Tag Archives: Claire

16 months

 

Dear Claire,

A few days ago, you turned 16 months old.  I’m just getting around to writing this because things have been….busy.  Very busy.  We’re moving!  Your dad got a job in Houston and we’ll be moving there at the beginning of November.  Your Grandma’s pretty upset about it, since she won’t be able to see you every weekend, but I think I talked her down.  Don’t worry, you’ll still see her.  And, you’ll get to see your Aunt Addie, Uncle Dayne and cousins more too!  In fact, your cousin Lily is very excited that we’re moving.  She said that the best part of us moving there was that if you ever need a sweater, she won’t have to drive “all the way to Austin, Tx” to give it to you.  She’s three, and she won’t be the one driving, so that’s good for your Aunt Addie too.  Lily’s also very concerned that we get a house with dogs, and no amount of arguing with her will convince her that the dogs are ours and come with us.

So there’s the move, and the election, which has been on everyone’s mind lately.  Your dad has friends over all the time, and a lot of them are *gasp* conservative so I only let them come in the garage, not all the way in the house.  And they sit out there and argue to the wee hours of the morning.  But you sleep right through it.  All that hot air warms you up, I think.

You’re getting your eye teeth early.  The doctor asked, at your 15 month appointment, if you had been hitting or biting us lately.  Your dad was concerned the doctor saw bruises, but the truth is, you haven’t been doing that.  Apparently you have a high tolerance for pain.  I tried to tell you that the other day when we were driving home and you were SCREAMING, but you weren’t listening.  Because you were SCREAMING.  I kept saying, “Claire, you’re supposed to have a high tolerance for pain.”  Then I gave you some bourbon.  No, I didn’t.  But I kinda wanted to.  For the pain.  Yeah.

You don’t like to spend time away from your dad and me, but when we come to pick you up, you act very nonchalant.  We walked in the house the other day after you SCREAMED the whole way home and as soon as you saw your Dad, you stopped crying and broke into a huge smile.  You walked up to him, but didn’t give him a hug or kiss.  Nope you stood in front of him, jabbered a little bit, and walked away.  It’s like you were announcing, “Hi.  I’m here.  I had a terrible ride home, but fear not, father of mine, I’m still cute. Kthxbai.”

 

 

You STILL aren’t talking (and now readers all across the nation [oh, who am I kidding?  All across the city] are groaning), but I’ve decided to get over it.  You hear fine, you make noises, and you know signs for just about everything you could want.  We started watching Baby Signing Time again since we got the third and forth DVDs, and it’s like everything is clicking.  You picked up the sign for “please” after one episode, and you’ve figured out that the sign for “water” is a W on your chin, not just an emphatic “Food.”  You’ll talk when you talk, and I have a feeling that I won’t be able to get you to shut up once you start.  Yesterday we were driving home from the babysitter’s and I started talking to you.  It was the only way you would sit quietly and not SCREAM.  I was pretty impressed with myself that I could talk, non-stop for the 25 minutes it took us to get home.  Then I realized that you’re due to inhearant something from me and this might be it.  I can say, “Yes, she has her father’s ears, but listen to that kid talk.  That’s all from me.”  One day, you’ll walk up to me and ask for milk, just like that, “Can I have some milk, please?” and then I’ll fall over.  So maybe don’t do that, ok?  Let’s start with just a few words.

 As usual, you’re adorable and you’re getting more so every day.  Sure, you’re a little….headstrong [read: stubborn as hell] and independent [read: defiant and ready to just push boundaries any chance you get], but that’s what makes you OUR daughter.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but your dad and I are pretty stubborn and defiant people.  We knew you would be too.  And we love it.

 I hope you keep that strong will forever.  You’re a powerful force, and someone that people should keep their eye on.  You can do anything because you don’t believe you can’t.  You push limits and push back and you’ll never be the girl who sits in the corner, worried.  But, if you are, know that your dad and I are always right behind you, getting you out of trouble (well, once.  You get one free pass to jail kid, then your on your own), and loving you so fiercely that there’s no question.  You will do great things, kid.  I just know it.

 I love you, bug.

 Mama.

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The Mommy Shuffle

JR’s been in Houston all weekend (he left Friday night) and I think Claire’s pissed. She hasn’t been sleeping. I figured she either loves me so much that she wants to spend ALL her time with me, or she wants me to die. Of exhaustion.

I’m betting on the second one.

Friday night at 1:45, she woke up. She used to just mumble a little bit in her crib, whine some and go right back to sleep. Not Friday night. She woke me up with a scream that I likened to someone clubbing her with a….well, club.

I ran in her room, expecting blood, or gore, or at least a mangled limb of some sort. Nope. She was fine. She giggled, gave me her empty milk cup and raised her arms to be picked up. Wide awake.

This, in case you weren’t sure, wasn’t the time to play. I told her that, but she wasn’t having it. So I picked her up, expecting her to curl in my arms and put her head on my shoulder, like she usually does.

I don’t I have to tell you that she didn’t do that. She wiggled around, wanting to get down. I sat in the rocking chair and started singing “You Are My Sunshine.” She calmed down a bit and allowed me to rock her for about 10 minutes. By this time she had rolled over so her head was back on my shoulder, where it belonged. I stood up and walked over to her crib. But, she had a firm grip on my shirt. I was going to have to wait until she was asleep to put her down.

I rocked back and forth, shushing, for another 10 minutes. Then, very quietly and very carefully, I put her feet over the side of the crib. She moved and I took that oppertunity to put her down. She lay her head on the pillow, but her eyes were wide open. I covered her up, and started to walk out of the room.

“WAHHHH!”

Back up. I walked back over to the crib, laid her back down, and patted her back. The whole time I was shush-shush-shushing. She put her head down and pulled her legs under. More shushing, and more patting. About 5 minutes later, I stopped patting and just held my hand on her back.

The problem with this whole thing is that I was bent at the waist. My back hurt, my legs hurt and my arm was starting to go numb from the lack of blood circulating. I tried to put my head on my left arm and take some pressure off my lower back. This worked for a while, but in order to not fall, I had to bend my knees.

The weird thing is after about 5 more minutes of this, my heels started to fall asleep. I tried to look at her eyes to see if they were closed, but it was dark. I mean, it was 2:30 in the morning! So I looked at her ear to try to see her eyes peripherally. This didn’t work so well and now my fingers were numb, along with my right heel and the part under my left arm that was pushed up against the crib.

So, I took a chance. I lifted my hand up, hovering it over her back in case she woke up. She didn’t move. So, I straightened my back (ouch, by the way) and took a step back. She still hadn’t moved.

I took a deep breath, and turned around. I turned the doorknob and opened the door. Still asleep. Victory! I stepped out to the hall and started to close the door when I hear her cry again.

I closed the door, and she was back asleep before I got to the end of the hall.

Which I’m sure would have happened if I had just walked out the first time I tried.

*sigh*

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Turns out my memory’s not so bad

My memory is not great.  I remember weird things.  When I was in 1st grade, we lived in Denver.  I don’t remember much about living there.  I remember having my bedroom in the basement; I thought it was awesome because I had the whole place to myself.  I remember standing outside and watching a green, swirling funnel cloud in the sky.  I remember that my 1st grade teacher was Korean and taught us her language and one time we had a Korean dinner and my dad came with me and he taught me how to use chopsticks.  We learned the Korean word for everything in the classroom, and we had a large purple dragon that helped us.  I remember one birthday there.  We were poor, but it was summer in Colorado so my mom organized a Big Wheels decorating party.  We hung streamers from the handlebars and put colorful cards in the spokes and had a parade down the street.  And I remember how our shed smelled.  I can’t describe it, and I haven’t smelled it since, but it was always comforting to me.

 

I remember when first moved to Texas, we lived in a rental at the end of a cul-d-sac.  There were kids that lived a few houses down, a brother and sister, and the girl was my age and the boy was Mikey’s age.  We went over to their house a lot; they had a Nintendo.  I remember that the girl stood with her feet in a sort of a T shape, but spread apart.  Left foot straight, right foot turned at a 45 degree angle, about a foot away.  I started standing like that.  Our next door neighbor had two very large snakes, and hosted the best haunted houses, and taught us how to stick a pin in a balloon without popping it.

 

I remember moving to New Braunfels when I was in 7th grade and hearing some stupid boy ask me if I was a girl or a boy because I had very short hair.  I remember my first dance, and my first boyfriend asking me to dance to Garth Brooks.  I remember being a “lawyer” in my history class for the Big Bad Wolf, fighting the 3 Little Pigs, and staying up late preparing for the trial.  I went in very prepared, but at the last minute one girl wanted to be questioned.  I won the trial, but lost on a technicality – that girl was in the jury and couldn’t vote.  I was so mad.

 

I remember in high school dressing up as a Nerd during Homecoming week.  We had a pep rally and the whole school voted for Best Nerd.  I won because I was dating a drummer and the whole line banged on their drums so loud, there was no question.  I remember how mad I was when, during my senior year, I found out that we weren’t going to go on our senior year band trip because some kids were caught with alcohol at the retreat.  I remember coming back from a One-Act competition, after we lost and didn’t get to move on, and hearing my mom tell me that a good friend had killed himself that night.  Everyone laughed when they saw me sobbing – they thought it was because we lost.  I remember leaving the after party with some friends, and the driver stopped at a stop sign.  Left would be home, right would have been over the same bridge Casey jumped off not 4 hours earlier.  I couldn’t speak, or move, or yell at him to stop, but his girlfriend sensed something was wrong and told him to go left.  I avoid driving over that bridge every time I go home.

 

I remember dating that same first boyfriend again in college, staying with him at night and driving, in the early morning light down one of the best drives in the area, back to school.  I remember the feeling I got when I found out that he was cheating on me with my best friend, although I don’t know if he was really cheating because we weren’t dating.  I remember meeting my first love, and my first, on the way to a Bands of America contest, and on the way home, sitting the back and putting my feet on the arm rest a feeling the weight of his arm around them.  I remember throwing my phone number that I wrote on an impossibly small piece of paper at him, and being heart broken when he didn’t call.  Turns out he never got that 1” piece of paper and spent the next 2 weeks tracking me down.  I remember sitting in my friend’s white ford pickup truck while he wrapped my soul up and gave it to me in a Jeff Buckley CD case.  I remember crying as he told me about the summer he spent in Paris working on an album for his band, where he met a girl.  The girl, that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.  But, life doesn’t stop when one’s in Paris and soon he had to go home.  He never saw her again.

 

I remember my brother coming to stay with me for a weekend and leaving a party 10 minutes before it was busted by the cops.  I remember staying up all night, smoking and drinking coffee, studying for my chemistry final.  I remember falling in and out of love so many times.  I remember going to my friend’s beach house and “antiquing” boys that had passed out.  I remember lying in bed with my ex-boyfriend-re-boyfriend-best-friend and hearing him tell me that Casey had, in fact, left a suicide note and that it said that he would only miss three people.  I was one of them.  I remember meeting my husband, furry faced, and a little smelly the night he came home from a week in Big Bend.  I was depressed that I didn’t live in Europe and he talked to me all night about my travels.  I remember the night he proposed and the night we got married.  I remember where I was when I –knew- I was pregnant.  I remember holding Claire for the first time.

 

But, I don’t remember where I was when I heard about Waco, or Oklahoma City, or The Gulf War.  I don’t remember hearing about the Challenger explosion, or the day we invaded Iraq.

 

7 years ago today I was sitting in my dorm’s common area, eyes fixed to the TV as the second tower fell.  I was sitting next to Krista and she was crying.  I remember that day.

 

My kid will ask me where I was, just like I asked my mom where she was when Kennedy got shot.  And I’ll remember.  I’ll always remember.

 

 

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Newsletter: 15 months

Dear Claire,

Today you turn 15 months old. Blah Blah Blah, I can’t believe it, yadda yadda. You’ve become such a little PERSON this month. Your personality has really start to come out. You are independent, and starting to push boundaries. This morning, you turned your sippy cup upside down and shook it so water came spilled onto the carpet. And looked at me the whole time as if you were thinking, “What are you going to do about it?” I said your name, and you stopped and moved onto other things. But, you KNEW you weren’t supposed to do that and you did it to see what I would do. This morning, at breakfast, you snuck a piece of toast to Murphy. Normally you would just drop a piece of food over the top of the tray to him. But today, you dropped it under. And didn’t look down, acted like you weren’t doing a thing. But honey, I was standing right there. I saw it. When I said your name, you looked at me with those big blue eyes and acted like you didn’t know what you did wrong.

You’re such a happy kid. You’re getting a little shy around certain people, but those are the people I don’t mind that you’re shy around. Like your dad’s friends. If you’re never comfortable around boys, I’ll be happy. So will your dad, who already has your place at the nunnery ready for you. He claims that you’ll never date, but how could the boys resist you? You’re adorable! You still stay with your babysitter and her daughter during the day, although we think we’ll move you to a daycare soon. You love Emma, but you’ve picked up an…odd habit. As soon as your dad or I walk in the door to pick you up, you walk over to Emma (who isn’t walking yet so she’s just sitting there, minding her own business) and…pet her. You pat her head and scratch it like we taught you to do with the pups. Melissa said you don’t do that during the day, only when we pick you up. But honey, she’s not a puppy. You’re getting more and more gentle with the dogs. You pet them and then put your head down and give them big hugs. They’re not really sure what to do with that, but they like it I think.

You’re still not saying much. Wait, that’s not true. You speak in incoherent tirades all day long. We just can’t understand what you’re saying. And you LOVE to talk on the phone. Dad and I watched you the other day pace back and forth across the library, the phone up to your ear, babbling. Every once in a while, you let out this fake laugh. You’ll make an excellent party guest someday. Always something to say, ready with a fake laugh to make people feel good. I’m not sure if it’s because your tongue isn’t making the shapes needed to sound out words, but the only thing you say is “Dadadadada.” Of course, sometimes it sounds like you’re saying “DooDoDoo.” I’m a little nervous when you DO start talking because if this babbling is any indication, you’ll never shut up. It’ll be questions and comments and fake laughs all day long. Kinda makes me glad you’ll be at daycare so you can talk to other kids and not me. Because sometimes kid, I like the silence.

Recently, you’ve become very attached to me. I can’t leave the room without you following me. More often than I like, I find you sitting outside the bathroom when I come out. You make your dad sit there, and sit on his lap, looking at the door until I come out. I love the attention, I really do. But, I’d also like to poop and not worry that everyone in the house is listening.

We’re moving next month into an apartment. It’s a little scary to me; three people and two dogs in a 1000 sq. foot apartment. But, they have a pool, and you love to swim. And a dog park and a playground. I think we’ll get out of the house with the dogs more since we won’t have to put them in the car. And you LOVE taking walks. This will be a perfect place for your walks, since we don’t have to worry about cars. You love walks, but apparently you don’t love walking in leaves. Every time we come up to a pile of leaves, you won’t walk through it, you won’t walk around it. We have to pick you up and put you down on the other side.

Now I’m rambling, but I want you to know that you crack me up everyday. You have a VERY strong personality (read: you’re stubborn as hell), so it’ll be a challenge to reign that in. But, we’re getting ready for it. I love you more everyday. It’s no surprise to me that you’ve saved my life. Waking up with you every morning puts me in a good mood. And no matter how bad a day I’ve had at work, when I walk in that door and see you run towards me (and then turn around and give Emma a pat on the head), everything melts.

I love you,

Mama

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Because I can’t make a decision by myself.

One of JR’s and my best friend, Katie was way too nice to spend an hour with Little Missy. I have a coupon for a canvas from Canvas On Demand, and my camera is still in the shop. She took over 200 pictures, and I’ve messed around with my favorite.

Now tell me, which one do you like?

Keep in mind that this is going on a 16×20 canvas, so it’s going to be much bigger!

So which do you think? I’m torn…

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Newsletter: 14 months

Dear Claire,

A few days ago you turned 14 months old. I didn’t write anything then because I was too busy lounging on the beach spending time with you. We spent a week at the beach in North Carolina with your grandma’s sisters and brother (and all their kids and grandkids). To say you had fun would be drastically understating your love for the ocean. We could hardly keep you out of there.

This really sucked for us because the only thing you liked doing was “jumping” over the waves. Which means that your dad or I had to bend over to hold your hands, then lift you over the crashing waves. Which hurt our backs. A lot.

You loved everything about the beach. The water, even when you got a face full of it; the sand, even when it was caked in your diaper; and the people. Oh, how you loved the people. You were the only baby in a house of 16 adults who couldn’t get enough of you. And you turned on the charm. You danced, and laughed and were just a JOY to be around all week.

I know that we got an easy baby, but I never realized it until we drove 24 hours and then spent a week in a strange place with strange people…and you didn’t so much as fuss. Sure, there were a few times that you got a little cranky, but you had good reasons. No one would let you sleep; they just wanted to play with you all day. I’m pretty sure you didn’t go to bed before 10pm all week. I feel really sorry for Melissa. She’s the one who has to deal with your new found Super Celebrity Status.

You’re really starting to chit chat this month.  I’ve been nervous about you saying actual words, but the WONDERFUL mommies that commented on that post have really set my mind at ease.  If you don’t, you don’t.  If, at your 15 month appointment next month, your doctor tells us we need to do something specific, we’ll do that.  I’ve learned that there are terrible things that can happen to a kid.  Not “talking” is NOT one of those.   I think about you and my heart swells with love.  I don’t want to ever imagine life without you.  This is going to sound cliche, but you have brought so much joy to my life.

Your dad and I think that we maybe absolutly talk on our phone too much.  How do we know this?  Because you imitate us.  You put the phone to your ear and babble.  Then, you’ll laugh, all crazy like, and go back to talking.  You’ve also started pushing buttons with both thumbs.  Do we text too much?  I think so.

You’re such a girl too.  You play dress up with my necklaces and scarves.  You’ll walk around the house and wrap them around your neck and arms.  I love it; your dad?  Now so much.  He really didn’t want a “girly-girl.”  But, scarves can’t possibly be a gateway drug to Princesses, can they?  CAN THEY?!

Anyway, I love you so much.  I can’t wait to see you every morning; to see what you’ll discover and how you’ll react to your life.  I hope you enjoy my company as much as I enjoy yours.

Love,

Mama

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Too many what if’s

I worry a lot.  It’s usually about dumb things, like getting to the babysitters’ too late, or forgetting something when we take a trip.  I know, in the grand scheme of things, it’s OK if we get to the babysitters’ a little later than normal, and we can always buy whatever it was that we forgot.

But there’s something that’s been nagging on my mind for a few months.  I keep trying to push it away, thinking that I’m just over-reacting again.  But I can’t.  It’s really been bothering me.

Claire doesn’t talk yet. 

Sure, she babbles and she laughs.  She says “mamamamama” and “doy doy.”  But she doesn’t say Mama when she points to me.  She doesn’t mimick us.

She hears me fine.  I ask her if she wants more Cheerios and she shows me the sign for “More.”  She’s figuring out the sign for “All Done.”  But, she can’t moo like a cow, or say “milk.”

I worry that we’re not challenging her enough.  We don’t interact enough with kids.  We don’t play outside enough.  It’s hard, since JR and I both work.  There aren’t enough hours in the week to take her to the park or a playdate.  But what if we’re raising a kid who can’t interact with kids?  What if she doesn’t say something before she’s 15 months – just a month and a half away?  The doctor said that if she doesn’t say real words by then, she’ll test her hearing.  But I know she hears fine.  She responds to us when we talk to her.  She just doesn’t talk back.

It’s hard to express my concern to people around me.  They try to make me feel better by downplaying what’s happening.  My neice (who’s only 2 weeks older than Claire and already has a large library of words) talks because she’s around her older siser.  Claire babbles, so she’s fine.

But all that does is make me feel worse.  I want to be taken seriously and for someone to acknowledge that there MIGHT be something going on here.  Even if the solution is just for us to spend everyday JUST talking to her, and encouraging her to talk back.  I just want someone to tell me that this MIGHT NOT be just me overreacting. 

I never thought I had a mother’s instinct, but what if I do?  What if I’m right about this and we don’t DO anything? 

What if there’s something really wrong?

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Read this. Now.

Contrary to what people who know me would say, I’m actually pretty shy.  Especially when I don’t know a lot of people, or I’m not comfortable with the topic at hand.  I tend to get VERY self conscious and hyper aware of everything.  It’s odd, but the way I get over the fear is by being outgoing and loud.  But, I don’t go up to people and introduce myself.  

:::

I often wonder what kind of kid Claire’s going to grow up as.  Will she be outgoing like her dad?  Will she be shy to over compensate for how crazy we are?  Will she be involved in high school like JR and I were, or will she want to get out of high school as soon as possible?  Who will she be?

::

I can’t wait until Claire starts to talk.  I can’t wait to HEAR her voice, and what she comes up with.  I imagine she’ll have a cute, girly voice.  It’ll be high pitched, and….well….girly.  I want her to be able to say anything she wants without fear of being ridiculed.  I want her to never know the pain of not being included.  I want her to NEVER feel pain.

::

When I read this, I heard Emme’s voice in my head.  No, I’ve never met her.  But, I can hear a little girl’s voice in my head.  Maybe that’s why it broke my heart so much.  I read it late this afternoon, and I still can’t get it out of my head.  I’ve been thinking about it all day.  I’m not sure why.  It’s the “Please” that I hear in my head.  And the “Hello?  Hello?”  Everytime I think about it, my chest gets tight.  

I don’t know why.

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When in doubt, use bullets. The punctuation, not the things used to kill people.

I can’t think of anything interesting, witty or thought-provoking to write about today.  Not that what I write about usually is any of those things.  But, especially today.

When I can’t think of things that are interesting, witty or thought-provoking to write, I do what any good blogger does.  I use a bulleted list and practice my linky-skillz.

  • Ever since I posted the 50 things about me, I’ve been trying to think of another 50.  I’ve come up with the following: 51. I sleep with my feet hanging off the end of the bed.  It drives JR crazy because that means I’m further (farther?  I can never remember) down and pulling the blanket with me.  52.  Every single guy I dated before JR was a drummer.  I was sure I would marry a drummer.  Instead, I married someone who CAN’T drum at all. 
  • Wow.  Only two.  That sucks.
  • I just (well, it took me 3 days at work) read all of Casey’s archives.  She really is as funny as they say.
  • I’m a wanna-be blogger.  I know about all the technology and real bloggers use, but I’m just not there yet.  What puts me on that next level?  You know, the one where I would feel comfortable going to Blogher.
  • This made me spit out the water I was drinking just now.  And since I’m not supposed to be reading blogs at work, I had to pretend that I just read something -really- funny on the install quote I’m working on.  That’s hard.
  • Claire got new sunglasses.  They’re ADORABLE.  What’s that?  You want to see them.  Well, ok. 
  • Sunglasses

    See, I told you they’re cute.  She doesn’t like to wear them, though.  It took JR about 15 minutes to get that picture.  We put them on, she takes them off.  Over and over and over again. 

  • But it’s totally worth it for how cute they are.
  • Yeah, I really don’ t have anything to say. Maybe tomorrow…

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Road trip preperation

In about a week and a half, JR, Claire and I will be attempting to drive 21 hours (one way!) to North Carolina for my Mom’s family reunion.  I’m thrilled, excited, scared shitless.  All the things you’d imagine when faced with travelling 21 hours (did I mention that is ONE WAY?!) with a 14 month old.

 

Because Claire can’t spend more than about 3 hours in the car at a time, we’re planning on leaving Friday night, driving all night and then taking it easy Saturday.  We can’t get into the house at the beach until 1 on Sunday, so we’ll stop in Jacksonville to stay with my cousin Saturday night, and take our time Sunday.  It’s about 6 hours from Jacksonville to where we’re staying.  Which is actually more like 8 hours in 14 month-old time.

 

We’re preparing for this trip (oops.  Did I say “we?”  I meant “I”) in a number of ways.  

I’ve got a list of snacks, I’ve hidden toys so they seem new to her, and I’m working on putting together a DVD of her favorite show, The Biscuit Brothers.

 

Before any one yells at me for letting her watch TV, I should just say….whatever, shut up.  There.  I told them!

 

Anyway, we have 5 episodes recorded on our DVR, but we can’t get them to our computer (which is hooked up to the TV) so we can burn them onto a DVD.

 

Why?  I don’t know.  Something to do with a video capture card.   I honestly don’t have any idea.

 

So, while JR is souring the internet for a  way to do this with a firewire cable (Me: Huh? JR: I don’t have a video capture card, but I’ve found whisperings from the internet that I can do it with a blah…blah…blah…” Sorry, I stopped listening.) I have found a way to record the show without all the confusing technology.

 

 

Yep.  I push play on the DVR, push record on the video camera, and as long as the dogs don’t bark and no one says anything, we’re set.  It actually works pretty well.  As soon as I get them off my camera, I’ll post a snippit for you to watch.

 

So, there you have it.  Innovation at its best!

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