Who knew an old desktop would be that fun?

Tom is getting rid of an old desktop and just had it sitting temporarily in the living room. The kids were completely enthralled with it. I was at my computer and I heard Owen behind me clicking away on the keyboard, saying he was texting dad and playing music. He also kept plugging and replugging the mouse and keyboard cords.

Then, of course, Katie got involved. When she wasn’t clicking away she was “on the phone” (the mouse). :)

Owen loves ABC Mouse!


So, we’ve been seeing commercials for ABCmouse.com for quite some time, plus Owen has some apps on the phone that are by ABC Mouse. I thought it would be a good thing, but honestly…Owen has never used a computer, our desktop is too hard to get to easily so we’d have to set up a laptop downstairs, then teach him how to use a mouse, etc., and lastly, pay the monthly fee and hope he’d use it. So it just never got done.

Fast forward a few months, and Tom brought it up again. So I just signed up for emails and quickly realized that they always send out deals. So I waited and waited…and finally there was some deal (I honestly don’t even remember what it was—maybe half off) so I signed up. And then we were getting the house ready for flooring and then we were on vacation and then we were cleaning up after the flooring…and I was getting annoyed because I had paid for it and we weren’t using it! Every time Owen had “free time” he was playing with his Legos or watching TV or on the weekend he’d be playing his video game.

So today after breakfast I declared it was time. I said “Owen, do you want to try ABC Mouse?” And got a resounding happy YES! So Tom set up my laptop at the kitchen table, hooked up his wireless mouse, and we started. (Big whoop, it took all of five minutes!) I was a little concerned that Owen would have issues with the mouse because A) he’s never used one (and he’s very used to the touch screen of the iDevices) and B) sometimes he has issues with fine motor control. But he did pretty good—the only mouse button somewhat tripping him up was the center scroll button so I told him just to avoid that button…but within about 10 minutes or so he was USING the button correctly (the laptop screen isn’t quite big enough so it helps to scroll). Wow. I was floored.

And he flew through the first few lessons and was thrilled to be earning tickets and white stars and prizes for his hamster and aquarium (on the site!). He probably sat there for 20-30 minutes! Then just like that he was done. And he complained that it was too easy. I told him I know it was too easy, but we started him on stuff for younger kids just until he got used to how the mouse worked and how the website worked. I told him when we did it again it would be for older kids and he was cool with that.

So fast forward about an hour and he was ready! I had moved it from age 2 to age 4 and he loved it! I wish I could watch over him as he does everything so I can see what all is involved, but I like that he’s doing it by himself and I don’t HAVE TO watch over him. He did say that one page was too hard so I replayed it so I could see what it was but by then he was already DONE and couldn’t give me a clue why he had thought it was too hard. (He had completed it, though, so it wasn’t too hard to finish.)

So, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that he keeps enjoying it!

RIP awesome Dawson Crocs Boots

I hate when companies change a good product. Owen has Crocs “Dawson” boots that I LOVE but he’s outgrown them.


Of course when I go to buy a bigger pair (easy, right?), that style has been COMPLETELY redesigned and now instead of boots they are slip-ons that look just like most other Crocs. :x


And if I decided I wanted those? Oh well, no one has them in stock or they aren’t available in Youth sizes (at this point I don’t even care—the point is they aren’t available in Owen’s size).

It took me forever to find a perfect pair that wouldn’t be super warm (since we rarely need winter boots), came up high enough in case there was snow, would work for rain, and weren’t super expensive. And now I have to do it all over. Similar ones by Keen are twice as much. No thanks.


What the…?? How did she…??

Katie got a hold of my laptop and I have NO idea how she did this.


She also managed to turn the wifi off and screw up my N key so that every time I typed an N it opened a new Evernote window. Thankfully rebooting fixed that.

The scary thing is how FAST she did it. Normally I turn on a program I have called “Toddler Keys” which renders the keyboard useless…but I was just stepping away for two seconds. And I turned around and she was SITTING ON MY LAPTOP KEYBOARD. Oh, HELL NO, little girl. So now I have to physically put it away if she’s in the same room. Stinker!

Our last Christmas!

Grauntie Marge sent Christmas gifts so we Skyped tonight to open them. The robotic bugs were a HUGE hit with Owen (and we think they’re cool, too). Here he is, showing them off:

And here we are having fun with them in the kitchen!

Katie’s Gund Peek A Boo Bear was super cute, too…though I don’t have a good picture of her with it (yet).

Three raves in one day? Awesome.


A huge thumbs up to the place that fixed my car post-accident. We had decided to get the hood repainted at our own cost (since it really needed it and they were painting the front end anyway) for an estimated $150. When Tom went to pick up the car, he was told it was done minus one fog light light bulb (they had ordered a pair, and one came with the bulb and one didn’t) and they had driven all over town looking for it, and apparently no one in the state had one! They apologized profusely and said since they felt really really bad (they had already had the car an extra two days due to another ordering/shipping error that wasn’t their fault), they ate the cost of painting the hood!! WOOHOO!!


After dealing with Costco Concierge and HP over the third major issue in nine months, they are giving me a brand new laptop! They are sending us a list of what models are available (saying they will not downgrade but only upgrade the specs) and if there is nothing we like they will build to suit (but will take 3-6 weeks). I can totally live with that. So kudos to them for actually doing the right thing with this dud of a laptop. YAY! (A bonus rave to this rave is that Tom took over the dealings, as stuff like this just makes me insane. Besides, I paid my penance dealing with the first two wonky laptops and the two repairs to this laptop.)


This one is comparatively minor, but a rave nonetheless. After almost three years of five bulging junk drawers (2 large, 1 medium, and 2 small) and at least two solid weeks of procrastinating cleaning them out…I did it today! Here’s proof (only one drawer, but you get the idea):

Of course, now I have two buckets of stuff to put away elsewhere, but a lot got tossed and put away already…and I feel much less stressed about the movers not having to pack and move five drawers of crap.


It looks like I’ll be without my laptop AGAIN for ANOTHER two weeks because the >:XX webcam is out of place. Yeah, who knew I hadn’t used the webcam since I bought this laptop in October. I was trying to Skype tonight (for the first time) and I was like “Hey, why is there this black moon cutting off the view?” I finally figured out that the camera has slid down (or has always been out of place?) so that the laptop case/cover is blocking it. >:XX

Half Moon Webcam

The laptop saga: Addendum

So far, I really like the laptop…except that the ‘chiclet’ keyboard is THE worst keyboard I’ve EVER used. :## I am normally a pretty quick and accurate typist (I think the last time I tested it was about 85wpm) and I would honestly say that I LOVE TYPING. However, with this absolutely craptastic keyboard, I find I am HATING typing. Yes, HATING. Plain and simple, the keyboard skips letters if you don’t hit the key JUST right (a full-on dead-center firm press). :down:

But, on the positive side…Costco’s deals came out this month and the laptop was offered for $100 cheaper! So I took in my receipt and got credited $100! If you add that to the $50 cash card and the $50 credit card credit I already got, that means I got $200 off this laptop! :up:

I can live with that.

The laptop saga, part 5: The End

So Tom was unable to fix my original Dell (he tried, but the problem must have been something other than what we thought) and I was trying to decide if I wanted to live with the less-than-perfect Toshiba or pay a little more to get exactly what I wanted. I decided I had to “shit or get off the pot” as they say, so I decided I was returning the Toshiba and ordering the more expensive Asus from Amazon. So back to Costco we went.

While we were there, we looked at the laptops again…just because…and they had a 14″ HP with pretty much the exact specs I wanted, for cheaper than the Asus at Amazon. With the advantage being that we were buying it from Costco so—IN THE EVENT I HATED IT FOR SOME REASON—I could return it. (And no, that laptop hadn’t been there before. Had it, I would have gotten it to start with.)

And for the grand topper? Not only did Costco refund me $50, they still also sent the $50 cash card…so my more expensive laptop ended up the same price as all the other laptops I tried [and returned].