Sunday, December 30, 2007

Please Pray

for my friend Leanne. Her father passed away suddenly and very unexpectedly the Saturday before Christmas. Please pray not only for her and her family, but also for her husband, who is home with their 3 kids during all this. Thank you. You're prayers are so appreciated!

What Could Be More Fun?

What could be more fun than a barrel full of monkeys? Nothing? Oh, think again! You, my friend, must have never spent 6 hours in an airport with active, sleep deprived children who haven't been home for 10 days.

We left yesterday, mid-morning, on our 3 hour drive back to the bay area after spending a few fun-filled days with my parents. We left early so we could spend a few hours with our good friends Scott and Chris, and their children Emily and Josh. Emily was sick during our stay with Brian's parents, so we weren't able to see them during the first part of our California visit. The kids don't sleep well in the car anymore, so we felt lucky that Caitlin napped for an hour or so, and that Brandon nodded off for around half an hour. We visited with the S's, and the kids ran around and played. Unnecessarily we rushed through dinner so we could get to the airport on time (thanks for taking us there, Donna!). We were told at the check-in counter that the plane was delayed 3 hours from Puerto Vallarta because the flight crew didn't get there on time. Excuse me? The flight crew was 3 hours late? And this is acceptable? How on earth can you be 3 hours late to your plane? I've never been 3 hours late to my job. Ever.

So, our plane was now scheduled to leave at 10:45 pm instead of 8:05 pm. Fun fun fun. It was already not going to be fun with the kids at the original departure time. On top of it all, we were stuck at a small airport that decided sometime between August and December to rip out the kids play area in favor of security lines. Personally, and bitterness aside, I liked it better the original way. We were given food vouchers, but we'd already eaten. Too bad, since that would have killed half an hour. Instead, we were stuck in a small area with two kids who'd rather run than sit. We camped out in the corner and Brian and I took turns walking around the terminal. I was usually muttering something like "stop it," or "stop crying," or "Mommy is very angry with you right now" while walking around. Sensing a theme? Caitlin originally liked playing under the seats, then decided that running away from us into crowds of strangers was much more fun.

Brandon was pretty good, but then again, he's the mellow one. I managed to find an area near some far away gates, but usually away from the crowds, where all the extra seats from the gates are stored. Probably something to do with the remodel. Caitlin and I would have races there. The trouble with Caitlin is that she's never satisfied. With Brandon you can run around for half and hour, and he's good to sit for half an hour and do something quiet. Not Caitlin. We'd run for a little while, and she was good for about, oh, 2 minutes afterwards.



2 kids in an umbrella stroller....


Brandon having one of several "time outs" in the airport

I had brought the kids PJ's, and changed them about 10:00 pm. The women's bathroom has a large bench in it, so I sat there to change Caitlin's clothes instead of taking up a stall. As I pulled off her onsie, she yelled "NAKED!" at the top of her lungs, and jumped from my lap (still wearing her diaper, thankfully!). She ran over to a mirrored wall and proceeded to dance in front of it for 5 minutes. Those were the best 5 minutes of my evening. It was as if house music was playing, she was dancing so ferociously! Several people commented on how cute she was, and a woman who had been doing her hair in the mirror near the bench said "Nothing better than a woman with confidence." I'm just glad my confident, nearly naked child didn't run out of the bathroom!

Around 10:45, when there was still no plane, I was hoping that someone would say the flight was cancelled and take us to a hotel. My kids were tired, but still running at a pace that made everyone tired just looking at them. I was about to drop But no, no hotel. We boarded the plane sometime around 11:10, and took off by 11:30. Thankfully, once the plane landed, the gate personnel and crew were all business (but with a sense of humor). It was by far the quickest boarding and take-off that I've ever gone through. And that plane wasn't packed, which made it easier. Caitlin was not. I managed to move over to another row, but she was up and down, on the seat and off the seat, wanting my lap, wanting daddy's lap. It finally came down to her just laying across me, sobbing, and then crashing to sleep. I glanced through the seats at one point and saw another child about the same age doing the same thing. Brandon was pretty good. He didn't sleep, but had big bags under his eyes while he watched 2 hours of Boomerang on the free Directv. I was so tired that I watched an entire hour of "Access Hollywood". If you've never seen it, don't bother. There's a reason that this stuff is shown at 2:00 am.

We landed at 2:50, and got our luggage rather quickly (well, after riding a tram through DIA, and traipsing through vast amounts of empty terminals). Brian called the shuttle service, which took us to our off-airport lot and dropped us off directly at our car. I'd gotten past the "I'm so tired I'm nauseas" phase, and had gone directly to the "I'm ready to pass out" phase. The shuttle driver put our luggage into the back of the car, wouldn't accept a tip, scampered quicky back to the warm shuttle and drove off. Guess he didn't want to help with the next step! After spending 10 minutes digging our car out of the 6 inches of snow in the 15 degree weather, and chipping the ice off the windshield, we (shivering) got into the car to warm up. The kids were complaining about being cold, even though they were in double layers and we had the heater on! They asked for water, but the water bottles in the car were frozen solid. Next time I'm leaving my boots and better gloves in the car. We drove slowly home on the icy roads. DIA is in the middle of nowhere, too. Next to nothing an no one. The trip home, which is half an hour without traffic, was close to an hour. Luckily the kids nodded off as soon as we started driving. We were able to make it up our snow covered driveway, thanks to 4-Wheel Drive, and carry the kids to their rooms. Brandon kept doing an odd, shuddering thing when I tried to put him to bed. At first I thought he was doing it because he had partially woken up when I took him out of his car seat, but he wouldn't stop. When I'd start to pull away to leave his bedroom, he'd start up again.I laid near him for a while until he stopped.

Brian and I finally dropped into bed at 5:00 am. A mere 21 hours after we woke up. Our luggage still in the car. Our kids still in their zip-front, hooded sweatshirts! It's been an interesting day. I bet we'll sleep good tonight!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Oh, Trader Joe's


Oh, how I miss thee......

Oh how I miss thy great dried fruits and nuts section, and children's yogurt
Oh how I miss thy great prices on milk, eggs and butter (although thine prices have inched up just a bit since I moved)
Oh how I miss thy great wine prices, and large selection (and, lo, how I miss the ability to purchaseth wine in a grocery store.....but that is another lament altogether!)
Oh how I miss thy small, but well priced, selection of environmentally-friendly cleaning products
Oh please, Trader Joe's, maketh thy way to the great state of Colorado soon!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Wishing you and yours a wonderful and very merry Christmas!




Monday, December 24, 2007

Being in California

We traveled back to California last week to be with our families during Christmas. It's crazy traveling with kids, but Caitlin was much better on the flight out this time (thanks to "Toddler Tunes"). As we were walking around the neighborhood last night, looking at Christmas lights, I realized a few of things I miss about California (besides my family and friends):
flat ground
winter rain
overcast skies
humidity
evergreen trees
the variety of people who live in the state


And then there's the things I don't miss:
the housing prices
how crowded it is here
gas prices (about 60 cents cheaper per gallon in Colorado)

I'm missing the snow, but right now it's only from a viewing standpoint. Our backyard is still a winter wonderland, and will probably be one until March. I'm liking the fact that I'm not driving on sheets of ice, also known as our street, to get to the main streets that have been plowed or sanded. And I don't miss walking over the ice to get anywhere! But I do love the snow, and the variety of weather in Colorado, so I'll be happy to return to that. In a week. Not now.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

House Pics

Okay, I'm procrastinating. I need to finish packing, but I'm taking a break. I managed to take a few pics of our place, now that it's unpacked and cleaned. I haven't done a lot of decorating, and some of the walls still seem stark to me. The original owners did a nice job with the beige paint in the living room and upstairs landing and hallway. The master bedroom is green. Green green green. I'll be painting over that in spring, when I can open the windows without feeling the arctic chill! It's a shame, too, since it's a good paint job and a nice color. But I like olive, and all my stuff is olive, not green. The rest of the house is white. And stark. I'd like to paint it a creamy yellow to warm it up a little. It's really hard to get that cozy house feeling that I like when the walls are white and the entire downstairs is hardwood.

We even have a basement!Right now it's the kids playroom. That wasn't the original intention, but chilly temperatures, a couple days of snow, and a winter wonderland backyard changed all that! The basement isn't real big (this house is pretty small for this area of Colorado. I think we have a starter home), but it works! We hope to get a bed or sleeper couch down there soon for guests. For now we have a comfy Aerobed and warm blankets and comforters. We love guests, so call us if you're going to be in town. We'll move the kid toys aside, and you get the basement and bathroom all to yourself!

I guess I should go back to packing now. Or at least addressing the few Christmas cards that I haven't sent out yet.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Brandon's Christmas Tree

Brandon is so proud of the paper plate Christmas tree that he (and the rest of his classmates) did in his Pre-K class. Why, you may ask?



Because his picture is the top of the tree!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Night Night

Caitlin decided that all her animals needed to go Night Night on the quilt







and then that they needed to be covered up by her blankey


and then that she needed to check on them regularly

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Where Everybody Knows Your House.....

We moved into our new house just about 2 months ago. I think I'm finally finished unpacking. That wasn't too hard, though, as this house is bigger than anywhere we've lived before. But still, those final, finishing touches always take forever, don't they?

When people at our church ask us where we live, we give the city, and the closest cross streets. Occasionally the street name. When we don't give the street name, someone always pipes up that they had a friend that lived on "_____" street. Our street! Our street is not very long, and only has a handful of houses on it. It's a nice street, but really nothing special. Very cookie cutter. But, out of all the streets in all the local towns, why does everyone seem to know our particular street?

Now we know.

As it turns out, the original owners of our house, who owned it for about 10 years, went to our current church. They were in ministry, and so many people also knew them from their ministry (Campus Crusade for Christ? I can't remember). They moved back East 3 years ago, and sold their house to smoker-boy, the owner we bought the house from. A family we talked to on Sunday mentioned how their good friends, who they are still in contact with, lived on our street. When they mentioned the name, I thought (out loud, of course), "wait, they owned our house!". And sure enough, they did. The family had been to the house, and even mentioned the nice tan-colored walls we have in the living room and upstairs. So crazy. But now we know why everyone knows our street. Most likely they all know our house, too. Small world.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Artistic Picture Attempt #1

Morning snow on the branches


Thursday, December 06, 2007

What I Saw This Morning

The kids slept in. Hooray! I got to have breakfast, coffee, and a shower uninterrupted, and all after 7:00 am. This is what I saw downstairs when I was done blow drying my hair........


Then he looked up and saw me!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Still the New Girl

My women's bible study group at our church, CBC, had its Christmas brunch today. It was a little strange. Our church is very multi-generational, which is not a bad thing. However, at the Wednesday morning bible study, I am on the young side. Again, this is not a bad thing, but it is a little weird. 'Cause when I say young, I mean young. I was the youngest in my Mother's Together small group at Menlo Pres, but only by 5 years! I got a lot of good advice at that group. At my women's group, I'm on the young side by 20 plus years. They asked us to dress up for the brunch. Knowing me, I would have done that anyway. I like to dress up. I live in Colorado, where people wear jeans most of the time, so it's a nice change. However, asking us to dress up really does show the age of the group. At least half of the women attending are over 60 and all seem to be good friends with each other. We don't have much in common. Luckily for me the other half of the group is generally under the age of 45. Still, I'm not finding a lot in common with that half, either.

Caitlin and I arrived at the brunch early. Since I have to drop Brandon off at preschool by 8:15, it's hard to be late to W2W. She was in her best black velvet pants and hand-me-down Christmas Tree sweater (which she was so proud of, and kept showing to anyone who would look!). I was in my red sweater and wool trousers. I even wore heels! I checked her into the nursery, and headed to the chapel to hear the speaker. I sat with Heather, a young mom in our group. After the speaker, we all headed to the fellowship hall for the brunch. Heather had to go feed her newborn babe (so cute), so I headed off by myself. I found the table reserved for our small group, and banded with a few group members to get some food. We all headed back to the table and sat down. Then Heather came in with the baby. I had just seen her two days earlier when I took a meal over to her house, and didn't want to crowd her at the brunch. I knew she was nervous about too many people holding her new baby (who was born the Saturday after Thanksgiving). No one else was worried about that, and they all got up and headed over to her table. So there I was. Alone at my table, eating a cracker.

It was so weird.

I sat there for a minute, finishing my cracker, and looked around. All I could see were women talking to other women. Women holding babies. Women with their friends and acquaintances. Women laughing and joking and telling stories. And me. Eating a cracker. By myself. I couldn't handle being alone at the table, so I decided I needed to go somewhere. But where? I don't have any real friends at our church. Just acquaintances. My small group is nice, but most of them were crowding Heather and the baby, and I just couldn't join in. So I headed out into the hall, toward the bathroom. It's a safe place to go when you're alone (unless you're in a bad part of town, I suppose). I could see Caitlin's toddler class as I approached the door, but she couldn't see me. She looked so cute eating her snack with all the other toddlers. I don't get to witness this very often, so I just stopped and observed her. Eating goldfish. Looking at the caregivers. Watching the other toddlers. It was adorable! After a few minutes I headed back to the table, and noticed the other members of my small group were finally there, eating their soup and crackers. I felt better about sitting back down and eating. At least I wasn't alone. But it did remind me of this...

I'm still the new girl.

We have gone to CBC since July. I go to MOPS twice a month. I go to a weekly Bible study. We go to the a class on Sunday mornings (engaged, couples, young families). But we are still very much alone at the the church. I've found some friends in a few moms at Brandon's preschool. The nice thing about that is our kids are all the same ages. But I've found nothing like that at church. Because we attended our old church for so long (almost 11 years!), I've forgotten how hard it is to make friends at church. Everyone is so busy serving. Two of my closest friends in California didn't even attend my church (although I met one of them there originally). But that's we're I'm looking to fill the gap. There, amongst believers. I'm still hoping we can make some couple friends at church. Couple friends are the hardest. Finding two people who mesh with two other people. Not easy. But for right now I'd just settle for a connection or two. I'm a little tired of being alone. It's been 7 months since we moved here and, try as I might, the walls have not been good for conversation. Brandon and Caitlin are not good for conversation. Brian's good, though, so I have that. And we have our friends Rob and Janet, but they're 45 minutes away. It's not far, though, unless it's snowing. I'm trying to patient, but I will be so happy when God grants me friends! And I'll be happy when I'm not the new girl.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Caitlin's Likes

Caitlin has recently begun starting sentences with "I like". Her favorite "I like " sentence is "I like Toddler Tunes". My reply to this, always, is "I know you like Toddler Tunes". She now likes to say "I like Mommy", "I like Daddy," "I like Bindon (Brandon)", and, of course, "I like Kit-in (Caitlin)." There's a 5 second pause in there, too, between "I like" and the object of her affection. We went to our friend's Rob and Janet's house last night, and got home late. After getting home she proudly told her daddy, "I like......home!" And then smiled! Yay! I'm glad you like your home. Really. This is going to make all our lives so much easier.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Please Knock, Baby Sleeping

The doorbell rang at 3:30. It was UPS delivering a package. They must do a "ring and run" sort of thing, because I have never been able to get to the door before the delivery person has gotten back into the truck and started driving away. Even when I lived in a 1000 square foot duplex! It was 10 steps to the front door, and I still couldn't get there on time! When we moved to Colorado I didn't put up a "Please Knock" sign over the doorbell. My babies rooms were not within a stone's throw of the front door, so I figured that it didn't matter. Obviously I am an idiot. Caitlin can hear a doorbell being rung 10 houses away, and will, in fact, rise from her nap when it happens. Doesn't matter how loud it is. Doesn't matter that it's not for her. Doesn't matter how long she's been asleep. She will rise. I don't know what I have done, but I can't figure out why I'm not allowed to have more than half-an-hour to myself per day, not counting bathroom breaks. Unfortunately, I will probably be that pathetic mom doing the "happy dance" when my kids are in school. The mom that no other moms can relate to. The mom that is so gleeful, at least for that first week of school, that she can go to the grocery store without a screaming toddler, or that she can try on a pair of jeans without her preschooler announcing the color of her underwear to the entire dressing room. I will be that happy woman, at least for the first week!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Oh, Humidifier!

Today we had our humidifier worked on. We got the manual switch changed to automatic one. No one wants to run down to the basement daily to change the switch based on the outside temperature. Especially here, where it can vary greatly from day to day.

It's a nice concept, the whole-house humidifier. We need to keep the auto fan on for a couple of days to get the humidity levels up. I guess the walls and hardwood will absorb a lot of the initial moisture. After Saturday, when we turn the auto fan off, the humidifier will come on whenever the heater comes on. Heat and moist air. Feels like Washington DC? Not really. I haven't even noticed the humidity levels rising. I keep hoping that it will "automagically" (thanks, Anni!) make my skin moist and clear. Or that it will make my hands soft instead of dry and flaky. And that I will be able to wear my contacts all day without major eye-aches. But no such luck. It has made the house warmer at a lower temperature, though. Of course, the insulation also makes 25 degree days like today bearable!

The fact that we even need a whole-house humidifier is just odd. I remember speaking with my friend Kris's brother-in-law before we moved here. He's a California guy who now lives in Denver. He said that it would be well worth the money to have one. He also told me that he goes through lots of chapstick and lotion, especially in the winter, which I'm finding out that we are doing as well. I haven't had the itchy skin that some friends have told me they had while living here, but I have oily skin normally (except on my dry, cracked hands, of course!). Here I have normal skin. This must be the type of weather that my skin has been preparing for all my life, 'cause it has spent years producing excess oil that I don't need! Both kids have dry patches on their faces which require me to sneak into their rooms before I go to bed and put UnPetroleum Jelly or hydrocortisone cream on their cheeks! The things we do as moms......

So far the auto switch on the humidifier is working. The fan has been blowing moisture in the air. The windows got some condensation, so we turned it down a bit. We'll see how it goes. Sadly, I am looking forward to visiting the humidity in California. A state which never seemed humid until now.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

How I Know We are a Family of Nerds

Caitlin was saying "cheese" for me in this one....

Brian, most likely checking his fantasy sports (sigh), Brandon playing his new game, and Caitlin looking on in amazment at what Brandon is doing

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Old Friends

I was having a blah day today. It started out with a cranky boy, and he managed to raise my blood pressure levels to unknown heights! The girl was fine, but mildly constipated, which made her cry randomly when pain hit. Even though I went to MOPS this morning, I still felt blah. Unloved. Missing all my friends. Then I got an e-mail from my friend, Erin. She has also moved twice this year. However, she moved from California to New York, then from New York to London. While I envy the fun and exciting places she's been able to live, I could empathize with her frustrations about moving with 2 children. I understand how hard it is to make friends and find a new church. It's hard to have to learn new surroundings. I know how hard it is to get organized in a new house - twice! But I didn't have to live in temporary housing while searching for a place to live (although I did endure 5 months in a crappy split-level!). It was so nice to get your e-mail, Erin! I loved hearing about your crazy move and new set up in the UK. I will write back! Thanks again. You made my day!

Monday, November 26, 2007

No Joy in Blogging Today

It is really amazing how much I do not want to blog today. I just don't feel like writing. I don't have writer's block. I just don't want to take the time to do this! What I really want to do includes, but is not limited to, eating Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and watching TV. I've TiVo'd a few good programs, and I'd like to watch them and basically do nothing else! I need to call a friend, clean the hardwood floors, and do the prep-work for dinner. But I don't want to do them, either! So much for NaBloPoMo! I know I signed up for it willingly. How many more days of this?

Sometimes having to do something all the time takes the joy out of really doing it. I usually want to write all the time. When I see something, think something, or have a description of what I'm going through pop into my head I want to write it down. But I'm usually doing something else necessary, like driving or taking care of kids. But today, not so much. The only cool thing I wanted to ruminate on this morning was the sunrise. I caught it about 6:30 this morning when I went out to get the paper. Colorado sky's are very cool. I've blogged about the sunsets before, but the sunrise today was so gorgeous it caught me off guard!



Sunday, November 25, 2007

I Need to Post Something Today

Something.

Anything.

I'm not in the mood to blog (can you tell?).

However, I am the one who willingly signed up for NaBloPoMo, so I need to say something. And, as so eloquently said by Lisa, I hate when people say they have nothing to say.

So, here are the highlights of my day:

**Caitlin brought me my earplugs today.... in her mouth! Eewww... I'm tossing those ones!

**Brandon decided that big boys don't need bed rails, so we are doing night #2 without his bed rain. So far, so good. He hasn't fallen out.

**We are almost unpacked! We have even done the books, which we didn't touch in our rental. I still want a couch for the living room. I'm surprised, though, at how all the stuff we had in our small duplex in California fits quite well in this large house. My friend Becky said the same thing about her furniture in her big house when she first moved in. I didn't understand it then, but I get it now.

**We warmed up past freezing today. I think it might have been in the lower 40's. Woo hoo! Sweater weather!

**We made it to church today. Between house guests and sick kids, we haven't been in 4 weeks. Not that it really matters. We still don't know that many people. But I had nursery duty, so I needed to be there.

**I finally ventured out of the house today. Is it bad that I was excited that they opened a Steve and Barry's close by? Now I don't have to commute half an hour to shop. They didn't have what I wanted, but I was excited anyway. I am so 15. I also made it to Bed Bath and Beyond and Toys R Us. My life is exciting.

That's about it from my exciting life. On to the next thing, which involves some chocolate, wine, and general lounging around.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Roll Over, Roll Over...

Caitlin asked to watch Toddler Tunes earlier this evening. I was trying to finish caramelizing the pecans for our dinner salad, and agreed. Friends were coming over for dinner in the near future, and I had more to do. I put the DVD in, and went back into the kitchen. A little while later I heard a crash from the family room. I looked over, and Caitlin had rolled off the couch. I asked if she was okay, and she said yes. So I went back to fixing dinner. Seconds later I heard another crash. Caitlin had rolled off the couch again! I looked up at the TV and realized that the song on the DVD was "Roll Over." The lyrics go something like this:

"There were ten in the bed and the little one said "roll over, roll over." So they all rolled over and one fell off.
"There were nine in the bed and the little one said "roll over, roll over..."


.... and you can pretty much guess the rest of the lyrics.

To save Caitlin from actually hurting herself (since there were several more numbers to get through), I suggested she "roll over" on the floor. She complied, and began rolling all over the carpet. It was pretty funny to see her rolling over and over, and rolling into the walls and couches. But at least she wasn't rolling off the couch anymore. I don't need another trip to urgent care for this little one!

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Slums of MV

In case you've ever wondered about some of the places we use to live, here's a review I wrote up in late 2001 about an apartment we lived in from 1999-2001. I updated it today to all a few more pertinent details (which will hopefully keep people away from this place!). I should have reported this place when we lived there. It was horrendous! The manager was mentally incompetent (I'm not sure he should have been allowed to live alone), and unable to take care of the place. The management company didn't care what went on. With the exception of indoor plumbing and living on the 2nd floor (which kept out the mice), we lived in the slums. I'm pretty sure we would have frozen to death if we'd lived in another part of the country. As it was, we roasted all summer, and lived in a fairly mild area! 


"From the outside, Ed_____ Apartments looks decent. The manager, although incredibly incompetent, tries really hard to sweet talk you. The rent is very reasonable for this area, but you get less than what you pay for. Once living there, one will notice that it has a lot of bad points followed by a few good points.

The complex manager is unresponsive unless the issue is absolutely urgent, and the apartments are in really bad shape. They bake in summer time, and freeze in the winter, due to the fact that the windows and doors are ill-fitted and leak, don't close all the way, and dust is the main form of insulation in the attic (average indoor summer temperature: 94 during the day, 85 degrees in the evenings, average winter temperature(prior to turning on the heater) is 45-50 degrees). All updates done in the apartments are shoddy, and use cheap materials. Expect a lot of stuff to fall apart (I had two closet doors and the sliding glass shower door fall on me!). If your maintenance request isn't urgent, and you don't threaten the manager, your problem may never be fixed. It took 3 days for the manager to even look at a sink that was so clogged it took a plumber 2 hours to fix it (called on Saturday, plummer came out the next Friday evening). Keep in mind we had lived there less than a month, and did not cause the clog. Carpets are old, stained and worn. No professional cleaning or painting is done prior to moving in. The manager is so lazy that he painted the ceiling around the blades of the ceiling fan! Our furnace was so old that no company in the U.S. made parts for it any longer. All repairs were jerry-rigged and welded together, and you had to pray it would continue to work. You knew it was working because when it fired up it sounded like an airplane taking off from the hallway. Forget leaving that thing on all night! Besides, the heat liked to rise up and escape through the ceiling to a better place somewhere in the sky. The closet doors are metal, dented, and some did not shut. The counter top in the kitchen has been painted over (you'll take out a chunk of paint if you drop anything). It was impossible to keep clean, since the dirt and the apartment had spent so much time together they didn't like to be apart. I stocked up on Stick-ups at the local Walmart to keep the nasty moldy smell in the cupboards and closets from invading the rest of the apartment. After 10 months of being told the bathroom would be fixed, we had the 1970's themed wallpaper completely stripped and sanded the walls. I painted over the entire room in two evenings. It was nice to have walls that weren't orange and green, and peeling apart. The apartment manager called me 4 months later to let me know he was ready to paint the bathroom. Cannot figure out what the guy does all day!

There are minimal laundry facilities (1 washer and 1 dryer per building - 10 units). There is a pool (although it's unheated and is condemned regularly). There are no noise ordinances in the agreement, and the apartment manager always wants you to talk to the tenant you are having a problem with instead of him talking to them himself. He wondered why I didn't go over an talk to my neighbors when they woke me at 3:00 am on a Tuesday with yet another party. With no insulation in place, there is no soundproofing between apartments, which makes things very noisy except in the dead of night (say, between 3:00-5:30 a.m.). The apartment manager will most likely argue with you about any complaints, regardless of the severity. You'll need to call the non-emergency police hot line to cure the shenanigans of your neighbors if you aren't in a quiet part. Most of the residents in my building are immigrants, are quiet, and keep to themselves.

 On the good side, it's fairly quiet if you live in the back of the building. Tenants receive 1 -2 covered parking spaces (based on rooms in apt) and 2-3 storage lockers. There is a water heater in each apartment, so you always have hot water. The location is wonderful- very central to life in M.V., P.A. and S-town, and no more than 2 miles to any of the freeways. The property management company is completely out of the picture. They think that Don, the manager, is doing a good job (??)."

The Joys of Insulation

It hasn't gotten above freezing here for a few days now, and I think we have a couple more to go. It may have warmed up past 25 degrees today, but I didn't check. It was just cold outside. We bundled the kids up to head out to Home Depot. I know it's Black Friday and all, but we figured Home Depot wasn't the hot spot for consumerism. It was a might bit nippy out. Caitlin's cheeks have been pink for a couple of days. I haven't figured out if it has to do with the croup that the kids have been suffering from (she got a mild case after Brandon's more severe one), or the weather. Maybe her face is chapped. Both kids have had chapped lips. I sneak into their rooms before going to bed and put chapstick on them! They lick it off, or smear the entire stick on their faces if I let them have it during waking hours.

So, it's been cold here. Being Californians, we are still getting use to the cold, dry weather. We still haven't figured out how to use our whole house humidifier yet, either! But, you know, we aren't freezing. Amazing. Even with all this cold weather (highs in the low 20's, and lows in the teens), our heater is not running all day and all night. It's amazing! Our house isn't toasty, but it's warm. Usually between 70-74 during the day, depending on whether or not the sun in shining. And why? Insulation, baby! We have insulation! Wow! What a concept! I think we have more insulation in our garage here than we had in any of the places we lived in California. I'm not sure why we didn't have insulation. I know it was invented long before I was born. But yet, somehow, the builders must have forgotten to add it to our houses. We have big, thick pads of it in the garage, though. The closet in our basement is unfinished and has a plywood floor, but it's also lined with the big, thick pads of insulation.

I think our first apartment that we lived in after we were married might have had insulation, but we weren't there very long, so I can't remember. Our second apartment had a nice layer of dust in the attic for insulation. I still have to laugh at review I wrote after we moved out (I went by "anonymous" back then). I wrote it in 2002, right after we moved. We lived there for waaay too long. It was a horrible, crappy apartment. But the rent was reasonable during a time when rents were skyrocketing, and the location was perfect for our lives. It baked all summer and froze all winter. It was nice for about a month in spring and again in fall. During the summer it was regularly 95 degrees inside. I learned how to cook in summer without using the oven and barely using the stove. Here are a few things I wrote in the review about the heating situation in that apartment:

"...the apartments are in really bad shape. They bake in summer time, and freeze in the winter, due to the fact that the windows and doors are ill-fitted and leak, don't close all the way, and dust is the main form of insulation in the attic (average indoor summer temperature: 85 degrees in the evenings, average winter temperature(prior to turning on the heater): 45-50 degrees)."

"Our furnace was so old that no company in the U.S. made parts for it any longer. All repairs were jerry-rigged and welded together, and you had to pray it would continue to work. You knew it was working because when it fired up it sounded like an airplane taking off from the hallway. Forget leaving that thing on all night. Besides, the heat liked to rise up and escape through the ceiling to a better place somewhere in the sky."

I may have worded things to sound funny, but the sad thing is, I wasn't exaggerating.

We moved into our next place, a duplex, when we wanted to start a family. I couldn't imaging lugging a child up the stairs to our hideous Mountain View apartment, and I wanted my own washer and dryer. It was a nice duplex. It was completely updated, had 2 bathrooms, and a garage! However, it too lacked insulation. The summers were hot. Not as bad as our previous place, but not good, either. It didn't freeze in the winter, though, which was a bonus. The summer I was pregnant with Brandon was absolutely miserable. I was a hot box, and the duplex was a hot box. Not a good combination. There are reasons Caitlin was born in the dead of winter. I didn't think I'd live through another pregnancy again in that kind of heat! We moved the spring after Brandon was born. I couldn't be a stay at home mom in that place during the summer. It was too hot.

Our next place was much better. Not only was it bigger, but it faced north/south, so we could get a breeze in the house. It was nice and cool in the summer. I rarely set up the portable air conditioner. The house was long, anyway, so the cool air didn't reach all the way to the end. Again, though, no insulation! What is with these builders anyway? Was it cheaper to heat places in the 60's than to add insulation? Our place wasn't freezing most of the time in the winter, but that's only because we lived in California! If it was here in Colorado the heater would have been running almost full time for the last 4 days, and it would probably only be 62 degrees in the house.

But here. No problem. It's cold. The houses are insulated. People wear jackets and warm clothes. I'm cold outside, but not inside. It's really amazing. The weather should warm up to the mid 30's in few days, and I am looking forward to it. I've been sick, and I don't feel like running around in the snow with the kids. I know Brandon's disappointed, but hey, that's what Daddies are for, right? I'll be out in a couple of days. When it's 35. Or 40. When the sun is shining. It will be warmer then.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Putting on her "Boops"

video

Thanksgiving on Our Own

Today was the first Thanksgiving that I can recall when I was not with family. It's been a little strange. Not bad, just different. Brian and I were excited to try and cook our own turkey. We've spent all these years collecting cooking ware and baking thermometers, and thought we should put it to good use. I managed to find a 10 pounder at Wal-Mart the other day. All for a whopping $3.50. For some reason, I thought turkey's were expensive. Our turkey was delicious! Very moist and tasty. I made apple, bacon and sage stuffing as well. We rounded the meal off with mashed potatoes. No real veggies, but we'll survive that for one day. Tomorrow's dinner will be turkey burgers, and Saturday we'll have turkey tortilla soup. Some friends are coming over Saturday, so that should use up even more turkey!

It didn't get above freezing today. I can't remember if it was 26 or 28. Either way, it was a might bit chilly outside. Brandon loves playing in the snow and clearing the deck. Caitlin, we're not so sure. She wants to put on her "boops" (boots) and gloves, but she never seems to have a good time outside. She tromps around, and then cries. Eventually she sits in the snow and gets all wet. We need to find some plastic-y snow pants for her to wear this winter.

We've had a interesting year so far. We made a huge decision earlier in the year, and shipped our family almost half way across the US, away from family and friends. We've moved twice and lived in 3 houses in the last 6 months. The kids have had huge mood swings on a regular basis, most likely due to all the changes in our lives. It's been a challenge. Making friends has been a little tougher than expected. Our pace of life has quickened with the introduction of Brandon's Pre-K class and involvement in our new church. I am thankful, though, for the consistencies in my life. My family. My husband and children. My good friends. My God. The things He shown me about myself in the last few months (whether I like it or not!). His unfailing love and grace. I am thankful for His grace, and the grace He has shown others.

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope your day has been filled with love and grace.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday



Today

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Well, I'd Be Using My Degree....

You Should Be a Teacher

You are patient, optimistic, and good at explaining things.
You work well with all types of people, and you are a good role model.
Success and positive outcomes are extremely important to you.
You are both a good leader and instructor. People look up to and depend on you.

You do best when you:

- Can see the results of your work
- Are able to teach someone a new skill

You would also be a good nurse or non fiction writer.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Wacky Weather

Today's weather report:


I don't recall any song with lyrics such as "I'm dreaming of a white Thanksgiving," but it looks like that's what we'll be having.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Colorado Sunsets

The sunsets in Colorado are really cool. And this was just tonight.

Sometime around 5:00 pm

A little later on the pink and yellow skies turned to flaming red and orange skies









Saturday, November 17, 2007

Office Furniture

We bought a desk today. I realized that's not exciting news for most of you (but there are a few of you out there are strange, and you may just be shaking with excitement!). We have to keep Brandon calm these days. If he gets excited or worked up the lovely croup cough comes up. We figured that going to a furniture store was not going to get him worked up in the least bit. We had to get out of the house - the fact that his sister kept playing with his trains was causing Brandon great trauma. Life cannot possibly get worse than that! To keep our sanity, we headed out. To a housebound mom with a sick kid, getting out of the house is very exciting!

Before we moved to Colorado we sold our computer armoire. It was nice and kept everything in one place, but was an absolute behemoth to move! In fact, we were going to sell it to our friends next door, but couldn't get it into their condo! That's how difficult it could be. So, we sold it and kept the money for a new desk. Then we got to our rental. Ha Ha Ha! That house was awful! It was a split level, and for no apparent reason. The kitchen was upstairs! There were 20 steps leading down from the main living area to the backyard, and the deck and stairs shook the whole time you were walking down. The last thing we wanted to do there was bring in more furniture! So we set up a card table and a utility cart, and that was our desk.


It worked fine as long as you were the only one in the room. We hated when the kids were down there, as everything was out in the open. But they loved it. They loved to go down the the room of danger, complete with a huge, nasty fireplace and killer hearth, to check their e-mail ('cause they think they have accounts!).
We've dealt with our shaky card table system, complete with a folding chair, for the last 6 months. Today we spent the cash and got a desk and matching filing cabinet. Looks something like this:

It gets delivered Wednesday. No more card table! I can't wait! Maybe after we are "desked" I'll even decorate the office......

Friday, November 16, 2007

Croup

Had to go to the doctor's office today. Why? Brandon, as it turns out, has croup. This does explain why he came downstairs yesterday, calling my name, but sounding like an 85 year old asthmatic smoker. He's never ever sounded hoarse or lost his voice, so I knew something was wrong. He had a fever, was wheezing a bit, and had this cough that sounded like a seal from Marine World had been let loose somewhere in our house. He'd been fine on Wednesday, and then suddenly can't breathe. This morning when he came downstairs, I asked him how he was. His reply: "sick". As we sat on the couch while he had a juice and water combo, he asked me to call his preschool teacher and tell her that he couldn't come in today. Nothing gets past Brandon. I called the pediatrician's office and got him an appointment at 4:15. Good thing, because I heard Brandon coughing, wheezing and crying in his room around 3:30. When I went in he was crying very hard, drooling excessively, and saying he couldn't breathe. I'm not usually a panicky mom, but I could feel that rising up in me. But we had an appointment. I knew I had to calm him down. Brandon can work himself up into a frenzy. Even as a baby we couldn't let him "cry it out" in his crib because he would become hysterical. It took me half an hour to calm him down enough to get him in the car. I had to calm myself down first, which was good. At least I wasn't acting the manic mother role.

The doctor confirmed our suspicions, and prescribed a steroid to help with the swollen airways. He sounds a little better, but still very seal-like. Hopefully the prednisone will work, and he can start healing. We were also advised to sleep in the same room as him and keep him under observation for the evening. Neither Brian nor I relish the idea of sleeping with Brandon in his twin bed, so we set up his toddler bed in our room, along with the humidifier. Brandon, of course, thought that was a great idea. One of our better ones. He just loves sleeping in the same room with us. He thinks the guest room at my parent's house is the best thing ever because we are all together! We are hoping that the steroids and the humidifier do a little work overnight, and that he feels better in the morning. I'm a little worried about how long he's going to want to sleep in our room after he's better. I'll happily deal with that once this is over.


Brandon, excited about sleeping in Mommy and Daddy's bedroom

Fascinated by the humidifier


He didn't believe that the steam wasn't hot

A good chunk of Brandon's stuffed animals somehow migrated into our bedroom as well.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Automatic Doors

Tonight Brandon asked why his door automatically shuts when it's not connected to the doorstop. I can't answer why the door shuts. Sorry kid. It's just a curse you have to deal with (as his door in California wouldn't stay open, either). What we really want to know is: what other 4 year olds use the word "automatically"? He already chooses selections in his books with multiple stories. But "automatically"? Maybe we have another English major on our hands.

Just like California

You'll never guess who I ran into at the park today.... Asian grandparents! Taking care of their grandchild. And only one of them spoke English (and not much at that). It was reminiscent of going to parks in the bay area (except that it was 35 degrees).

The parks by our old house were full of Chinese grandparents with their grand kids. I couldn't talk to them, but I recognized them, and they me, whenever we were out at the same place. We waved a lot. The kids always played together. There must be a common language amongst children that requires no real words. Here I rarely run in to grandparents, and almost never run into Asian people who speak English as a second language. When I do, those people are usually surprised that I can understand them. Heck - I use to live in Cupertino. Accents are just no big deal. The gentleman today seemed surprised that I talked to him, and then kept talking. His accent was thick, but understandable. His granddaughters name was Annabelle, and I really thought he said "Anna Bear" at first. Then my translating "what did he mean to say" brain kicked in, and I was fine. He has no idea how comforting it was to talk to him, and watch the kids play together. It felt like I was back in California again.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Caitlin the Jealous

My friend Mary came over for dinner tonight. Her husband is out of town on business, and she is coping with her 2 month old and 2 1/2 year old. Ah....I remember those times well..... but not fondly. Someone else's cooking during Brian's business trips (well, anytime, really) was always appreciated! Anyway, I was holding little 2 month old Nicole, and bouncing her while she looked over my shoulder. For some strange reason, she stops crying when I hold her. Then Caitlin saw it. And oh my, she did not like what she saw. Her mother holding someone else's child! And not her! Gasp!!! She ran across the room and flung herself at my legs. She held on to my pants right above the knees and tried her darndest to climb Mt. Mommy. I was afraid she might bowl me over. The whole time she had her head buried in my knees, crying and slobbering all over me. No intelligible words were coming out of her mouth (but then again, she's almost 22 months. What am I really expecting? Clarity?). Blubbering, sobbing, coating my pants with tears. When I finally did sit on the couch with Nicole, Caitlin was right up there with me. She snuggled down into my arms and looked up at me with her big blue eyes. The cuteness factor went way up. But, as I suppose it does with all children at one time or another,my sympathy level went way down. She never wants to do this with just me. Why does it take holding a baby to bring out the snuggle-bunny in my child? Am I not good enough for you, little one? I'll have more sympathy with your struggles when you want to cuddle with me just because I'm your Mommy. Not because you are jealous.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

little red tags.....

Little red tags, little red tags
Oh, how I hate you little red tags
You are everywhere, on boxes and bags
Oh, how I hate you, little red tags



Little red tags, little red tags
Known to the moving company as happy little flags
But peeling you off is such a drag
Oh, how I hate you, little red tags


You remind me of driving, you remind me of the pain
Of hearing Caitlin cry across the dusty Utah plains
Could such noise in that quiet land be more profane?
My hatred of you, no, it will never wain





Little red tags, little red tags
You know I will toss you into the trash bag
To be throw out like an old dishrag
Yes, you must go, little red tags

Monday, November 12, 2007

Look! Two Cars!

Finally!!




And look! Shelves in the basement closet!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Garage Work

I got a couple of hours alone in the garage today. Finally, it's looking like a place that we can park two cars! Only one currently fits, but we might make it to two before winter if I can get a couple more hours. I know, I know... the garage is usually the man's domain. But not in our house. Brian did a lot out there, but I'm the one with the organizational skills, so I do most of the arranging and setting up. I'm very proud of myself that I managed to put my gorilla shelves together. It really shouldn't have been a big deal, except that I've never done it before! My dad put them up, with Brandon's help, of course, a few weeks after Caitlin was born. Scott and Brian took them down before we moved in May. So that leaves me with zero experience. It was pretty easy, though, once I had a clue what all holes meant. No screws. Just hammering with the rubber mallet (aka the "behaviour modification device", as my friend Erin calls it). Now I need to do the other set in the basement for storage purposes. It's great to have the room, but does no good if everything's scattered about.

So now the only things left in the garage are china and books. Our kitchen here, though larger in size than in California, isn't big enough house our china. Maybe I can get a china cabinet soon? Brian, are you listening? I'd like to have the china accessible so I can use it. What's the point of having it if you don't use it? I'm still wondering how a kitchen as small as our one at the Offenbach house held so much stuff. It's ridiculous how much we've purged since deciding to move! We have too much stuff, but I still don't understand how we fit everything in that kitchen! It must have been the amazing expandable kitchen! I found a few of my fall decorations in the garage (yay!), as well as a stash of Brandon's outside trucks. It's almost there! Once we get a desk for the office I'll feel like we're done. The card table just isn't cutting it anymore!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Photo Saturday

Photos from Pearl Street Mall in Boulder:


Caitlin and her Grandpa

Caitlin and the giant frog

Family portrait, November


Say Cheese!!
The infamous water rock. Always a fun place to stop and play.




Friday, November 09, 2007

Caitlinisms

Following is the vocabulary of our almost 22 month old:

choo choo bean - choo choo train

badu - pretzel

Bindon - Brandon

Peas! - Please

aum - arm

mato - tomato

miuk - milk. Or any beverage

wa-wer - water

Emo - Elmo

Tees - teeth

Baci - Paci

Bye Bye baci - time to put the paci away

No Barney - No Barney. Oh yes. No.More.Barney. Peas!

I like "Toddler Tunes" - I really like "Toddler Tunes", Mom. Please please can I watch it right now?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Saga of the SuperBall

I live on a hill. It's not a big hill, but it's a decent grade. The whole town is on the foothills. I was out in the garage yesterday afternoon, again attempting to unpack the remaining 20 or so boxes that we just haven't gotten to, and probably don't care about the contents. Brian wants to start parking in the garage soon, since those 25 degree mornings leave a nice layer of ice on the car. So, yesterday I'm in the garage, and the kids come out with me. Caitlin wanted to bring her superball. It's just a little thing, not quite small enough to eat, is a clear yellow and has a cute happy face on it. I told her oh, close to a thousand times do not bring your superball outside. You will lose it. But, being Caitlin, at almost 22 months, she brought it out anyway. About oh, 12 seconds passed before I heard screams and saw running kids. Brandon at least stopped before running out into the street. I had to grab Caitlin. And then I saw it - a small ball bouncing quite well down the street.

There I was. Standing on our street, helplessly watching the superball bounce away to a better life, with two hysterical, screaming kids at my side. Lately, when Brandon cries, he puts at least one hand in his mouth, and then tries to talk. Why? Who knows. Put your fingers in your mouth, cry hysterically, and try to talk. It doesn't work well. Brandon doesn't really get this, and gets even more hysterical when I can't understand him. At that point Caitlin had had enough, and started heading down the street after the ball. So did Brandon. In my pathetic attempt to be seen as a good mom, I followed after them. Only because I have to. All the way down the hill Brandon cried, hand in mouth, If we find the ball then I'll stop crying. If we don't find the ball, I'll never be happy again! So much for not wearing his heart on his sleeve. His wet, slobbery, tear-laden sleeve. We finally got to the bottom of the hill, ignoring the neighbors peeking at us through their blinds, wondering, no doubt, how I could let my kids scream like that, and probably also wondering why I was wearing slippers.

And then, a miracle! There it was! Joy upon all joy! The superball had bounced into the lawn of the house at the bottom of the hill. I have no idea how I saw it, being slightly yellow, small, and immersed in dying grass and leaves, but I did. Finally Brandon can be happy again! Mankind is saved! Mommy found the superball!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Moving Fatigue

I have a serious case of "Moving Fatigue". I'm not sure it's an actual syndrome, but it feels like it. I am tired of trying to find stuff that I know I own, and tired of wasting my time looking for things I probably purged but can't remember if I did. Since we didn't unpack everything at our previous house, I can't remember what I got rid of and what I still own. I kept wanting to go through those boxes for things I missed, but told myself not to. It would just create more work. Plus, as much as I wanted to get them out, I could live without the blender or the cheese slicer for a few months.

I don't have to worry about the kitchen, the kids rooms, or most of my room (there's still a pile, but I'm working on it). The family room is set up, but the living room still has a few boxes in it. We have no furniture for that room, so it's not like the boxes are in the way or anything. Now that we have most of the basics taken care of, I'm in the mood to decorate. I'm not even talking about fun stuff - like painting or creative ideas - I'm just talking about pulling out the fall home decor that I've been pulling out for years. And I can't find anything! I've found the Christmas stuff, and some Halloween stuff (although that was by accident), but not the fall stuff. Where oh where is my stuff? Where is my gorgeous white glass pumpkin? I've searched and searched for a small glass vase that I use to use for fake foliage, but can't find it anywhere. And now I'm tired of looking. I'm fatigued. I need a nap. I'm tired of packing, moving, and unpacking. I didn't use to mind it that much, but the kid factor has changed my mind. I have so little time to myself that stuff gets left. I'll start something, get interrupted, and discover my pile/opened box/half-hung wall shelf at 10:00, when I really should be going to bed. Then I really have no energy to take care of it! If "Moving Fatigue" isn't categorized as a real problem people deal with, it should be!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

What to do, What to do?

I'm trying to figure out what to do with the kids today. Playing outside is out of the question right now, since it's a whopping 25 degrees. That will have to wait until it warms up a little. I thought I had MOPS today, but I had my weeks wrong. I could do some more work around the house, but the little ones are not conducive to that. Or letting me answer e-mail from friends. Welcome to my new life. What on earth am I going to do with it?

UPDATE: Brandon just asked if we could go to the Butterfly Pavilion. What a brilliant idea!

Monday, November 05, 2007

I Love Other Drivers

I left on time today. Both to drop Brandon off at preschool, and to pick him up. I didn't like it when people use to move to California and then immediately start complaining about the state, so I don't want to do that here. But I have a pet peeve here in Colorado - the drivers! Oh.My.Gosh. Some of them drive so slow! And this is not restricted to the elderly. I left on time. I had time to spare. Then, on my way to pick Brandon up from preschool, it took every fiber of my being not to start yelling at the absolutely stupid driver in front of me that was braking for the semi in the other lane! The semi was trying to pass this driver. That's really sad. Especially when you're not on the freeway. This isn't a random occurance, though. Stuff like this happens all the time! Things I have no patience for since moving here:

*The driver ahead of me attempting to merge on to the freeway at 40 miles per hour.
*Going so slow on surface streets that the semi's want to pass you.
*Randomly picking your own speed on the freeway, which inevitably means you are going less than the posted speed limit.
*The inability to decide which turn is really yours, thus slowing down at every single frickin turn you drive by.
*The right lane here eventually has to turn right. Always. They always turn right. I've lived here less than 6 months, and I know that! You, Mr. Bad Driver in front of me, should know that, too!
*Stopping when there is no stop sign.
*Stopping when your light is green.
*Stopping for no reason.
*Slowing down because you are smoking and have to toss your cigarette butt out the window.

These are only a few things I've had to deal with, just today! I thought it was because I am usually on the verge of being late. I thought it was because I have the patience of a gnat. I thought it was just me!!!! But nooooooo! I've talked to other people who have moved here, some from Cali, some from elsewhere, and they all have them same thought. MOVE! Get out of my lane! Just pull over and let the normal people drive by you! And all this - coming from me! Girl from California. The state inhabited mostly by people from somewhere else. The state where they give driving lessons in your native language ('cause who needs to know what that sign says in English?), and practically hand out licenses to just about anyone! And yet, yes, I still think that a huge chunk of the drivers here are nuts.

There are two types of dumb driving: dumb city driving and dumb country driving. They are very different, but the end result is the same. You almost hit another driver, and then you are peeved. There is both types of driving here, which is unusual. Slow drivers on two lane roads with just you as the only other car in sight, and slow, bad driving on the freeways. Either way, I'm going to be late! And it won't be my fault!

Then there's the trains. I don't usually mind trains. It's been fun to see that trains still exists and actually take cargo from one place to another. You almost forget that in the bay area. I've seen coal cars here. I didn't even know that coal was still used in most places. Apparently I was wrong. I made a last minute choice today on my way to pick up Brandon to take the freeway instead of the frontage road I usually take. Good choice. There was a train sitting at the station, completely blocking traffic on the frontage road. It must have been there for 20 minutes. So glad I bypassed that route. Now it makes me nervous to take it. How do you get around a long train? I don't know this area well enough to take random roads, hoping they get me somewhere. And a good chunk of the roads here go on forever. They're in Denver, and in Boulder. I could end up somewhere in the middle of nowhere, just by taking a road I pass daily. Niiice.

So that is my saga of driving around here. It is a daily exercise in frustration. I don't know if it's because I'm a bad driver, or because everyone else is. I hope it's the latter.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

A Visit From Friends

Our friends Matt and Coralie came up to visit this weekend. We knew them back in California. They're currently in Colorado Springs for some training, and came up to S-Town to see us. It was so fun. Their daughter Rayya is 2 1/2. Old enough to play with Brandon, but still young enough that Caitlin didn't bug her. It was fun to see the kids interacting. Brandon loves having people over to the house, and is constantly asking me when we can have friends over. Almost - I'm almost done unpacking!

We had fun just talking again. Just catching up on what's happening in their lives and talking about our own. It's been a while since we've seen them. And they're pregnant! That was a surprise when I opened the door. 6 months along. The baby is due January 17th, which is right before Caitlin's birth date, so I could relate to exactly where Coralie was at when she talked about her pregnancy. Funny how some little details never go away. I don't remember all the pain or physical uncomfort of pregnancy, but I remember what I was doing and how I felt at the time. Brandon was excited to play with someone new, and Rayya was excited about Brandon's toys. Someone else's toys are always so much better than your own. Especially when you're not at your own house for many weeks.

Brandon and Rayya in Brandon's room


I can't tell you how nice it was to just sit and talk with old friends. It felt so... normal. We have found a church here, and started getting involved. But we haven't really made friends. We're still on an acquaintance level with everyone. I haven't yet figured out how to get together with other families to get to know them. We haven't had to make friends from scratch for a long time. As a singleton or as part of a couple, I usually did the dinner route. That was always a nice safe way to get to know someone. But dinner with the kids is something that I usually want to avoid these days! I love having people over, so I'll have to do that more often, now that I've found the dishes. I like having friends who are in the same stage of life as me. All friends are good, but ones that understand you have to be home for naps, or that being out past 8:00 with kids is a no-no, are priceless. And hard to find. I am sad we had to leave family and friends to start our new life, and I hope to make new friends soon.

A quiet moment for the parents to talk while the kids were mesmerized by "Toddler Tunes" and lollipops

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Lazy

So, yesterday I wrote about being average. Today, I'm just lazy. We have some friends coming in for the weekend. Did I straighten up? No. I watched "What Not to Wear" last night instead of cleaning up the office/guest room for their visit. I did make sure that the thumb tacks and all the things I'm using to hang shelves are out of the way. We don't need their little girl, or our kids, playing with nails and screws!

Why didn't I straighted up last night? I'm not really sure. I have a lot of excuses. It wasn't because I needed something to blog about today! I was tired. It's been a long week. But still. It's not like I have to work outside of the house all day and them come home to my family. I don't need to work the fields. I'm a middle-class mom for heaven's sake. When I compare my life to lives around the world, I have it pretty easy. "What Not to Wear", while fun to watch to see how bad the participants looked in the beginning, and to ooh and aah over their transformations, is really just junk. It doesn't improve my life any. My looks, yes, but not my life. It's just a waste of time. Sometimes I need that. I need to sit down and unwind. I read 200 pages in a book the other night because I just needed to be still. But when I have things to do, I need to get off my butt and do them. Like now. I have a room to straighten up. No one wants to sleep with my scrapbooking stuff as a bedfellow!

I have no answers for the things I write about. I just wonder about them. I guess that's part of my life as a middle-class mom. I have the time to think and wonder about things. If I get any answers, maybe I'll write a book. I have lots of stories in my head - wild, animated stories. Lines that have been with me since high school, full of characters and events. Maybe I should write those down, too. But who has the time? Maybe if I wasn't so lazy, I could find the time. But do I want to have every moment of my day, from the time the alarm goes off to the time my head hits the pillow, scheduled? I don't think so. But I don't have time to think about that now. I need to get this room cleaned up!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Middle-Class Mom

Today, after dropping Brandon off at preschool, which I drove to in my SUV, I went shopping. It really is easier with one kid, even if it's Caitlin. I went to Target. Super Target. I needed groceries and snow boots for the kids. Then I went to Safeway. While there I got a Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks. Then it hit me. I am such a middle-class mom! I rarely stop to get coffee, and can only recall one other time I purchased coffee while shopping. But still. My SUV. Target. Safeway. Starbucks. It's only a matter of time before I buy a beige house on a nice street in a good school district. Oh wait.... I already did that!

Don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining about my life. I just think it's funny that I've somehow morphed into the person that I am, and not all of it was on purpose. I did some things right - I went to college right after high school, and graduated. I got a job. I worked my way up. I switched careers. Then I did some things a little off. I didn't meet my husband until I was in my late 20's. I got married at 29. A lot of my friends wanted their kids before they were 30. I would have had to have gotten pregnant on my honeymoon for that to happen (literally). I didn't think much about it, but I didn't really want to have kids before 30. I wanted to know I could support my family if I needed to, and now I know that I can. Maybe I'll go back to work someday. I ponder it, but I'm too busy with the kids at this time in my life, and theirs. I'm finding it funny that I am so common, so average. I am like sooo many women out there. And yet different. We all want so much to be unique, but yet we are just droplets in a big bucket of water. And as different as we are, there is so much about us that is the same.

I don't really know how to end this, except by saying that it's time to go. To get in the car and pick up my son at preschool. He'll be happy to see me, and Caitlin will be happy to play. Then we'll head home to our PB&J, and naps. Content. Average.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

So It Is

Two guys came over today to install a radon mitigation system in our basement. According to our home inspector, the radon levels were too high. For those of you unfamiliar with radon, it's a colorless, odorless gas that comes from the natural decay of uranium, and is found in nearly all soils. Colorado has a high percentage of it in the soil. Our radon level registered at 10. According to the EPA, the acceptable level is 6 or below. In Canada the acceptable level is 10. However, since we are not Canadian, we needed to get to the US levels, and thus I spent 4 hours listening to hammering in my basement and crawlspace. It was better than listening to my whining children. Brandon wanted to see what had been going on, so I took him downstairs after the guys left to show him all the pipes. One of the guys had drawn the naked torso of a women over the largest pipe, which Brandon pointed to right away. Why? Why do that? Is it your trademark? Do other radon mitigation system installers say "oh, Tom did your system originally."? Who is going to see that? Just me. 'Cause we all know I love a naked female torso.

Caitlin has caught yet another cold. Her nose runs all day, and she is whiny. At least she can tell me "icky nose" and will blow her nose when you hold a kleenex up to it. The routine is that I hold a kleenex to her nose and say "blow". Then she says "blow." Then I say, again, "blow". Then she'll blow her nose. It sounds cute and all, until you are the person saying "blow" for the 50th time in one hour. Lately she wants me to rock her to sleep. I'll rock and sing, but only for a few minutes. My kids have never needed me to rock them to sleep, or any other crutch to get to sleep. It cannot start now. I've been leaving her room as she's whining. She'll whine and whine and whine and cry and whine. But I can't go to far because she learned how to crawl out of her crib the other day. Fun! So now I have to stay close so I can go in when I hear the thud of her hitting the floor. I love sitting outside her door listing to her cry. I hope this phase passes.

I hate how I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel when I'm in the middle of something. It's especially true with the kids. It's like I'm stuck, and all I can do is get frustrated with what they're doing. I feel so emotionally drained sometimes that my only response to their whining and crying is anger. It's like I don't have any other type of reaction. I just get frustrated. I use to have other emotions, but they've gone bye-bye. I don't want to yell, so I use a soft voice most of the time. But now that voice drives Brandon to tears. He knows that it's the voice I use when I'm upset. He had to have a time-out today for talking back, and I could hear him in his bedroom crying "I will obey you, Mommy. I will listen to you." So I had to go in and tell him to listen to me now, and that his time-out wasn't going to start until he was quiet. Then he cried more. "I don't like that voice, Mommy! It's not nice!" But he did listen, and he did stop crying, and his time-out did end. We'll see how long Mommy is stuck in soft-voice land. It would be nice to feel like myself again sometime in the near future!

Day One

It has begun. NaBloPoMo. What is that? National Blog Posting Month. I will be attempting to post every day for the month of November. Should be interesting. Let's see if I can do it. I'm feeling a cold coming on. Lucky me. If I can get through this month without a migraine, we are good-to-go!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Munchkin Masquerade

Took the kids to Boulder today for Boulder's Munchkin Masquerade downtown at the Pearl Street Mall. The businesses at the mall give out candy to all the kids. Brian heard about it from a co-worker, and thought it sounded like fun. He got home early from his latest trip to Boston, so we headed to Boulder. I had to trick Brandon into getting into his costume for his Daddy, but he did it without too much complaining.

It was madness! For some reason I just wasn't expecting that many people. It was warm for Halloween here. I think it was somewhere between 45 and 50 when we were out. The local fire department was there with a fire truck, there was a police car that you could sit in, a bus you could walk through, and throngs of people. It was a lot more fun than I expected. Brandon just kept running from place to place. We had to divide and conquer - one kid per adult. Brandon wore his puppy costume that he wore to school on Monday, and Caitlin dressed up as a kitten. I got her some kitty ears, but they kept falling off. Brian put them on her backwards on accident, and discovered that they'll stay on that way! I discovered that waterproof eyeliner stays on your face all day, even through the numerous nose-blowings that Caitlin went through. Even make-up remover didn't phase the eyeliner. The kids cheeks were pink from scrubbing before bedtime. Luckily, even with going from store to store, the kids didn't get much candy. I think it's a doable amount for the next few weeks.

We didn't want to take the kids out trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. It was just dark and cold. Plus, Caitlin has a bad habit of trying to run away, which gets old after a while. We turned on our lights after we got home, and had many trick-or-treaters come to the door. Caitlin was so enthralled by it all. She kept wanting to follow the kids on to the next house. She even ran out of the house and followed one family up the street. Their kids were about the same age as ours, so maybe she felt a kinship with the littlest pumpkin! We handed out handfuls of candy, but still have candy left. Maybe I'll have Brian take it to work next week. Otherwise I might just eat it all. No one needs that.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Our Loaner Rug

I have to return it to The Great Indoors today. We're buying a bigger version. I think it's pretty. What do you think?



Monday, October 29, 2007

Noah's Ark Party

Brandon's preschool doesn't do a Halloween party. Instead, they do a Noah's Ark Party, and the kids can come dressed as their favorite animal. Parents and siblings were invited to stay and participate/help out (which was great for us, since Caitlin thinks that it's her preschool, too!). It's late, and I'm tired, but I thought I would leave you with a picture of Brandon, as a puppy, and Caitlin, as a kitten, before I head off to bed. More pictures will be on the photo site in a few days.