Sunday, October 31, 2010

the very hungry caterpillar

We've got about 60 more photos, if you want to see them.

Friday, October 29, 2010

friday photos

this week takes us to the picture show!

A few weeks ago when we were enamored with making him smile...

A few days ago when we captured a few rare laughs...keep 'em coming kid.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

friday photos

Bring it on, Fall.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

the results are in! part II

Here's Part II of the household cleaning survey results: open-ended responses to the prompt, what is the most unusual household chore you do regularly?

(Review Part I here)

For starters, no qualitative report these days is complete without a Wordle!

Rather than doing a detailed analysis of responses, I thought I'd just post them all here along with some commentary.

"I keep a sponge with a scrubby-green side in the tub and give it a quick scrub every time I take a bath. I clean out my bathroom sink and clean my bathroom mirror very regularly."

"Washing the outside of my front door."

"I'm very lazy about housecleaning but try to dust my blinds (all of them) with a Swiffer duster every Saturday. I'm okay with enough dust on the end tables for a good game of tic-tac-toe, so why does the dust on blinds bother me?"

Probably because it is difficult to play tic-tac-toe on blinds.

"Organize the gladware box lids. About every 3 months, they degenerate into a pile of things that are likely to fall over and bury me. So I take them all out, try to make sure I have matching containers and lids, and then sort all of the lids by size and type."

There is a simpler solution, which is to just keep the tupperware on a lower shelf. This way they cannot fall on top of you no matter how disorganized they get.

"Vacuum my kitchen."

"I don't think it's unusual, but other people have commented on it - I regularly wash the walls (not the entire wall - like a spot clean). I also clean the tops of the washer and dryer after each use (you can use the used dryer sheet. It works really well to get all the gunk off)."

"We clean the landing to our staircase (where you enter our apartment) often. That is one thing that makes me feel okay when people come over."

"We really should think more about cleaning... we just make sure our main room is livable. The guest bedroom and our bedroom are usually a little scary."

"I don't consider any of the chores I do 'unusual.' Although, I must say that reading your post about your sheets almost made me throw up. I wash my sheets once a week now because my husband can't fathom washing them more...but before I was married, I washed them twice a week usually.

I want to make the person in this comment and the comment above switch places for a day and see what would happen. Compare profiles.

Making the bed before sleeping in it
Gagging Reflex to My Post Respondent: Yes, compulsively
Scary Bedroom Respondent: No, you people are crazy

Washing the outside of your kitchen cupboards
Gagging Reflex to My Post Respondent: Monthly
Scary Bedroom Respondent: I'm supposed to clean that?

When the trash gets full
Gagging Reflex to My Post Respondent: Take it out to the dump right away to avoid having an overstuffed/smelly bag
Scary Bedroom Respondent: Tell my husband

"I clean the spices on the spice rack when I notice."

"I don't think it's unusual for people with kids, but I am often found wiping slobby fingerprints off door jams and walls down low where the kids drag their hands."

"I get made fun of for washing the outside of my cupboards (kitchen and bathroom) for as often as I do (every few days). But they're white and they have a lip so dust accumulates really quickly!"

"Before I answer this, I need to clarify an answer above, I clean parts of my bathroom weekly but don't usually clean the whole thing at once... too overwhelming. Unusual: We vacuum the back porch."

It's okay, my definition of cleaning the bathroom involves the sink and the toilet. The shower and floor are totally separate animals.

"uhh... I hate cleaning so I'm not sure I do any unusual cleaning."

"Clean the little groove in the seal of the fridge with a q-tip. Vacuum the sliding trays on my windows. Dust the leaves of my big plants! None of the things, seem unusual. I had to think of what might seem wacky to someone else. Remember...I was raised with Connie [family reference]!!!!!"

Growing up with Connie would skew your perception of normal. This is the aunt who got her 2 younger sisters to dress in garbage bags and high heels and sing old folk songs...when they were all over 45 years old...

"I vacuum the ceiling in my basement (but only because I run on the treadmill down there and I'm scared to death of a dust bunny getting in my hair.) Clean the TV from sticky finger prints. I reorganize pantry quarterly."

"I am very picky about my kitchen pantry. I am constantly reorganizing it....I like the cans perfectly in lines and with the labels facing forward in matching fashion."

Hm. My pantry shelves are full of cans of corn intermixed with board games.

"Put a tablecloth on the dining room table and set the table with nice dishes before going to bed. I wash out the inside of the kitchen sinks almost every day. :)"

Do you leave a place for Elijah?

"Disinfecting the cupboard fronts, handles and top of the trash can - I haye seeing sticky fingerprints. I dust my artificial flowers...this may not seem unusual and definitely needs to be done, but considering all the other chores I do neglect, it's strange that I would do this one."

"I'll organize my office way more than I ever clean the bathroom. Paper clutter is my crutch."

You should talk to my husband. Maybe you are my husband... No, because he doesn't get around to the organizing part.

"My favorite thing to clean is the car. Every week I wash it inside and out and vacuum."

"I also am big on trash cans! I squirt some of my special cleaning solution in the can every time I take out the trash (solution = vinegar, water, and some essential oils. HIGH TECH.). I would say the most unusual household chore I do regularly is scrubbing the faucet in the bathroom sink, which I do while brushing my teeth (so usually twice a day). One might say that were I neater with the tooth-brushing this would not be a necessary chore. Oh well."

No, I think spraying your trash can with a special cleaning solution is your most unusual household chore. Laudable (I can't stand the nasty dirty kitchen trash can smell), but unusual.

"I like to unplug all the cables behind the computer and tv once or twice a year to untangle them and sort them into well behaved rows."

Do you use cable ties? I love cable ties!

"I love to sweep my garage, probably cause we're out in the front yard all the time. The tricky thing about this survey is that kids can make a huge impact on what you do and how often. For instance, light switches have to be cleaned regularly with a toddler and a preschooler. Whereas a newborn doesn't really get things like that dirty."

True. My newborn has christened everything in our house with spit up. But I find it works its way into the carpet without leaving much of a trace.

"Windex the front of the microwave. Weird, I know."

"I clean the knobs on all of my doors at least once a week. Dirty door knobs and door jambs ick me out."

"Vacuum out the windows (cobwebs form in the basement windows a lot- I guess that is what you get for trying to make living space out of an unfinished basement.) I do this monthly."

We lived in a barely finished basement for the first year of our marriage. Cobwebs were the least of our worries. There was the front door that was so low you had to duck to come inside, the way the basement trapped moisture so all of our book pages curled and our decks of cards stuck together, the mouse that ate the brownies that were sitting on our kitchen counter but I didn't realize a mouse had eaten the brownies until I had eaten some myself, the black mold we found behind our bookcase when we moved out... It did have some benefits though, like the fact that the bathroom was cozy enough you could actually sit on the toilet and take a shower at the same time!

Friday, October 15, 2010

friday photos

theme: large head

Oh man, they're making me do it again.

You're a strong baby. You're a strong baby.

We have lift off.

Almost there...

Ta Da!

(I'm so cute.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

the results are in!

A few weeks ago, inspired by childhood reminiscing of sheet-cleaning traditions, I sent out a survey about household cleaning habits. 45 responses* and a few Excel charts later, here are the quantitative results. The survey also included an open-ended question about the strangest household chore you do - results from that coming in the next installment.

Thanks to everyone who participated. Enjoy comparing your answers with the aggregate.

First, what chores were important to you to feel at ease in your home.

Dishes and general de-cluttering were obvious front-runners. And let's be honest, no one cares about dust until guests are coming over.

Second, who definitely has to make the bed before sleeping in it, and who could care less.

(Note: "Yeah.." in the graph above corresponds to the answer choice "Yes I have to make the bed before sleeping in it, but I'm trying to get over it")

Third, what course of action you take when you notice the trash getting full.

I am disappointed that more people don't just get out another bag. That's what I do. My trash is in the same room as my washer/dryer. I can get 3 trash bags going, plus a trash can full of recycling as well as stacks of boxes filled with smaller boxes spilling off the washer/dryer tops. All ready to be taken out to the garage. (Yes, I deliberately used the passive voice in that last sentence. Trash is not on my chore chart.)

Fourth, a grab bag of detailed household cleaning tasks.

Really, I think the hot water heater is feeling like a neglected appliance compared to the washer. I hazard that most of us have lived in places without a washing machine but not without hot water. Let's show a little more respect.

Also, for the person who has folded his/her dirty laundry - please comment on whether you felt pride or shame when admitting to that in the survey.

Fifth, how often do you do a variety of household chores. For this visualization, I looked at the median response as well as responses in the 10th, 25th, 75th and 90th percentiles and ordered the chores along this frequency line accordingly. Semi-scientific, and if all the statisticians will close their eyes here, I'll claim that semi-scientific is close enough in most situations - particularly in the social sciences.

Okay, so I'll wash my sheets more often than each December 24th. But you can't make me clean my silverware tray annually. Really, more often than cleaning windows and oven?

*86% of respondents were female

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

can too much data be a bad thing?

Results from the household cleaning survey are forthcoming. I've run some basic descriptive statistics and now I'm trying to put together some good visualizations to showcase the findings.

In the meantime, Abe and I have been up to our ears in baby data. First, I've tried to put Genghis on a more structured feeding schedule. To track results, I've been recording each feeding time on our oversized calendar in the bedroom.

Second, after waking up every half hour between 4 and 7am last night to console a crying baby, I've decided it's time to help Genghis learn to soothe himself back to sleep. And by that I mean I'd like to try "crying it out" for a few days and see if Genghis can come off conqueror. Abe has a dissenting opinion. As a compromise, we decided to perform a social experiment on our child using an interrupted time series design. We will keep a detailed event log of Genghis's sleeping, waking and soothing times for a few days. Then we will try an intervention, track the data, and compare to see the effect.

Of course, I whipped out a spreadsheet for this pretty quick. It has 2 columns: "Time" and "Event". The event options are:
  • "calming" for when we start trying to get Genghis to sleep
  • "sleeping" for when he is asleep
  • "wake and calming" for when he wakes up and we go in to calm him
  • "wake and self calming" for when he is awake but calming himself
  • "wake" for when he wakes up and we let me stay awake (if it's time for him to get up)
  • "we wake" for times when we wake him up (say, because we have to go somewhere)

Another of course - this afternoon he woke up 5 times during his nap from 3-4:30. I've already filled an entire sheet in the event log! (And perhaps helped my case for the need for us to intervene - or rather, stop intervening...)

Friday, October 1, 2010

friday photos

He smiles while wearing his enormous Bum Genius cloth diapers.

He smiles while reading Baby Einstein.

He smiles while enjoying outside blanket and boppy time.

He still does not smile while taking a bath.*

*We think perhaps the problem was that he was bathing in a tupperware container that he had obviously outgrown. Grandma fixed that problem by purchasing him a deluxe froggie bathtub. Results forthcoming...