Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Scenes from our living room.....

Caitlin got really sick on Saturday evening. Brandon followed on Sunday evening. Neither one of them is eating, although Caitlin has been drinking milk. Brandon is rarely able to keep solids down, but amazingly kept down 2 slices of apple and a few Cheerios this afternoon. Dairy is a given, but we've also discovered he can't keep down grape flavored Pedialyte. So far, apple juice heavily diluted with water has worked out the best for both kids. Both of them are so weak that they just kind of fall down when they walk. Brian and I have never seen Brandon so ill. It's kind of like having newborns again. The last few days both kids have been up for around 6 hours per day, in total! They are both doing 2 naps a day, and I'm having to wake them up after a few hours. Although I'm getting a lot done during their naps, I'm willing to give that up to have my kids back!

around 9:30 this morning (note the bucket by Brandon, just in case he feels to ill to make it to the bathroom)

around 9:45 this morning

view from the front at 9:45 (falling asleep in front of the TV? This has never happened before!)

Brandon laid on the couch for 2 hours this afternoon and watched "Cars" between his two naps

At least Caitlin managed to be in a good mood for a little while this afternoon. She has no energy and keeps falling over from weakness (she's not eating much), but she's kinda happy!

Mom and Brandon watching some late night TV

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to me and Brian! Today is our eighth anniversary, and marks the start of our ninth year of marriage. Wow. Our eleventh year together! The day of our first date and the day of our wedding are two years and 5 days apart. Sometimes I forget that I haven't been married the entire time we've know each other. Sometimes it feels like forever, and sometimes it feels like we've only been together a little while.

Year one of our marriage was good. Well, all the years have been good. I've heard that the first year of marriage is very hard on most couples, but I didn't find that to be true in our marriage. It was pretty easy to live with Brian. The hardest thing was our morning schedule. We had one bathroom and, with neither one of us being morning people, decided the showering separately was best (Gasp!). We didn't think that was odd until we realized we were the only couple in our little group of newlywed friends at church that didn't shower together. We were also the only couple that brought our own Bibles to class. We didn't share! Obviously our marriage was heading downhill! :-) We had our little 2 bedroom apartment in Cupertino that we really liked. The only downside was the cement plant trucks and the rock quarry trucks that roared past our complex at lighting speed, starting around 3:00 am. Needless to say, a move was in our future. We didn't make a completely wise choice then (not enough research into the place we were moving). We couldn't afford much, and rents were astronomically high. We got what we were looking for, which was a quiet place. It wasn't much fun, but it suited our needs at the time. Reading my apartment review online makes me laugh now, but it didn't back then! Year one also saw me getting a new job as my old company was completely swallowed up by Boeing, going to Disneyland, and the non-official start of Highway as it's own church, meeting on Sunday evenings.

Year two went by easily and quietly. I still can't believe how busy we were back then! Brian got a new job at the now defunct Metricom, doing what he really wanted to do. God has provided. Highway became it's own church, complete with Sunday morning services, and we headed up the set-up/tear-down team. Sundays were exhausting days with our 5 person team, and our two vans and a trailer, and all that stuff! Putting things in the vans was like a giant game of Tetris.  I don't miss calling Starbucks every Saturday night to remind them to make enough coffee for Sunday morning (we had a deal!), and showing up on Sunday mornings to find that it still wasn't made! I got another job, this time at the ill-fated WebVan. It was like working at a 2500 person start up, without a database! It was excruciating, and didn't last long! From day one I knew the company was in trouble. Brian and I couldn't have worked farther apart, either. I was in Foster City, and he was in Los Gatos. Gone were the days of working within a few miles of each other, and meeting for lunch! In the summer of 2000 I got my job at EPRI, and worked there until I had Brandon. In October we went to Cassoria, Italy, on a short term mission with Highway. That was an interesting adventure. It took place in Italy, though! Great backdrop!

In year three (our second anniversary) we started our tradition of going out to La Fondue in Saratoga for our anniversary dinner. Love fondue! Year three was difficult. Not in terms of our marriage, but due to outside circumstances. Metricom folded in August, and what did we do? We took an Alaskan cruise (to tell the truth, it was already paid for). Finances were tight with Brian unemployed, but we got by. I now know why God kept pressing on us to pay off both our cars the year before! We had no debt, and were able to make it on my salary. September 11th hit, which was horrible, and also put the economy in a downward spiral. There were no jobs for quite a while. Brian interviewed, and was offered jobs at half his salary. We both knew we wanted a family, but it was starting to look like we couldn't afford it!

Our third anniversary came in 2002, and we celebrated (at La Fondue, of course). Still no job for Brian, but mine was steady. We were doing okay. We entered in to year four of our marriage. We went to Sweden (thank you American Airline miles), London (again, thanks), and to Gracias, Honduras on another short term missions trip (which still remains as one of the most enriching trips of my life). When we returned, Brian interviewed and was offered a job at Vocent. We remained busy, often not really seeing each other Monday through Thursday due to our different schedules! Friday night was date night, and it was fun. In 2002 we also got pregnant. I thought I just had jet lag, since we were in the UK. However, after a couple weeks of feeling ill, and yet still eating a tremendous amount of food, I took a pregnancy test. Viola! A baby! Pregnant two months before our forth wedding anniversary.

Our fifth year was a little hard, at least for me. I was pregnant, and nauseous for the first four months. On top of it all, I was very very large. At five months people told me I looked big enough to give birth. I would just cry and cry. Being pregnant during a very hot summer isn't a lot of fun, either. However, it all worked out, and on September 16th we were blessed with our wonderful little Brandon. Brian's company was shaky, as start ups often are, but they worked things out and he continued to be gainfully employed. A good thing, since I was now a stay at home mom, and was having a very hard time figuring out the whole mom life.

Year six found us getting use to life as parents, discovering the joys (or lack thereof) of moving with an infant, and trying to run a couples class at Highway full of couples having kids! We managed to keep it all together, even with Brian going on frequent business trips. I started going to a mom's group in Menlo Park, and playgroup with friends. I'm not sure when I started going to playgroup for Brandon's sake, but it wasn't then! That was all for me. Vocent kept on trucking, and I got use to my new life as a stay at home mom. I'm more busy than I've ever been, but it is soooo different. We managed to squeeze in a little family vacation in September, taking Brandon to Washington DC. It was fun, and we realized the value of have a hotel room suite with a baby that has to nap. We didn't have a suite, so we put the crib in the large entry hallway and hid quietly around the corner until Brandon fell asleep!

Our sixth anniversary passed by, and we began our seventh year of marriage. By now we had figured out the routine of our new life as parents, and decided to add to our brood. In March, after having a few random, but overwhelming urges to be sick while driving, I found out that I was pregnant with Caitlin. This pregnancy was very different. I wasn't sick except here and there, I wasn't as large, and the summer was early on during the pregnancy. It should come as no shock that Caitlin's birthday is in January! I remember telling Brandon that he had to take a nap because mommy had to take a nap, and I wasn't joking! Brian began a new job, as his old company closed down. We took a family vacation to Kauai with our good friends the S's, and their daughter Emily. It was so much fun. The nice thing about traveling with a family with a kid the same age as yours is that you know you have to go back to the condo for naps. It's a given!

Caitlin Claire was born a month shy of our seven year anniversary. Life became more difficult with two, but it was a joy to watch Brian, his family, and my family all take part in the early days of Caitlin's life, both with her and with Brandon. I was tired, but the first couple of months were made easy with all sorts of help. We even managed to take a vacation to Las Vegas during the summer, and a trip out to Colorado before Christmas.

Now we have our eighth anniversary.... and we are about to begin another adventure. We are moving to Colorado (barring any unforeseen changes, of course) in early May. I am more nervous about this new phase of my life than of any of the others before. I can honestly say I wasn't nervous about getting married or having kids. It hasn't always been easy, but I wasn't nervous. But God has and will continue to provide, so I know I am in good hands. His blessings on our lives are apparent. We continue to trust in the Lord, always. He is there during the good times, and the not-so-good. I trust He will be there during the move, during the first day of preschool, and always in our marriage.

So. Happy Anniversary, Brian! Happy eight years! Without us you'd probably have a condo, a BMW and a plasma TV. Oh well. I'm glad you don't have those things. I'm glad you have us, and I am glad I have you!

oh, and thanks, P & K's Mommy, for the inspiration!

February 27th......

For some of you who don't remember what you were doing at this time 8 years ago, here's a refresher.....

I have to say, it was warmer that day! We expected cold and rain, but we got the one weekend that was sunny. For 5 weekends before, and about 8 afterwards, every weekend was cold and rainy. God must have wanted us to have some outside pictures after all!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Things at our House

Leash training Caitlin. She's not a big fan of the harness, but she runs out into the street. I'd like to keep her around for a while!

Boy in a box. A mailbox, that is...

Brandon and Max in the toybox.

What happens when you forget to put up the baby gate in the bathroom. Brandon made a valiant effort to re-roll the toilet paper. At least Caitlin didn't run through the house with it all, like she did last time. Kleenex and toilet paper rank high on Caitlin's list of tasty snacks.

The list on our fridge. What we need to eat through in the next 2 months. Can you tell I'm a stock up shopper?
I did manage to work my way through some chicken and other stuff by making hot and sour soup with cashew chicken last night. I think I can do this!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Mr. Post Office Guy

Sometimes I sell books, CD's, and games on Amazon.com. It has brought in a surprising amount of cash - especially when we sold off Brian's old game-boy games. Today I needed to ship a book out to Texas. I also needed gas, and was going to VF mall to let the kids run amok in the kid play area (the idea of playing outside with Caitlin in the mud just didn't appeal to me). If I go a certain way, I end up passing a post office in Santa Clara that I use to frequent back in my early post-college days. Back then, when I had my first job, I use to take the meter from our postage machine to reload it when the postage was getting low. We're talking 14/15 years ago. I have no idea if postage machines still work that way or not. I worked at a start up, and you do all sorts of odd jobs while also doing the job you were hired for. Mine was postage. It was a horrible little company, so I was usually pretty happy to leave for a while. Anyway, I always went to the Santa Clara post office on Kiely to refill the meter, since it was the closest. There was this cute guy about my age who worked there. He was the one who did the meter refills. He always made me smile. And, I guess I made him smile, too, because he even asked me out! He did the research and figured out what company I worked for, found the number, and called. He didn't even know my name! I was so flattered. We never went out on a date, for one reason or another, but stuff like that goes a long way on my emotional scale.

Today I walked into that same post office for the first in about 12 years, and guess who is still working there? Cute post office guy! I was so surprised! Mostly because he still works there after 15 years! I don't know if I would have recognized him anywhere else, or wearing anything else other than the postal worker uniform, but there he was - older, like me, and still kinda cute! He did smile at me, but probably out of politeness. I'm sure he didn't recognize me. Back then I was a lot thinner, required to dress formally at that job, and I also had long blonde hair (not this "I use to be a blonde" brown hair that I got after Caitlin was born). I mailed my book, paid my money, and got back in the car with the kids and headed off to the mall. It was so odd.

I haven't been able to stop thinking of my life 15 years ago, that horrible job, and the way life has changed and all worked out since then. God has worked in some miraculous ways in my life. There are a lot of years in my life, starting my second semester in college and ending about the time I met Brian, that I have often wondered why I had to live through those. They were awful, horrible years. There was illness, bad decisions, working full time and going to school full time (which left no time for anything else), working at a horrible company right out of college (and I mean horrible), bad roomates, crappy, worthless relationships, and a whole host of other issues that I won't go into detail about. I realize now that I had the power to change some of those things, but I didn't realize that at the time. Now, just like back then, I'm still very much a "stick it out and be responsible for the decision you made" sort of girl. I made some bad decisions, and some were made for me. However, I really felt like I should have been happy. According to just about everyone, I was living the good life. But I wasn't happy. I was falling apart on the inside.

Those years still have me wondering what was the purpose, the point of it all? I wish I knew. Even now, most the time spent in those years seems so worthless. We've had some long sessions, me and God, and I still don't know the answers. I hope He tells me someday. What surprises me most is that I haven't glossed over those years - I still remember them vividly and remember how painful they were, even while in the midst of them. However, the bitterness has gone. I have a bad habit of pushing issues that I don't want to deal with way back in the recesses of my mind, and locking the door. I can do a great job of convincing myself and most of those around me that I'm happy and that everything is under control when it really isn't so. Everyone says I am so even-keeled! That always shocked me. Eventually the doors in the corners of my mind manage to unlock themselves and I am forced to deal with whatever it was that I wanted to forget. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad. Either way, it's dealt with. Seeing the guy at the post office made me realize that there are still some issues I haven't dealt with, but not many. I'm still confused about some stuff, and there are still some "what was I thinking?" moments that I haven't forgotten. And, while I would still run far far away from just about anyone that worked at that specialty advertising start up, at least I wouldn't throw anything at them. My response now would be slightly more mature than it would have been back them (now I would calmly smile, say hi, and wait to run until I was around the corner and out of sight!).

Seeing post office guy (why can't I remember his name?) also made me realize how good my life is now. Not every day, but overall. Things have changed so much. I have a great husband, two great (usually) kids, and two families that I love very much. Somewhere along the line I learned how to make a wise decision. I don't always use that ability, but it's there - buried somewhere deep down in my mommy brain. When Brandon and Caitlin are older I hope to talk to them about life after college, so they are more prepared than I was. After I graduated I entered the land of cluelessness. I had no idea how to do anything (except budget, for some odd reason). But I was responsible, and responsible people do what they should do, and what they are asked to do. I threw myself into my work the same way that I threw myself into college, only to learn later on that it was the wrong thing to do. I remember just loving it when I turned thirty. Finally, I was out of my twenties! Thank God! Literally. I never want to relive those years! I hope I don't feel that way when I turn forty. So far the thirties have proven to be the best. Thanks Mr. Post Office Guy. You have no idea how great it was to see you again. I think I'll drive over the Santa Clara post office next time I have a bad day, and remember how good I really have it now.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Our first date

10 years ago today I asked Brian to go to the movies with me. We saw "Jerry Macguire". The rest is history. Today Brian sent me a YouTube link to the "Show Me the Money" scene. I watched it, and wondered why on earth he would have sent me that. My email response was "and....?" About 5 minutes later I realized why he had done that, and emailed him back! Usually I have a pretty good memory. Today I am, as they say, slooowwww.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Slowly Upgrading Things

I have come to the realization that our current Yahoo photosite isn't going to last forever. I don't think our current DSL provider is available in Colorado. I was going to do something different with our photos anyway. Yahoo has made some changes to their photo pages that makes it harder, not easier, to add stuff! Drives me nuts! Anyway, my point is that I am going to start uploading pictures onto Flickr. I put up a few, you know, to test it out. Just a few, though, because I'm just too darn lazy right now to go into our bedroom and fire up the desktop, which is where the photos are stored (yes, I'm lounging on the couch, working on the laptop). However, this is where you start looking in the future for new photos. Our Yahoo photosite is still available, but may be going, going, gone in a few months.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Case of the Missing Tooth

A couple of weeks ago we had a moment of rejoicing - Caitlin was getting another tooth! Tooth number 3. Yes, folk, Caitlin only has 2 teeth, and she's a year old. Brandon had 10 by the same age. Anyway, both Brian and I saw some white protruding from her upper gum. It looked like a tooth. We felt it. It felt like a tooth. We were so proud! Our baby might stop looking like a hillbilly with her two little teeth. Now for the odd part - that amazing third tooth - it's gone. There's nothing up there. Nothing breaking the skin. No tooth. Just lots and lots of gums. Where did it go? That is one of the profound mysteries of our lives right now. We have no idea. Was it scared? Did it retreat in fear? It was going to come out, but it just couldn't face the outside world? I would really like to start giving this girl some real food, but she can't chew! She doesn't have enough teeth! However, she can mash up Cheerios with the best of them.

Where oh where has her little tooth gone?
Oh, where oh where can it be?

Can you tell me?

Monday, February 19, 2007

New Bedtime Discoveries!

Tonight Brandon has discovered the power of getting out of bed to use the bathroom. And, yes, I do want him to get up if he needs to go. The first two times tonight were legit. The next five times, not so much. We'll have to see if this lasts beyond tonight, or if he begins abusing the privilege.

Family Photo

Just in case you're wondering about the funky colors, we are inside a Hello Kitty jumpy house at Emily's 3-year birthday party!

Brandon at the Children's Discovery Museum

this is the very first time he's ever let me (or anyone else for that matter) paint his face. He requested a car. This is the second one, since the first one washed off in the water area. Note to future self.... don't go to the water area immediately after doing face painting!

Brandon and the giant bubble!

in a dark room with a rotating, rainbow carousel in the middle

contemplating the jump off the Chinese Dragon

my boy!

He never wanted to leave!

Caitlin at the Children's Discovery Museum

Brian had the day off today, so we headed to downtown San Jose to visit the Children's Discovery Museum. The kids had fun. I thought I'd post some pictures of both.

in the room especially for babies

Caitlin and the giant fisheye bubble. It must be licked!

Discovery Museumed out for the day

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Comparisons at 13 months

I thought I'd post a couple of pictures showing Brandon and Caitlin around their 13th month. Brandon is 13 months 1 day in his picture, and Caitlin is 12 months, 29 days in her picture. Since I'm in both, I guess it's a comparison of mommy in October 2004 and mommy in February 2007!

doesn't he look petrified?

at least Caitlin looks somewhat happy

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Why is it that on the days you really need your kids to take a good nap they take a crappy nap, and on the days that you couldn't care less about naps, they snooze for 4 hours straight? AARRGGHH!!!!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Gotta Love Safeway.com

Every time I tell Brandon that we need to go shopping he throws a mini fit. I know he's a homebody, but this is a little ridiculous. Today he actually told me "no, I don't want to go to the store, I want to stay home." That's all nice and good, but we aren't talking about elective mall shopping. We're talking groceries. Food. Other necessities. Sometimes it's shoes, but I consider cute shoes a necessity in my life. That's another post. Anyway, Brandon does not want to leave the house ever unless it involves riding his tricycle or seeing his friends (church and playgroup fall into that second category). He makes it very difficult for me to get out of the house in a reasonable amount of time. I start at 8:30 and am lucky if I can get out in less than 2 hours. I am pretty sure I'm doing something wrong, but might need Supernanny to take a look at the antics to tell me what it is.

When we do finally get out of the house, it's usually about time for Caitlin to take her morning nap. Fun. She can survive without a nap, but it means she gets cranky, hungry and tired around 11:30. And, as if Brandon's excessive whining about leaving the house isn't enough, Caitlin must whine at all times when we are in the store. Any store. All the time. Today we went to Target. Due to cheap prices, I do a lot of grocery shopping there as well. I've heard there are SuperTargets in Colorado, and that does brighten my day. Heck, I'd go to a Walmart SuperCenter if I could! I never thought I'd like something like that, but the thought of one-stop-shopping with my rugrats..... Wow! One stop. Really. Okay - back to Target ... The seats in the shopping carts are quite wide. You can fit a fairly large kid in that. Caitlin's pretty average - just over 21 pounds. I strap her in and, in typical Caitlin fashion, she turns herself all the way around in the cart (I can't find a 5-point harness cart strap), and then starts crying. Caitlin cries in every store. Every. Single. Store. I. Go. In. To. It gets old. My sympathy level has decreased quite a bit since I had a second kid. But then again, Brandon was pretty good in the stores and in strollers. Caitlin wants out out out! And that darned strap keeps her in! If I could guarantee that she wouldn't run away from me or drink Palmolive, I might let her go free. But this is Caitlin that I'm talking about. She's strapped in. So, there I am in Target. Brandon crying because I had the nerve to rip him from his cozy home life for an hour, and Caitlin crying because her baby radar told her that we entered a store. Me, a major grump because I don't really want to be here in the first place, but there is stuff I need.

Do I have a point to this story? Yes, yes I do. Every now and then Safeway sends me postcards for free shipping if I spend $50 or more shopping their online store. Since grocery shopping with coupons and sales is a game for me (can I save more than I spend? Yes! How much can I get for free? Well - I haven't paid for salad dressing in over a year...), I don't shop online very often. But I can do $50. I ordered last night. They delivered today at 2:00. The delivery guys are nice, and don't accept tips. I don't have to go to another store! My home life is now at peace! There you go. If you get that free shipping postcard, try it. The current free shipping code around here is SURPRISE. It expires on 2/15/07. Good luck! I need to go put everything away now.

Oh, and if you're interested in saving money while shopping without doing all the research yourself, check out The Grocery Game. You can try it out for a month for $1 and see if it saves you money. A couple of my friends really love it!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Let's Give Brandon a Round of Applause!

After many months of not wearing diapers to bed at night (and very few accidents, I might add), Brandon woke up in the middle of the night on Wednesday night to tell me he had to go use the bathroom. While he usually sleeps all night, and seems to have the bladder of a camel, I'm glad that he felt the urge and responded appropriately. Yeah! My little boy is growing up. I'm not sure if I'm happy or sad about that, but all-in-all it's a good thing!

Monday, February 05, 2007

I hear silence.....

have two 3 year old boys really fallen asleep in the same room? I'm afraid to go check. I'll just say yes and let the monitor tell me otherwise!


On Friday we said goodbye to the C's, our neighbors across the street. They are moving out to Arizona next week. This week is Disneyland and driving. It was sad to see the big moving truck show up last Thursday, and also a little surprising, as Carmen had said they weren't going until the 2nd. When your new company is moving you, a wonderful thing happens.... a big truck full of shiny new cardboard boxes in various sizes shows up at your door, along with men to pack your stuff into those boxes. What a wonderful thought! I have always moved myself, which means that I have scoured the earth for crappy cardboard boxes of various sizes (looking in the back lots of grocery stores, and in the corrugated recycling bins near large companies), packed them myself, and begged my friends to help put all my boxes and heavy furniture in the awful U-Haul (with the promise of bagels, coffee, pizza and soda, or all of the above!). How nice to have paid professionals do that for you! Anyway, I digress..... it was very sad to see our neighbors go. I will miss our impromptu meetings on the street, early evening soccer games with little boys, and conversations with another mother who assures me that I'm not going insane (although it still feels like it sometimes).

We moved to this neighborhood in 2004, when Brandon was only 9 months old. Our good friends live just 4 doors down, and said it was a great place to live. The C's moved in the next year during summer, with their 3 boys. Brandon just loved playing with Kyle, a year and a half older, and Ryan, who is just a few months younger than Brandon. At the same time, The B's moved in next door to us. Their son, Edison, is also near Brandon's age. Another stay at home mom in the neighborhood! Yeah! It's been so wonderful. Our kids play, we talk, and I get to actually know my neighbors. I can't recall a time since childhood when I knew so many people in such a close radius to my home. The C's and the B's moved here within a week of each other - both from Utah. The C's moved Friday. The B's are moving to New York tomorrow. Odd how it all works. I'm sorry to see both of them go. The nice thing is that the boys from both families played here during the pack and move times, so Brandon got to spend time with all the boys before they left. Right now Edison and Brandon are attempting to nap in the same room. I'm still hearing a lot of ruckus. We'll see how it goes. They have 5 more minutes before I do a room check.

Brandon has really been out of sorts since he learned that the C's and B's were moving. He gets really sad, and I have to pry a reason out of him. When I told him the C's were moving, and that the big truck across the street was packing up all their stuff, he cried. He then said "but Emily's not moving?" I said no. "And Edison's not moving." That time I had to say yes. So he asked again, "but Emily's not moving?" No. At least Emily isn't going anywhere for the time being. Brandon might break apart! He got very sad on Friday evening. I asked what was wrong, and he wouldn't tell me. I kept asking until he told me he didn't want to move, and that he wanted to stay in our house "all day long" (which really means forever and ever). He also mentioned that he didn't want to move because he wanted to still play with his trains. Funny how the little ones don't realize that moving involves the whole family, and that we'll take all our toys with us. We've been talking of moving away as well, since housing prices are astronomically high here. I'm sure Brandon has picked up on it, and is processing that in his little brain as well. I guess we'll just have to deal with that when the time comes. I just hope he can deal with the sight of his toys being packed up without being permanently traumatized by the whole ordeal!