Sunday, December 30, 2007

Environmental Consciousness for the Underachiever

After Ethan was born, we bought a jogging stroller. I had high hopes of actually jogging with it, but we've found we mostly use it for walks to the park and around the neighborhood. I had been wanting a pedometer to measure my walks since the speedometer/odometer that came with our fancy stroller measures in kilometers (only!), and I'm not 100% sure it works. It is nice to know I'm strolling at 10 km/hr, but it's not really useful information.

I had a pleasant surprise, then, when my sister-in-law and brother gave me what must be the Godfather of all pedometers, if it can even be classified as a pedometer. I think it's actually a high-tech training device for athletes. You know, ultra long distance runners, bikers who regularly traverse states, etc. Not one to be intimidated by looking silly in front of triathletes, I charged the thing up, popped it on my wrist and took a walk... to the grocery store, exactly 1.06 miles from home. This brings me to the point of my post, which is actually about being socially responsible, and my hidden desire to live in a community where people walk to work, to school, to the bank and grocery store. We lived in New York City for a while, and walked just about everywhere. Except Harlem and the Bronx Zoo.

I started thinking about how many places I can walk in our neighborhood; it's not exactly Manhattan, but it is conducive to walking. Within a mile, I can count a grocery store, our bank, our pharmacy, our pediatrician, our dentist :), a mom-and-pop gourmet coffee shop, a massage parlor, a passel of expensive boutiques, salons and antique stores, a pastry shop, a park with playground, a church or two... even Matt's favorite Chinese place. Within a couple of miles, we've got a library, a post office, my doctor, both hospitals, a bunch of fast food, barbershops, dollar stores, more antique places, a couple of schools. It's incredible. I'm thinking about going without my car for a week. Except for walking to work (not crazy about that idea at 5 in the morning or at 7:30 p.m. after a 12-hr shift), I think I could pretty much get where I need to go by foot. And this is good, because I don't recycle anything except for aluminum cans, and I do throw away a lot of plastic bags and diapers.

I wonder if the extra gas money saved would make up for shopping at the expensive grocery store? Maybe. The real question is, will I save more money by not being able to get to the mall, or will I end up shopping at the boutiques? Good thing Stein Mart is close.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sweepstakes Update: Google, The Evil Empire?

So, from time to time I enter sweepstakes. And I rarely win things, but at least now I know why: Google. In Google's quest to rule the internet, they've added one more weapon to their arsenal: breaking people down by depriving them of hard-won sweepstakes prizes. I won a Jimeale diaper bag. However the prize notification e-mail went into my spam, along with the follow-up letter which went something like this: "If you don't respond by midnight tonight, we'll give your diaper bag to someone else, slacker!" Not really, but I wrote back anyway, a week late, hoping there would still be a cute bag sitting around with my name on it. There wasn't, but they offered me a consolation prize. So, no hard feelings toward Cool Mom Picks. Further update to follow. Meanwhile I will brood on my love-hate relationship with Google as I blog, search, organize and share photos, track internet traffic, and write content for ad-heavy web pages, all thanks to Google.

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Kinder, Gentler Rant

Every so often, I read political blogs. Unfortunately, they often seem to be rants, and these rants come from all sectors… rants about how the US middle class is causing global warming, and rants about how Al Gore is mistaken (and we shouldn’t believe anything he says because he didn’t really invent the internet anyway); rants about how good things are happening in Iraq and rants about how bad things are happening in Iraq, and both are probably true, just as good and bad things have been happening in that area of the world for at least 4,000 years. Sometimes, I even get caught up in comment threads where people conduct virtual arguments, picking at semantics and occasionally making insightful and even brilliant points. One thing I’ve noticed is the intense contempt some of these writers have for anyone who doesn’t share their opinions… and this in turn makes me respect them less. I try to see their viewpoint, but frankly, it’s hard. I imagine it would be just as hard for them to see mine.

It makes me wonder, as I read a rant with which I disagree, if the labels were reversed, would the content really change? Or would it just be another rant? In other words, I think we would be much better served by constructive problem-solving, rather than by blaming large groups of others for the world’s problems. Instead, the issue at hand is always someone else’s fault.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

2007 Christmas Letter and Photo

For those of you whose in-boxes were full, we've devised another way to foist our year-end thoughts upon you... the 2007 Morrison Christmas Letter and Photo. (If you give something a grand title, it makes it that much more auspicious.)


There’s a lot of balancing involved in writing a good Christmas letter: how to avoid sounding boastful without being boring, how to avoid the presumption of assuming you want to know all about our lives without completely ignoring you… it goes on and on. Then, just as I’ve decided not to write, I get a delightful letter from a friend, and I’m encouraged to go ahead and let you know what’s up, despite all the ambiguous feelings I have about this sort of thing. Here goes:

Due to the birth of our sweet son Ethan, the year passed in a blur. I’m not really sure what else happened, but he was definitely a highlight. Ethan weighed in at 8lbs, 7oz, on January 25, sometime after 4 pm. After several weeks of insomnia and resultant psychosis, our lives settled into a nice routine, and we are so grateful to God for the joy of having a little one around. He rolled over early, crawled at about an average age, and said “Dada” for months before finally mouthing the word “Mama”. Music to my ears. His little hugs, smiles and laughs make up for all the spit up and dirty diapers he’s managed to produce over the past 11 months.

Everything else that happened this year seems to be a little overshadowed by the whole firstborn son thing. We’ll try to dredge the recesses of our memories, however:

Both Matt and Ethan were baptized on the same day in April. It brings a sweet ache to my heart even thinking about it now.

Matt graduated from UT Tyler in May with a BS in Computer Information Systems, and went to work for Vann Pumping Systems shortly thereafter. This allowed me to cut back from three to one to two days a week as a labor and delivery nurse. Ethan loves having Mommy at home, but when I’m at work he either stays with Dad, with Marmee, with Grandmommy, or with a family from church. Matt also continues to work as a houseparent one weekend a month at Breckenridge Village, where Ethan charms his special friends with his slobber and smiles.

I reached a big milestone this month by completing half of my 48-hour Master’s degree, an MS in Nursing that will allow me to sit for the Family Nurse Practitioner boards, and bring me a couple of steps closer to an eventual goal of becoming a certified nurse-midwife. Don’t ask how exactly. It’s complicated. I also continued to drill as a Navy Reserve Nurse Corps officer one weekend a month. I enjoy the training, and have memorized more acronyms than should be humanly possible. Not to mention, I finally got dog tags and get to wear camouflage and combat boots.

We so enjoy hearing from all of you throughout the year and especially now when everyone’s so motivated to send letters. What’s up with that anyway?

Matt just read our letter and registered his approval with, “It looks pretty good, actually.” So, I guess my job here is done. We’d like to close with one final thought as we focus on Christ’s birth:

“Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift.”
With love and joy,
Matt, Elisa and Ethan Morrison

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ethan Meets Santa

We had other shots, but this one is classic. I'd love to know what Ethan is thinking... "Is that beard real? Should I pull it?"

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Question

My brother Marti has recently (and unwittingly) introduced me to a geeky comic strip called xkcd. In honor of the fact that I have finished half of my Master's, and therefore have time to goof off and do things like this, I offer my own parody, followed by a few favorites:










Sunday, December 16, 2007

Checking Out the Tree

No News Is Good News

We haven't posted in a while. No excuse except things like an 11-month-old, Christmas shopping, finishing up Pharmacotherapeutics, raking most of the leaves in the yard into ten huge bags and mulching the rest, preparing scholarship and student loan applications, going to drill one weekend, then Lubbock the next. Yep. Lubbock, as in 8 hours from here with a baby in the back seat. Ethan's actually a good traveler, so we had a nice trip.

A note on the Pharm class: It's not that I didn't learn much about drugs, because I did, but what I really learned was how little I know about medications. I really don't give many on L&D... about the same ten drugs. As for the rest, I'll just have to cozy up to one of those nice little PDA programs.

Monday, November 19, 2007

More Jewelry

Some recent pieces:



Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sweepstakes and the Like

I'm a sucker for sweepstakes. Not the Publisher's Warehouse kind, though, the real ones. You know, where you win real things. I have entered countless drawings and giveaways... from Eddie Bauer to the grocery store to Helzberg Diamonds to the HGTV Dream Home, and (more recently) Lexus. And in the past 10 years I have won, um, one $25 gift card to Amazon.com. It was worth it, though, because I bought two great knitting books. So, on a nearly daily basis, I go to HGTV Pro and enter their daily drawing for contractor gadgets... because if I win it and I don't want it, I can always list it on eBay. And besides, they had a GPS for the car up the other day, and I really could use one of those. All this to say, I have added a button for the Cool Mom Picks Holiday Guide. It's a trade-off. They get advertising, and I have the thrill of entering yet another giveaway. I really do like the Cool Mom newsletter (makes me feel cool, too!), and besides, they have these fun little things where you can enter a drawing for some cool item if you go to the other site and find the answer to a question about the product. (I know it! I'm a sucker for advertising!)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Friday, November 9, 2007

What I'm Reading or Have Read Lately

Night by Elie Wiesel
Pharmacology for Nursing Care by Richard A. Lehne
The Infinite Plan by Isabel Allende

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Art, Sort Of

Art takes many forms. I've recently been perfecting the art of the perfect Cherry Italian Cream Soda. Here's my take on it:

2 parts Club soda
1 part Grenadine
1 part half n half

Pour the club soda over ice in a tall glass. Add the grenadine. Float the half n half on the soda mixture. Top with whipped cream.

I think Kahlua would be good instead of grenadine, but then it wouldn't be an Italian Cream Soda...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Bedecked

I'm learning to make jewelry with wire, shells, and semi-precious stones. I can't wait to get the right tools and upgrade to sterling silver and freshwater pearls (among my favorite natural materials, because they're not all round). So, I'm practicing technique and macro photography. Any Christmas gift requests, send 'em my way while I'm still buying materials.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Go Figure

So, now the average on that exam is back up to 84. Felt good while it lasted. As they say in Monterrey, Ni modo.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Now in a Less Sour Mood

The class average is down to 61 on that same exam, improving my perspective slightly.

Things You Don't Need

Having made a mere 80 on my recent Pharmacotherapeutics exam, I felt in a slightly sour mood, so I'm offering a list of Things You Don't Need Which Are For Sale Anyway:
1. Hypnotic aquarium with fake jellyfish
2. iPod case made from a cassette tape I have to admit, it's a nice recycling idea anyhow.
3. Heat-activated wall paper
4. A toothbrush that costs $169.95

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Couldn't Resist

Three of my favorite people. :) It's such a great photo, I couldn't resist.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

What We Did Last Night

We saw Collective Soul and Live in concert last night... enjoyed both bands, probably because they played their popular songs (translate: the ones I've heard), but Live was definitely the better live band (ha! would be ironic if they weren't), and Collective Soul... dare I say it?... really sounds better recorded, at least from what we heard last night.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Finished Project

I've finally finished a project for Ethan; I'd started a quilt, and some baby blocks, and have the supplies to smock him a romper... but knitting is definitely the fastest (and therefore, most quickly rewarding).

Things That Make Me Laugh

Some things Ethan does/likes that crack me up:
1. He loves to watch the bathwater go down the drain... he crawls over and has occasionally put his face so close he snorts water up his nose (only temporarily distressing).
2. He loves the cat, so much so that whenever he sees Bunter his little hands clench up in fists, he kicks his feet, and his whole body goes stiff.
3. He loves to drink leftover cereal milk from a spoon (I suspect it's because I eat Raisin Bran with sugar on the raisins).
4. He thinks fake sneezes, coughs, and animal sounds are wildly hilarious.
5. He finds anything remotely electronic fascinating, especially digital clocks.
6. He loves pictures of babies, including the one on the yogurt container. He tries to give kisses, getting so close to it his little eyes cross, and he's drooled all over about half the pages in my baby knitting books, because they all have pictures of adorable babies (in handknits, of course).

People tell me it gets so much more fun when children can talk. It's hard to imagine it could get any more fun.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Pic of the Day

Ethan at my parents' house. If you look closely, you can see the two bottom teeth; he's got four more on top.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Getting Out

I've read that it's good to get out when you have a baby. I'm sure it is; the whole range of effort required, mental, emotional and physical, makes it more than a difficult exercise. Today, I persevered through the mental battle (should I go? should I stay home? should I take a walk instead?) and made it out to the car, Ethan in tow. We went to Goodwill, where I found nothing I wanted (who wants to pay $5.99 for someone else's old used jeans? I'd pay $1-2, thanks), and to Hobby Lobby, where I wanted just about the whole store and only bought a little miniature bubble gum dispenser for my miniatures collection because I've always wanted one. I was looking for some way to organize my crafts, but realized, as I looked at the myriad stuff to organize other stuff, that I probably have what I need at home. Nonetheless, it was a good outing.

We saw flags at half-mast, and I remembered that it's 9-11. I honestly wouldn't have otherwise. As we rounded the corner to the house, I saw a group of young peace promoters/protesters, complete with large signs and dreadlocks and Rasta-style hats. You just don't see that much in East Texas. I wanted to stop and tell them how much I am a fan of peace. I pray for peace so that I won't have to leave Ethan-boy and Matt to go defend their security and freedom, although I would be glad to do so if needed. To defend their right to express any point of view they want, even. I wanted to ask them, with all their peace posters, if they would do the same for me. Perhaps they would, but with the baby and all the effort it took to get out in the first place, I didn't have time to find out.

Monday, September 10, 2007

How to Make Faux Hand-Tinted B&W Photos

I like black and white photography. I like hand-tinted b&w even more. I don't have time to actually do it by hand right now, although I have the supplies, and it's very fun. Here's my quick and easy Photoshop alternative:

1. Take a cute picture on a digital camera.

2. Open it up in Photoshop (or a similar program, I suppose), and choose Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation. Set the saturation to about -75.

3. Save as.




Reality

The beauty (and perhaps the entire appeal?) of blogging, is that one can portray oneself any way one desires. I'm a perfectionist, so I'm tend to post mostly the things that make me look... perfect. Thus, no pics of dirty laundry, or dishes, and especially not the room where I'm sitting now (and which I intend to clean today). Instead, and without further ado, my two favorite pictures from yesterday, Ethan in the Grass, and the before photo of Matt's Birthday Dinner:


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I've Done It

For the first time in 20 years, I've done something I'm pretty sure I promised myself I'd never do... I participated in a chain letter. I've resisted chain recipe clubs, chain quilt squares (you'll receive enough quilt squares to make a queen-sized quilt!!) plain jane chain postcards and a host of other chains. I don't even participate in those Friendship bread things where you make a starter batch, and feed it, and it quadruples, and then quadruples again, and you give it to your friends who set it on their counter and have to feed it and give it away as well. I understand you can also make some kind of bread with it. But I digress...

I participated in a chain letter book club. I mostly did this for my mom, because my friends will be sending books to her, if they get suckered into it, too. I tried not to send it to anyone with young children, or some other deterrent to going to the PO. It's pretty hard with a baby. I'm also hoping to get one or two random free books. Want a piece of the action?? Email me or comment. I'll be glad to include you, too. (Bua ha ha ha! evil laugh).

Monday, August 27, 2007

Ethan Crawls

This video is from a week or so ago. He's doing much better at it now, but I had to try the new Blogger video function (much easier than figuring out how to do it with Utube).

video

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dreams

Dreams are funny things... I recently dreamed, for instance, that I was Paris Hilton's neighbor and that we became friends because she came over to swim in my pool, and because I was also a family nurse practitioner (in my dreams only, at this point), I thus became FNP to the rich and famous. Just like Dr. 90210. Only not because nurse practitioners are not as needlessly interventionistic.

Last night, I dreamed that I had gone to drill. For some reason, my sister, my mother and my son came with me. At the same time, I was also caring for two elderly and demented women, one of whom had a tendency to wander. I had forgotten my uniform for drill, had only one change of clothes, couldn't find the room where we were meeting, never had time to eat because I was always late for drill, and somehow, a good friend's wedding was that same weekend, in the same hotel, and I was supposed to be a bridesmaid. I had nothing to wear except the same pair of tacky jeans that I've been wearing for months because I refuse to buy new clothes until I can fit in my old ones, but I did make it to the rehearsal dinner where I sat the whole time, hoping I could think up some special memory to talk about if called upon. I think I might be overcommitted.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Trip to Corpus

We've just gotten back from two weeks in Corpus Christi, and now that the rush to wash laundry is over, I've uploaded a few photos...
Trip to Corpus Christi

Thursday, July 5, 2007

A Shameless Plug

I have a new Etsy shop where you can purchase a tummy time baby quilt, a quilt kit, or a cute Funsie Onesie: KarenElisa M. Tell your friends and family! Tell your neighbors and co-workers! Bookmark it! Link to it! Spend, spend, spend!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Pics From Our Walk Today




The Three Houses

We were on a walk the other day in a neighborhood near our own, and I noticed two houses just like ours (except that Matt and I like ours more, signifying there must be some difference).
Ours, Theirs and Theirs:




Ethan Swims Some More and Sits in the Bumbo

Ethan Swims and Sits in the Bumbo

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Now We Know Why Americans Are Linguistically Challenged

I've been working on Italian for the past few years, off and on. Although my best (and only marginally useful) sentence is "Dov'e il ufficio postale?" (Where is the post office?), I'm currently in "on" mode due to the BBC's Italian Steps page. The BBC also has French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Portugese and Greek. If only PBS had the same sort of thing. No wonder so few Amerians are multi-lingual.

Friday, June 22, 2007

What to Buy

I'm sure there's a job out there somewhere... I'm sure someone has to do it. I'd love to be one of those people who tries out new baby products and gives feedback. I know people do it. I mean, a lot of people do that, but there must be people who do it for money. As an example of our certain expertise in this area, in our short life with Ethan, we have purchased three strollers. Overkill, I know, and it makes me feel guiltily like a greedy consumerist pig, but for three different purposes. We have the jogging stroller for walks at home, and to the park, and for off-roading. It also works well for jogging, I understand. The jogging stroller doesn't maneuver well, however, so we have the stroller that the baby carrier/car seat snaps into. This one folds up into the back of Matt's car, and we use it for our infrequent trips to the mall, and our frequent trips to Wal-Mart. Finally, we have the umbrella stroller. It must be the tiniest and cheapest stroller currently on the market, and positively the only one that will fit in my car. It's great for when we can't fit the other strollers in. Ethan's still a little small for this one, but it can be used by tipping it back on the hind wheels so he doesn't fall out.

Would it be too much to say that we also have cushy head/body supports for these strollers? Now I really do feel like a pig. Maybe I secretly hope there's such a job to justify such extravagance. Don't get me started about toys, clothes, blankets and other baby gadgets. It's not that babies need these things. They attract them with a magnetic pull stronger than the force of gravity. Diapers. We actually have well-reasoned preferences for certain brands of disposable diapers, formulas, bottles, nipples, and scents of baby lotion. You were unaware baby lotion comes in scents? We like the lavendar. Maybe instead of the job, I could get some sort of corporate sponsorship.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Dollar Store Phenomenon

After the last rather depressing post, I feel I should write about something a little more uplifting (perhaps a post containing fewer run-on sentences and more subjects). Have you ever noticed how when you go in to a dollar store to buy two things, you end up spending at least $10. No? I do. I have friends who like hardware stores, and friends who like drug stores... I like dollar stores. If they were bigger, I could spend hours browsing. As it is, I can sweep through, pick up the bargains and leave happy: one bag of yogurt covered pretzels, one bag of cacahuates con chile, one package of tissue paper, one gift bag, three cards. Total: under $6.75. The Dollar Store. For everything else, there's Mastercard.

Coming soon... pics of Ethan swimming.

Friday, June 15, 2007

How We Spend Our Weekends

Here's why we're tired and haven't blogged any the past week, and it has nothing to do with having a four-month old:

Last Friday while packing to go to drill, we couldn't find Matt's insurance card for the car, so we looked through files and found a copy of the policy; that took about an hour, but it was a minor setback. We packed up the car and Ethan, discovered it wouldn't start, jumped it, went to get gas, it died again, jumped it again, drove home, unpacked all the stuff, put it in my car, and headed to Ft. Worth. On the way, our brakes went out on I-20 south of Dallas as people were slowing down/stopping to see an accident (WHY do people DO that!!??). We swerved in and out of slowing/stopping cars (fortunately Matt was driving), made it to the shoulder and stopped with the emergency brake just behind the police officer who was at the accident. I thought we were going to hit him. Actually, I thought we were going to hit a lot of people. At one point, I yelled, "Should I call 911?", but realized that I wouldn't know what to say: "911. What is your emergency?" "We haven't had one yet, but we're about to crash!!" Matt found this to be the biggest comic relief of the weekend. Call 911. What would they do??

We towed the car to Arlington to a VW place where they said they would try to work it in tomorrow and rented a car; continued trip to Fort Worth. The dealership people looked at the car, said it was fine, and gave it back the next day. Conclusion: we must have had an air bubble in the brake lines. Drove to Dallas to meet friends that night, got back late. Got lost in north Fort Worth the next day with another officer on the way to a YMCA... it was a few miles from base, but we drove over 80 mi. During this time, my phone was stolen (I accidentally left it at a gas station while asking for directions); Dad said, "How do you know someone stole it?" Easy. I called my number, and talked to the guy, who wouldn't give me any contact information and claimed he didn't have a phone number. Right. That's why he took my phone. He said he'd take it back to the gas station. Um hum. Promptly cut off the phone. Uneventful trip back home, but somehow we managed to crush Matt's phone under the seat on the way. It still works. Good thing, because we discovered how expensive cell phones are if you buy one without a plan. While I was at work, Matt called the phone insurance place, I filed a police report, they sent me a new phone, and Matt got my phone service up and running. We decided it was the WORST WEEKEND EVER. We're glad we're both patient and still love each other. Ethan just went along for the ride.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Ethan Meets His Second and Third Cousins

Moore Family Reunion and Visit to Grandma and Poppa's


We've got pics of both sides of the family here, my extended family and Matt's grandparents. Ethan charmed them all.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ethan, Grandma & Poppa

'
This was on Matt's graduation day, as well. By this point, Ethan had had enough graduating.

Matt's Graduation


We have two words for this: Yeah, baby!!!!

What We're Up To (aside from ending phrases with prepositions)

We're looking into Mommy & Me swimming classes for the summer, planning to do some lap swimming, working on transplanting ferns and herbs in the yard, and planning to buy some hydrangeas and begonias next week. I've registered for a couple of (non-clinical) nursing classes in the fall, and plan to start the distance program at Texas Tech in the spring. Ethan's learned to spit and grab his toes, and occasionally does both at the same time. He's also laughing and smiling more.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Activities for Nursing Moms (Other than Nursing)

What I've been doing lately (quickie activities, because I still fit them in between feedings):
1. Listing books for sale on Amazon.com. Mostly old books Matt doesn't need, because I have a hard time parting with mine.
2. Baking Biscotti for Mother's Day. I gave them all away, so I guess I'll have to make more.
3. Making wishlists of nursing clothes, since I'm tiring of tee shirts.
4. Crunches. Still easier than situps.
5. Pumping. Ethan's weight isn't catching up (in fact, it seems to be dropping), so I am pumping more.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Daddy Reads to Ethan

Daddy Reads to Ethan

Right now Ethan's favorite books are:
Noah's Arkby Lucy Cousins
Where Is Baby's Belly Button?by Karen Katz
Duck in the Truckby Jez Alborough and
Skippyjon Jones in the Doghouseby Judy Schachner