's looking like it will either be Monday the 18th, or they'll just fly him down to interview. Upside to this job is that he would keep his current benefits/retirement package and because they make only OTC products (Poli-dent, Tums, Goody's Headache Powder, BC Powder) it would be more stable.
Missoula, MT: This job is with the Red Cross just an hour north of where we live now. He will either be interviewing late next week some time or early the following week. This job includes 25-30% in state travel.
So, who knows what the next month holds for us! Keep checking back for more updates!

A Laugh (or two) A Day!

Yesterday, Olivia had me laughing hysterically several times. That's the beauty of kids. They're built-in entertainment. Usually when I laugh at something she says, she gets irritated and barks, "Don't be funny at me!" Yesterday, she seems to take great delight in the laughter she provoked.

The first incident occurred when I was changing her diaper. It was a poopy one and somehow I got some on my hand, and then somehow I got some from my hand onto hers. I said, "Ew, yuk! I got some poopy on your hand. I'm sorry." She looked at her hand, then at me, and full of exasperation said, "Jee-sus." I started to laugh, and then she started to giggle, and then I couldn't stop laughing.

After dinner, George was down the hall and called out to me in the living room, "Hey, do you want to go get some I-C-E C-R-E-A-M? (He actually spelled it out, letter by letter). I must have agreed, then Olivia said, "I want one!" I asked, "what do you want" knowing full well she couldn't know what he was talking about. She replied matter of factly, "an I-C-E-C!" Again, more laughter. Incredible! She *IS* the sharpest knife in the drawer!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Bear Creek Hike

On Sunday afternoon, we loaded up and drove about 10 miles north to the Bear Creek trailhead for a hike. We've never done anything like this with the kids before, but we heard that it's a nice, easy hike that ends with a waterfall. I bought a used baby backpack last week, and we borrowed another from a friend. George carried Livy and I packed Nate. Charlie Murph came too.

We'd stop along the way and pick whatever ripe berries were there: raspberries, a few huckleberries, currants. I saw elk poop! It looks just like deer poop, but bigger (in case you were wondering). George is a fount of knowledge when it comes to identifying plants, berries, sounds of animals along the trail. He really keeps things interesting. Olivia just had a blast eating berries and riding along. Nate started to get a little antsy toward the end of the hour plus hike in, pulling my hair and playing with my hat. When we reached the falls, we settled down to eat some dinner and take in the beautiful scenery.

Livy was running all over the place, climbing big rocks and splashing in the water. I helped Nate dip his toes in the icy cold water. He liked it! Charlie also kept busy exploring. It was a beautiful place and we spent about an hour there relaxing and enjoying ourselves.

On the hike back down, George stopped at a natural spring gurgling out of the mountainside and refilled our water bottles with delicious, fresh water. Again, we looked for more berries for Olivia to enjoy. We got absolutely filthy on the hike, but it was a great way to spend a summer afternoon. We're looking forward to hiking again soon!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Olivia's 1/2 Birthday

Olivia is 2 ½ today and Nate is exactly 11 months old. I’m hoping to get Olivia potty trained this month, starting after we get from Livingston next weekend. I got some helpful tips from other mommies in my group and so I’m actually getting excited about this new phase. I’ve decided to make Olivia the “Potty Princess” and incorporate that theme to make the training more fun for both of us. I bought her a princess crown that she only gets to wear on her “throne” and a princess coloring pad that she can use to pass the time. So far, she’s been really into her coloring pad, but the novelty of the crown has already faded. I’ve heard that potty training can be hard work and requires a lot of patience. I’ll give it my best shot. It sure would be nice to only have one child in diapers.

This 2 ½ year old is certainly a chatterbox. She’s entering the phase where she’s full of questions. Often it pertains to names of people in the family. Her favorite line of questioning as of late goes something like this, “What’s your name? What’s your mommy’s name? What’s your daddy’s name? What’s his dog’s name?” Or “what sound does an angel make? What sound does a robot make?” She often chatters to herself when she’s playing alone outside or in her room. Definitely starting to see the imagination bloom. Yesterday she was outside playing in the sandbox just having a little conversation with no one in particular. Then she came to the door asking, “Mommy Kitty Cat, can I come in? Meow.” That’s her other new favorite thing. Pretending she’s “something,” and I’m the mommy “something.” She’s also very into telling us her emotions. Unfortunately, I’m hearing a lot of “Mommy, you’re making me angry!” I guess I’m glad she’s in touch with her emotions. She better get REAL in touch with that one (anger at mom) because I’m sure it only gets worse with time. “Mean ‘ol mommy” as she says when I correct Charlie. She doesn’t like me talking sternly to anyone, including her puppy. Well, excuuuse me!

Oh, little Nate. Getting to be such a big boy. He has 4 teeth now and is attempting to walk all over the place. He had a bit of a setback with walking last week when he was sick. We definitely saw a decrease in his walking following that. As of yesterday though, he seems to have picked right back up where he left off. He’s pointing at things he wants, shaking his head “yes” and waving hello. He’s a bottomless pit when it comes to meal times, often using both hands to shovel the food in. Little ringlets are forming in the back of his hair. So adorable. He gives kisses now too. They are the funny, open mouth kind and he moves his head towards our mouth in an abrupt pecking motion. He is such a little lover boy.

So that’s the update. Things change daily though so keep checking back.