Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Saga Continues....

I don't really feel like blogging. I'd like to veg out on the couch and watch TV. That's not possible when you're the only one home, and kids must go to bed. Watching "Guess That Shape and Color" (a Sesame Street Production) with Brandon is just not all that invigorating. He already knows his shapes and colors. This is Caitlin's video, but nothing in the world can interest her in a video. I never thought I'd say this, but I would really like it if my daughter would be entertained by TV every now and then. Right now I'd really like to go to sleep, but that won't happen, either. I've been having a terrible time sleeping for the last few months. I keep hoping there's an end in sight, but I'm not seeing it. I'm currently looking forward to another night of tossing and turning and waking up at 5:30 am (which is a terrible time anyway, but worse when you're a stay-at-home mom with nothing to do).

Brandon has been having a hard time with all the move stuff. I don't think it's necessarily the move to a new place, but more the fact that he can't see his friends. He asks about Emily, our neighbor, and his friend Max, who we visited with almost every week from the time Brandon was 9 months old. Brandon keeps asking when we can go back to California. Brian was in New York earlier this week, and Brandon (the boy who never forgets) mentioned that he could stop by and visit Edison, our neighbor in S-Town who moved to New York in February. The boy is craving some kid interaction here! And not just any kid, because we are trying new parks all the time, but the same kids. Something familiar. Something to cling to. Someone who wants to run and play, and who doesn't have to leave his side to go push his little sister on the swing. I know it's to be expected, but I'm having a hard time with the daily meltdowns. Especially in the afternoons. Everything I say or do has some sort of double meaning to Brandon, and it's bad. This is why we were outside around 4:30 in our old neighborhood. We go to check the mail now, and have recently been seeing signs of life in our HOA. I've only seen a few little kids, but it's a start! For the first couple of weeks I only saw people walking their dogs. Nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't bode well for getting together for play dates in the future. We were spoiled, I know, having so many kids in our old neighborhood. But it was nice, and I'd like that again in the future.

I have come to the conclusion that being perpetually tired is going to be my state for the near future. My mind is tired of the constant storage challenges that this rental house presents. It still boggles the mind on how we could move from a 1300 square foot, 3 bedroom duplex to a 1400 square foot, 3 bedroom, split level house, and not be able to fit our stuff! Yes, we have a lot of stuff, but no more than most of our friends, and we weren't bursting at the seams in our old place. On the outside this place looks fine, but there is no storage here! The owners must have had the same issue, as the garage has the nicest wall-0-storage wardrobes that I have ever seen (it looks like something from one of those decluttering shows on HGTV). I know, I keep complaining about this, but it is thrust into my line of vision every time I unpack yet another box. The fine line of what to unpack, and what to put away during out (hopefully) 6-month stay here is also a challenge. I'm relabeling any box that goes in the garage just in case I need the blender, or the flannel sheets. Also, the fact that I have to map where I'm going whenever I need to go to a store has to do with the whole mental tiredness thing. Everything is new. Nothing is known. Grocery shopping takes forever, since the stores are huge and I don't know the layouts. Last week I went to King Soopers. Isn't that an odd name for a store? It's about 150% of the size of a new and improved Safeways. And the supercenters - Target and Wal-Mart.... great for one stop shopping, but I wander around in them for hours, getting delirious, like a lost soul in the desert looking for water. Tomorrow I'm making the trek out to Costco again (wish me luck). I know there's a Toys-R-Us nearby, and I'm hoping to get to that, too. The really sad thing is that if it wasn't for our GPS, I might never make it home. Just as I wander aimlessly around in stores, I drive around in circles looking for a familiar road or freeway. I'm good to go from some places, but most places are still a mystery to me.

So there is our current life. Caitlin is doing well. She said "hi mama" to me when I got her out of her crib this morning. She says "here you go", "thank you" and "uh-oh" all the time. She is starting to say "Brandon", and said something else this morning that was cute, but has completely escaped my brain right now. She laughs out loud (and very loudly) when she sees any animal. Always fun in the mall pet-store (bet ya haven't seen one of those in a while!). It's like she's having some sort of breakdown, but she's happy. It's pretty funny. Brandon is into all his puzzles, especially his tangram-type puzzles. He wants to read, and points out all the letters he sees while trying to string the sounds together. I've enrolled him in a preschool early learners class at the local rec center that starts next week, 9:00-11:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The people there have no idea how grateful I was that he got in (from the waiting list). I think he'll enjoy the class, and the routine it provides. If nothing else it will be a barometer of how he'll take preschool in the fall. I'm looking forward to him going and being with other kids, and I'm looking forward to my alone time with Caitlin. She's a completely different child without Brandon around. She loves the one-on-one, and is a happy, content girl with just me. All I say to her lately is "no" (as in "no, don't eat the cleanser", and "no, stay out of the trash"). It will be nice to just play, and not say no, starting next week!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I'd Like to Blog....

but every time I sit down I feel like I'm sitting sideways (imagine your couch being on the wall). I feel like I'm going to just fall right off the couch onto the floor. Vertigo? Who knows, but it's very odd. I felt like this last night, too. I wonder if I'm coming down with something. The kids have both had coughs and runny noses, so it's possible I'm catching whatever they have. Thanks to my oh-so-wonderful immune system, I'll get it worse and for longer. Good thing we have no friends - we can't go around infecting anyone. Whatever I'm going through has rendered me fairly useless - not good when you're playing single parent while dear honey is on a business trip. He'll be home tonight! Yay! I'll try to write more later, unless I still feel like I'm going to fall off the couch.

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Bubble Wrap Dance

I can't believe I forgot to post this one the other day. The Bubble Wrap dance is the latest fad to hit the our household. Brandon started it, but is such a nice big brother and has since let his little sister join in. Caitlin feels that she absolutely must do all the same things that her older brother does. I've noticed that Brandon only uses his legs when dancing (the arms so far have only been used to keep his pants up over his skinny little rear!). I think I'm going to enroll Brandon in Irish Dance lessons so he can be the next Michael Flatley. So I'll live vicariously through my children. So what?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Peek-A-Boo and Poopy Pants

This is what you get when you are the mom of the world's cutest, and yet stinkiest little girl. She was playing peek-a-boo with me from behind the couch, but stopped as soon as I got the camera out. Funny how the presence of a video camera can stop all the action that you intended to catch on film in the first place!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Brushing Caitlin's Teeth

Click here to see a video of our attempt at brushing Caitlin's teeth (all 6 of them)

It's Like Winter in California

We managed to get to a park today. There was a lone little girl at the park, playing by herself. No adult around. So odd to me, although I remember playing outside alone as a kid. Most of the houses around here are part of developments, and each includes a lot of green, open space around the houses. Each open space seems to have a park/play structure area for kids. These little parks are found every couple of blocks in the most populated areas. We have one just up the road here, but I don't like it. We live on a golf course and everything, but the slides and swings are icky. The playstructure looks abandoned and corroded.

Anyway, the little girl's name was Heather, and she is 5. She lived across the street from the park. Brandon must have thought he died and we'd gone to heaven. He and Heather played and ran all over the place for 45 minutes, until she had to go to school and we had to go home. I haven't seen him so happy in a long time. He was visibly upset when her mom showed up and said she needed to go to school. I'm working on getting together with people. Maybe next week!

I'm glad we left when we did because the rolling thunder started around noon. It was so strong at times that it shook the pot racks on the wall. The rain started not long after, and it's cold outside. Not bad for here, I guess (the weather reporters seems nonplussed by the day). I have all the lights on upstairs because it's so dark in the house.
the view from our front door

Yes, folks, it's 43.7 degrees outside. That's winter in California.

I'm not sure we had a daytime high this low in S-Town this year. Maybe during the cold snap in January when we were sure all our plants died, but that's about it. I'm pulling out all our winter clothes right now (after packing them away because the weather in S-Town had been in the mid-70's to low 80's for a while before we left). However, the clothes are just for today. Tomorrow is suppose to be around 65, then back up into the mid-70's later in the week. However, the last few days has made me think that we might have to do some cold-weather clothes shopping before next winter.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Today's Random Post

Today's random thoughts and happenings....

Yesterday it was 79 degrees at 1:30. Today it was 48 degrees at 1:30, complete with thunderstorms and hail.

We attempted to go to a park today. The hail and rain stopped that. Instead we went to the mall. On the way there I heard Brandon talking to himself while looking out his window - "Go, our car, go!" I guess we were having a race down the hill with the car next to us.

Brandon chose to read "Pooh's First Day of Winter" as one of his nap time stories. One of the pages reads "After finding his warmest winter scarf and extra-cozy, super-strength toasty winter boots and mittens, Pooh went stomping out into the snow to find his friends." Then you look at the accompanying picture on the opposite page. Pooh is indeed in boots and a scarf, but the dude has no mittens on, and isn't wearing any pants! In fact, he still has on his little red short-sleeved T-Shirt on. I've lived in the snow before. That outfit ain't gonna cut it, Pooh!

Why is our washing machine downstairs when most of the bedrooms are upstairs?

Who thought hardwood counter tops was a good idea?

I was putting yet another bunch of books in Brandon's bookcase this morning when I came across one called "Moving Day". My mom gave it to us a month or so to read to Brandon before and after our move. Then I noticed at the top it said "A Happy Ending Book." As opposed to what? Those "sad ending" books that we normally read to Brandon? Sending my child to bed sad isn't on the top of my list of fun things to do. Do we really need to point out that this particular book has a happy ending? We're Americans. Just about everything has a happy ending. We can't handle anything else.

Did you ever notice that parts of the background music on "Bob the Builder" sounds like part of the original Mickey Mouse Club March? Or is that just me? The MMCMarch has been going around and around in my head for a few hours now.

I am so tired of trying to figure out how to unpack and organize in this house. We have more square footage, but the lack of closets and the quirkiness of the downstairs bedroom/family room area makes it sooo hard to put things away.

The only thoughts I seem to have anymore are random thoughts. Nothing complete. Nothing cohesive. Just odd, offbeat, exhausted thoughts. Maybe when everything in my life isn't new, and I don't have to figure out an area from scratch I won't be so tired.

"I'm having a hard time sleeping"

Brandon is driving me nuts with his nap time/bedtime routine. A few nights ago he was having a hard time sleeping. Understandable, since we packed up all his toys, ripped him away from his home and friends, and drove him across 4 states. Anyway, I stayed in his room for a while and we sang a few songs. That always seems to make him feel better. Now, every time he goes to bed he wants to sing songs. He waits until you've left. Then you hear his little voice calling you from his room. "I'm having a hard time sleeping," is his little complain. Then, "What can you do to make me feel better?" I'm so sick of hearing that! Today I flatly told him that I wasn't going to sing songs. He didn't even try to go to sleep. He started in with the whining right after I shut the door. You aren't having a hard time sleeping if you haven't tried and failed. Ugh! Kids!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Caitlin at 16 months

Caitlin is 16 months old today! Yay, Caitlin! 16 months. She is a walking, almost talking, running active little girl. She has recently discovered that she has a will, and when I squash that will and she doesn't get her own way, she howls and throws a fit. It's easy to tell the difference between the real-pain cry and the I-didn't-get-my-way cry. When she does the I-didn't-get-my-way cry she squints her eyes, raises her head up (as if she's looking at the ceiling) and makes a howling noise. Sometimes there are tears, and sometimes there are not. Caitlin often does the I-didn't-get-my-way cry because I am constantly stopping her from doing dangerous things, such as doing a head first pitch down the stairs, jumping off the outside stairs, or doing a head-first dive into the bathtub. Sometimes I have to physically stop her, and other times I just say "no". They both elicit the same response. Other things that Caitlin does, in random order:

*falls (a lot)
*can eat with a spoon and a fork, but it's sloppy
*talks a little. Babbles a lot.
*Favorite things to say are "here you go," "thank you," and "uh oh" (We are trying to teach her that it's not "uh oh" but "bye bye" when she chucks her paci across the room or throws her sippy cup on the floor.)
*twirls on command (this is so funny. I need to video tape it)
*wants to do everything Brandon does
*tries to say Brandon
*tries to say "milk" or "mine"
*loves her stuffed animals - especially Eucalyptus the koala and her stuffed cat
*signs "all done" whenever I give her a diaper change
*signs "milk" when she wants to be all done with dinner
*signs "milk" whenever she's thirsty
*has discovered she can scream, but so far seems to just be testing her voice
*has already taken a dive down the stairs (I'm not use to the stairs, and didn't put the gate up as soon as she got up from her nap)
*has learned to remove the tops on the Take-and-Toss cups
*wants to push the buttons on the elevators. Brandon gets highly offended because, as he says, that is "his job."
*is in to every cupboard and drawer in the house. I haven't found the drill yet, so I can't put the child-locks on the door yet.
*Has only 6 teeth
*Has already had 2 haircuts (mostly to trim off the fuzzies and make it more even)

There are a million little things that I can write about, but Caitlin has just found my keys, and is busy opening and closing the garage door (yes, I have a keychain friendly garage door opener). I thought the dishwasher was going out the other day until I discovered the true source of the odd noises. Caitlin also hates it when I'm on the computer. Caitlin is a lot of fun and a headache all rolled into one. She is extremely active and demands your attention. She is very independent, and makes me laugh all the time. We love her just as she is!

Friday, May 18, 2007


The news just reported a story about how the bears are waking up from hibernation near Boulder, and might start coming for your trashcans. Maybe I don't want to live in Boulder. Maybe it's good to live in the flat, non-bear part of Colorado. I forgot about bears, hibernation, and uncovered trashcans. It's been too many years. I don't think I'd be very happy to see a bear hanging out by my trash.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Preparing for the Meltdown

Brandon keeps asking why we can't just get in the car and drive back to California so he can play with Emily. It makes me want to cry (both the thought of him not playing with Emily, and the thought of driving back right now!)! I'm trying to gird myself for the inevitable meltdown. Hopefully we'll get out and start making some friends in the near future.


We have made some progress. You can actually see the counter top in our kitchen. Storage is greatly lacking here, so we have done some additional purging of our plethora of kitchen items. Some is going, and some it just being put away for a while. I do use my 12 quart stock pot, but not on a daily basis. It can go in the garage (which has an entire wall of very nice closet-storage units). Our tiny bathroom downstairs is also sorely lacking in storage. The pedestal sink doesn't offer much. After scouring our local Target, I purchased a small tower to hold our necessities near where they are used. I need to find the bathroom stuff soon. I'm running out of deodorant and toothpaste. No one wants that!

Brian went back to work today. He has a cubical, at least. Still calling on the cell phone, though. He'll be moving buildings soon. He just did that back in Milpitas a few weeks ago. He packed up his office stuff a few weeks ago, and won't be bothering to unpack it for a few more. The GPS headed to work with Brian, and I am proud to report that I not only managed to get to the store without getting lost, but I also managed to get home! Quite a feat for me lately. Brandon and I even sang a little song on the way home - something about going to home to eat dirt. Each stanza ended with us saying "no" in a very silly way, making Brandon laugh hysterically! Caitlin tried to sing, too, but has not quite mastered enough English to join in.

Otherwise, things are about the same here in Colorado. Once we have the house in working order, and I have found my shoes, I'll start writing about other fun things going on. I know you all want to hear about the extremely loud noises Caitlin makes whenever I go shopping. On the upside, she isn't crying anymore while in the shopping cart. On the downside, I'm still trying to hide in plain sight because I'm so embarrassed!

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Movers Have Come and Gone, Part II

I really should be downstairs making my bed, since sleep is on my mind right now, but I thought I'd update you on our third full day in Colorado. I'm stitting on our sofa! Yay! Currently the greater Denver metro area is under a severe thunderstorm warning, and east of Denver is under a tornado warning. We have had rain and lots of wind in the last few hours, and a few sounds of rolling thunder, but nothing more than that. Our area does get thunderstorms, but tornadoes are rare this close to the mountains. However, other parts of the area have had several inches of hail and flooding. It was 88 yesterday, 75 today, and we are expected to have a high of 59 tomorrow. Then it should be in the 80's again. (??) Schizophrenic weather we have here.

The movers came and went, again, today. We have stuff! We have lots of stuff. Too much stuff. I need to go through a lot of stuff. Should have done that before (and we did. GoodWill got several large loads), but it seems like I really need to do that before our next move! Of course, it all looks worse when it's all piled around your house in boxes. Moving is a great equalizer. No matter how wonderful your little home looks, everyone's stuff looks bad in boxes, and everyone's house looks terrible right after all the stuff is moved out. We are taking advantage of any curtain rod or shelf currently up, and storing ours. We'd like to buy a house in the near future, and packing up our stuff isn't at the top of the fun list!

I took the kids to the mall today to play before the movers came. I kept them out of the house from 10:00-2:00. The first couple of hours were fine. They played and socialized with other kids. Caitlin made many attempts to run out of the play area and explore the mall, but I have so far managed to keep up with her. At this this altitude,though, running is not easy. I am out of breath after a short jog. I still get a little dizzy when I move fast. That should change soon. Caitlin's attempts to make a break for the mall became a little game at the play area, and all the moms and dads were keeping an eye on her. Luckily she can only go so fast. Unfortunately, the mall floor is rough stone tile, and I didn't want her to go too fast, since she tends to trip a lot when she goes too fast. She never fell, and I never heard a cry. Still, she somehow managed to end up with a nice bruise/welt on her temple and a bruise on her cheek, and I have absolutely no idea how they got there! The welt was from today (it was pretty fresh when I discovered it at lunch). How it got there? One of the great Caitlin mysteries. All of us are a little banged up lately.

After two hours at the mall, which included lunch, it was nap time. Caitlin usually goes down about 12:30. Lately Brandon has needed to nap earlier as well. On top of it all, I only had a single umbrella stroller with me, and Brandon had to walk. Such a travesty of justice! Brandon cried all the way to the car. I decided to go through Dillards to the parking lot, instead of going by the play area again. Brandon cried the entire time that it wasn't the right way. Caitlin cried when I wouldn't let her push the buttons on the elevator. Brandon cried when I let her. To save my sanity, I suggested ice cream, which improved Brandon's mode incredibly. I found the nearest Costco on the GPS and got some frozen yogurt for us to share. Brandon wanted to eat it all himself. Caitlin wanted to visit the poor lady on her lunch break who just wanted to eat her salad and read her book. By the end of the visit both kids were bawling, loudly, and I was losing patience at an exponential rate. I had to bring them home. We set up Caitlin's pack-and-play in the closet, but she refused to sleep after her 20 minute nap in the car. Brandon never napped. Can you say early bedtime? Caitlin was in bed before 7:00. Brandon was in bed soon after. One can only hope that they sleep better now that they are in their own beds. I know I will!

So, that's the update from the home front today. Brandon and I sat outside on the front steps for a while today and watched a couple of school buses go by, and talked about all the pre-thunderstorm wind whistling through the trees. Our little neighborhood is cute. I'll take some pictures and post them on our Picasaweb site when the other computer is up and running. I can't edit or shrink photos until then. Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

One More Day....

Tomorrow the angels will arrive. The furniture angels. Actually, it's just the moving company coming to B-town to deliver our furniture! I'm not a jump-up-and-down-with-excitement kind of girl (much to the chagrin of others), but I am soooooo happy that tomorrow at this time I can sit on a couch instead of on the floor against a wall on my numb rear end! I went back to Wal-Mart this afternoon and got a big flat of water for the guys. It's been warm here. Not too bad, but heat never mixes well with hauling large furniture up stairs. Tonight we are cleaning up the tornado known as our house so that there will be room for our stuff. No more eating on the floor (after breakfast). The kids and I will head over to the local mall. I remember it being very cool when we were here in December. I think it has a play area, as well. The best thing about the malls and shops around here - you can park! The population here is just not as large as the south bay, so everything seems a little dead to us. Unfortunately I'm sure I'll get use to it soon. We went shopping yesterday at the Wal-Mart Supercenter, and had no issues with parking, getting around, or checking out. No lines, no waiting, no crowds. Scary, but sooo nice! At this rate, I might even check out the summer concerts at the mall.

Yesterday we headed over to the Wal-Mart Supercenter. That took a couple of hours. I've only been in one before, somewhere between Austin and San Antonio. It was nice. It really makes Costco seem small. Even though I've been in one before, I've never actually shopped there. It is a nice change to get all the things I need under one roof. Brooms, mops, shower curtains, yogurt, lettuce, nightlights, etc. And, it's all at great prices. I went back today to get more shelf liner, and managed not to get completely lost this time. I also tried to get back home without using the GPS, and ended up taking the scenic route, but that's another story! The Wal-Mart Supercenter reminds me of the Gemco store that use to be near my grandparent's house . I remember getting shoes and groceries, back when white patent leather loafers were in (let's not go there).

The kids seem to be handling this a little better today. Caitlin didn't throw a fit at bathtime. It's been a fun experience for her up until last week! After all our bathtime battles with Brandon when he was a baby, we do not want to go through the fights again. Yesterday we headed up to our friend's Rob and Janet's house in Loveland, about 45 miles from here. Rob and Janet use to live in the south bay and went to our church. They've lived out in Colorado since 2003. It was very nice to hang out with friends again. Brandon and Caitlin were thrilled to have toys and to be in a normal house. Abbey, Rob and Janet's little girl, didn't have a fit when our kids took over the living room. In a few minutes Abbey and Brandon were playing well together! Brandon was loving the socialization (especially after being stuck in a car for 1,300 miles last week!). I was happy to sit and have a glass of wine with an old friend. It was also good to hear their opinions about Colorado, since they have lived elsewhere prior to moving here. 45 miles isn't too far. I can drive that..... :-)

I suppose I should go clean up the counter in the kitchen, and sweep the dining room floor. The place needs to be clean so the furniture can go in the right places. Also, it's trash night, and I want to get all the stuff out we can. I'm sure we'll just make more as we unpack our belongings tomorrow.

Happy Mothers Day to Me

Woke up on an airbed. In a room with no furniture. Made toast in the oven (Brian went to Starbucks for coffee, at least). Big errand of the day? Going to the Wal-Mart Supercenter to get more shelf liner (and spent another $40 on groceries). Tomorrow we get furniture! I'll be very happy about that. My rear is getting numb as I type this blog while sitting on the living room floor, and I'm getting tired of eating on the hard dining room floor. I don't think this is the vision that Hallmark or the other greeting card companies had in mind when trying to market Mother's Day to the general public. I'm not complaining about it all. I just think it's funny!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Home, Sweet Home

After mucho hours of driving (too many to count), we have finally arrived in beautiful Colorado. Today wasn't bad. Since Beaver Creek is only a couple of hours away from the Denver metro area, making for a much shorter driving day, we relaxed in the morning. We attempted to sleep in, only to have our children decide to wake up at 8:00. Now I know that 8:00 is not exactly early, but if you knew how sleep deprived they are, you'd wonder what I was wondering - What's wrong with them? After breakfast and showers we headed out. It's mud season in the Rocky Mountains. Winter's over, but the last remnants of snow have yet to melt, so the summer season hasn't begun. There is a lot of construction, and very few people. The only souls out wandering the grounds with us worked there! Jorge, the maintenance guy I ran into, was very surprised when I answered his "hola" with another "hola." There are a lot of Latinos around, but I don't see anyone other than the Latinos speaking Spanish (not that I'm fluent by any means, but I can at least say hello). The kids had the run of the large play structure in the middle of the grounds. Brandon climbed, jumped, and slid down the slide. Caitlin did the slides, climbed up many things, and managed to fall on her head. Nice. Beaver Creek is beautiful. It reminds me of some of the mountain towns I've been to in the Swiss Alps.

We continued our drive through the mountains, passing through many little towns. I got the morning off from the kids. Good for me since they both decided to have complete meltdowns yet again as we were packing up to leave (!!!). We relaxed! No one was rushed! Why? Caitlin fell asleep about 30 seconds after we started driving to check out. Poor thing. Those 3 hours she was awake must have worn her out. Anyway, we drove on through the mountains and on to the Denver metro area. I was laughing at all the signs for truckers. They were specific - things like "Truckers, slow down. Downhill grade is 5-6% for the next 4 miles." Two miles later there would be another sign saying something like "Truckers, you have only gone 2 miles. You have 2 more to go." Other signs we've passed in the last few days had messages like "Fatigued driving is dangerous", "Okay to pull over and sleep if you are fatigued". The sides of the roads are grated. I notice that in Nevada. You may be drowsy and bored while driving, but if you cross even and inch over the white line on the right side of the road you will be jarred into consciousness by the horrendous sounds of your tires on the rough concrete! I was very alert when I passed the signs that said "Prison area. Hitchhiking forbidden". We passed 3 of those. Not near each other, either. As we got closer to Denver the sign said "Correctional Facility Area" instead of "Prison Area". That didn't make me feel any better.

Shot of the snow covered mountains (courtesy of the Car Cam)

The drive over the snowy pass and down into the valley was gorgeous! You peak at the summit, and then drive down.... down... down.... until you are on flat land. And the land is very flat. As you drive down you have a great view of the valley below. Except, in this case, it isn't a valley. It's the beginning of the plains. And they stretch out forever. I'm sure they don't go on forever, but it sure looks like it! I'm not use to seeing such flat land. To one side there is mountains. Turn 180 degrees, and there is nothing... for a very long time. B-town and the surrounding areas are much greener than they were in December. And, yay (!), there are trees! I love trees! All the leaves must have been gone in December, and I must have failed to notice the tree trunks and branches still standing.

Our new house is fine. It's a split level, but only if you enter from the front door. Otherwise it's pretty much a two story. The upstairs has been fairly well maintained, and has the kitchen, living and dining area, along with two bedrooms and a bathroom. The kids will be upstairs. Downstairs in the laundry room, family room, and a bedroom. There is a hideous fireplace that takes up the entire wall, and is made of shale rock. Kind of dangerous for the kids. The laundry room has no back wall and no finished ceiling. We were going to use the bedroom downstairs for us, and then just have the computer in the family room. However, the family room is tiny, and the downstairs bedroom might not be big enough for our bed! So, instead of having a bedroom and a family room, we are going to have a bedroom "suite". We'll put our bed in the smaller room, and our computer and dressers in the family room. Our new landlady, who is currently traveling, left us a home made lasagna in the freezer, along with a salad kit and a huge loaf of bread. And brownies. Everyone's favorite. She also left us stuff for breakfast in the morning. So nice. Tomorrow we'll be hitting the local Wal-Mart Supercenter (and event unto itself) to get all the things that we need but couldn't bring with us (like cleaning products) and stuff we forgot (like soap). I'm not a huge fan of Wal-Mart, but the supercenters are nice. I've never really shopped at one - just stopped and gawked - so it will be an adventure.

Now I'm tired, and want to sleep. We still need to blow up our air bed, and clean up the living room. How is it that two little kids can take a small amount of stuff and make it look like a tornado has blown through the house? Stuff is just scattered everywhere! At least it isn't too much, and we don't have to pack it all up in the morning!

The new place

Dinner, day 1

We will all be glad when the moving truck arrives in a few days!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hello from Beaver Creek

We made it! Another day of traveling with our cranky selves and our cranky kids, but we made it to Beaver Creek (about 10 miles outside of Vail). Here is the view from our living room window. And, it doesn't even do the scenery justice! Since our drive tomorrow will be much, much shorter, we are going to take it easy in the morning and walk around Beaver Creek before we hop in the car and drive drive drive...

According to the odometer in my car, we've traveled about 1030 miles since leaving S-Town. Too much driving! However, I keep reminding myself that driving from California to Colorado was a conscious choice, and that I do really want to see the US! Our drive today was just beautiful. We drove through the Uinta National Forest in Provo, which went from the Uinta forest to the Uinta hills with no trees. We left the green, tumbleweed and grass covered high deserts of Utah and entered the lush green valleys of Colorado. Brandon was enthralled with the cows, horses, and "fluffy" sheep (unsheared - and yes, very fluffy!). He was equally enthralled with the tractors and "big machines" that dotted the countryside. After driving through the valleys, we entered the Rocky Mountains, and the White River National Forest. Here is one of the shots from the car cam (me, holding the camera and snapping while driving. Probably unsafe, but I did it anyway).

Lots of driving, combined with listening to Baby Einstein CD's, means I have a lot of time to think. If I could just somehow put all the random thoughts that run through my mind when driving straight on to this blog without having to type... well, you'd all be wondering about me. Things I wonder about while driving....

Why did I think that driving would be fun?
Why can't we get out of our hotel room in under 3 hours?
Why did my feet shrink after 2 pregnancies? Aren't they suppose to get bigger?
Although I prefer greenery and trees, the high desert and salt flats have beauty all their own.
The "striped" mountains in Utah and Colorado are so cool!
What is going on on "Lost" if the fertility stuff is a waste of time, according to the "hostiles" (Nestor - what is his character's name? Why doesn't he age?)?
Why doesn't Caitlin like watching DVD's?
Why does she try to eat her toes?
Why must my kids have complete breakdowns when it's time to leave the hotel?
Why do big rigs pass other big rigs?
Why do certain big rigs pass me? Am I really going that slow?
How is it that I can *always* find Spanish language stations on AM radio? Does everyone speak Spanish? And why does all the music sound exactly the same?

Finally, before I go take advantage of the jacuzzi tub and plethora of hot water available here (It's off season - or mud season, as they call it here. We might be the only people in our building. We are the only people on this floor), I will leave you with pictures of our kids stylin' in the car, watching their DVDs.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

On the Road Again....

We are on the road, again. Actually, we are in Park City right now. Currently we are in the middle of downtown. In our nice 1 bedroom condo, courtesy of Marriott. This is a beautiful area. If anyone is in the mood for travel, the prices are nice this time of year (the off season). Right now I'm watching the local Salt Lake City news. The number one news story is the Warriors/Jazz game. The second story is about an 18 year old mother who is on the run with her kids (note the plural). The third story, 10 minutes into the broadcast is about a dog that rides a skateboard. Granted, he's a cute a bulldog, and I am impressed, but still it's only 10 minutes into the broadcast! Channel 2 news at home would be talking about how many homicides happened in the bay area. It's a nice change. Weird, but nice.

We left sunny, hot California yesterday morning. We had our walk-through with the landlord, and then headed east. For some reason, the walk-through was more stressful than I thought it would be. I'm not sure why. Maybe because our cleaning wasn't as thorough as I wanted it to be. Maybe it was lack of sleep. Maybe it was because we didn't have all our stuff out of the house. Who knows. All I know is that a huge weight was lifted as we headed out. The packing and loading is done - all that's left is driving.....

And driving we have done. We did a little over 400 miles the first day, spending the night in lovely downtown Winnemuca, Nevada. Not so bad, actually, except for the breakdown Caitlin had as we were setting up the room. We all went to bed around 10:00. Caitlin was vacillating between crying and screaming. We put her in the pack-and-play, turned off the lights, and got into bed. She continued to cry for a whopping 30 seconds, and fell fast asleep. I felt bad when we had to wake the kids up in the morning. Today we did another 400 miles or so, ending up in Park City. Yesterday we went from the beautiful, green, tree-lined Sierra Nevada mountains in California to the flat, treeless plains of Nevada. No matter what people say though, northern Nevada is so much more interesting to drive through than southern Nevada! Today we went from the dry, green/yellow beauty of Nevada to the salt flats of Utah. The salt is so white and vast that the mirages reflect the surrounding mountains. The smell of the salt flats reminded me of being by the ocean. I kept my eye out for the wharfs and the seagulls, but saw none. After many hours of driving through blinding white flat earth, we rounded the mountains near the Great Salt Lake and into Salt Lake City. It's amazing how diverse one state can be. Salt Lake City is so pretty, and Park City is absolutely beautiful! Yet, just an hour before we were in salt flats! Of course, when you live in the south bay you can be to the beach, the mountains, the redwoods, lakes, or the central valley in a matter of hours. But do most of us take advantage of that? Noooo......

So far we've had a lot of whining and crying from the kids, but it could be a lot worse. Brandon handles things well until he gets tired. Neither one of the kids is able to handle the morning packing routine. All is well with showers, dressing and breakfast - but it all goes down hill after that! The packing of the bags and the loading of the car is the cause of much distress for the youngest members of the family. Brian or I have to take the kids for a walk when the loading happens. Brandon has developed a new skill - crying with his hands in his mouth while talking to us. Nothing he says during that time is comprehensible! We have tried different things to make the drive easier. We keep the kids together for a few hours (one adult drives alone for a couple of hours. So nice. So very, very nice). Then we split the kids up for a couple of hours. Then we put on DVD's for an hour or so. When it is all said and done, I will be glad the drive is done, and we are in our new home (moving truck and stuff there, or not!). It will be nice when the kids can explore and familiarize themselves with their new home. Until then, we will rely on our GPS device (Brian is geeking out with that big time!), kids CD's, portable DVD players (thank you, Michael, for letting us borrow yours!), and prayers to God that we can keep our patience and sanity in tact. Two more days! Tomorrow we drive to Vail, and then straight on to good old B-town! (second star to the right, and straight on 'til morning).

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Movers Have Come and Gone

The moving truck showed up around 9:30 this morning. Our house is 97% empty. The remaining 3% consists of the items we'll talk with us when we head on out tomorrow morning. Brian and I were up until 2:30 last night packing (I really didn't want to get up when I heard the alarm go off at 6:45!). At midnight I did a box run. The local auto parts and school supply store have nice cardboard-only recycle bins! I never thought I'd be the kind of person who knew that. At least the movers said they were impressed with the amount of stuff we had in boxes (which was most of it).

It has been surreal having these men move our stuff out. The truck outside is huge! I've been doing okay today. It is unnecessarily hot, which makes me tired (it's only early May. What's up with over 90 degree temperature?). My body is achy from packing and lack of sleep, and my feet hurt. My fingernails all broke off last week, and now are cracking and splitting. The tips of my fingers are so sore that I almost cried last night when I took the laundry out of the dryer. I almost cried this morning when my friend Wendy showed up to take the kids for the morning. Caitlin-management is a full time job, so it is nice to have her away for the day. I hope I don't just start bawling later on. Lack of sleep makes me do that!

I'm off to borrow my neighbors vacuum cleaner. All that is left now is cleaning. I'm hoping that I have the physical and mental stamina for that, but at this point I'm really not sure! I'm thinking that it will be an early bedtime for me tonight.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Colorado Area Code

I made a mistake on our new phone number. If you received the e-mail I sent out with our new address and phone number, please note that the Colorado area code is 303, not 408. Our cell phone numbers will still be in the 408 area code for now.

If you want our address, e-mail me or leave me a comment and I'll send it your way.

Friday, May 04, 2007

So Much Stuff

I have stuff. Lots of stuff. My house is full of stuff. To be fair, it's not all my stuff. It just feels like it because I'm packing it all into boxes. It makes me wonder why humans feel this need to cart stuff around? Do we use it all? Do we really need it? We buy bookcases and trunks, shelves and boxes to store our stuff in. We put it in the closet, on the shelf and in the garage. In many cases, we rent storage lockers just to store extra stuff that we aren't using. Maybe all the personal items in storage are useful, and I'm wrong about this. But if you haven't used in a while, and you haven't missed it, do you really need it? Are we able to distinguish between what we want and what we need?

As I pack all my stuff, I'm trying to decide between the want, the need, and the why-do-I-own-it? I'm too tired to have boxes labeled "Keep, Toss, Donate," or "Past, Present, Future". I don't want to be on TV, which eliminates any hope of getting help from "Clean Sweep" or "Neat". And, from what I've seen on the shows, I wouldn't qualify. You don't have to clear a path in my living room. You can sit at my dining room table (well, not now), and don't have to clear the bed before going to sleep (usually). I'm always looking at my stuff to see what I can donate or give to someone else. My mom says this trait started early - when I was around 4 years old. Sometimes I catch myself trying to find things to donate for no good reason. The desire to sort, organize and purge is strong. There's no shortage of stuff, either, because I can't seem to stay out of the stores. I am still looking for that perfect shade of lipstick that is going to transform my life and make me always beautiful. This has been going on for the past 18 years, and that magic lipstick still hasn't materialized. Why am I spending money on stuff I'm not going to keep? I should start asking myself how many hours do I (or Brian) have to work to pay for the latest basket, electronic gadget, or other knick-knack? Two, three, ten? Is a new, high tech phone really any better than the one we have now that still works just fine? Am I willing to sacrifice an entire day for a new "whatever"?. Back to my point, though.... I'm trying to purge, but I don't seem to have the mental capacity for it right now. It's easy to purge my kids old toys and clothes, but no my own. I'm so tired, physically and mental, that the art of purging is alluding me. I realize I'm weird, and that very few people are like me, but I can't help it!

I wonder.....
-Do I buy things out of boredom? Out of need? Out of desire?
-Do I hope that the things I buy will transform my life?
-Am I hoping for acceptance from my peers because I have the right sofa, decor, shoes, or pants?
-Is anyone going to care about my pots and pans unless they're using them?
-Do I have "Catalogue-Induced Anxiety?" Should I toss the Pottery Barn catalogues? Does seeing a seemingly endless selection of shiny stuff make me want to buy more?
-Is it really new and improved? Or just new and marginally improved?
-Do I need so many choices out in the consumer world? I've noticed when visiting countries in Europe that there is considerably less to select from. I like that (I know, I'm odd).

In a way, too much stuff ties you down. You save things, hoping that you'll use it again. You save memories. You save all things that you received from others - some carefully and thoughtfully given, but a lot is not. Is the stuff in our house the same as our emotional baggage? My friend Paul once told me "Everyone has baggage. The difference is, are you caring a duffel bag at your side, or backing the U-Haul truck in the driveway?" I feel lighter when I can get rid of something. Especially when I can give it to someone who will use it (example - clothes that the kids have outgrown). But then the question arises - do I get rid of stuff just to make me feel better?

I really hope I can purge more this weekend. And, I hope that if I live in a bigger house someday that I don't mindlessly fill it with stuff. What is important in my house are the people who live -there and those who visit. What is important is what we believe and who we worship. I believe in God. I hope that I am not worshiping money, or the desire to get a "great deal". My grandmother is not found in the hand-embroidered handkerchiefs that she saved and gave to me when I was a teenager. I'm keeping them anyway. However, in the event of a fire or other calamity, I hope I can remember that it all just stuff.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

His Peeps

When it was time to take a nap today, Brandon told me he was going to finish adding the strings to the balloons he was drawing before he had his peeps. I laughed and asked "What are peeps?"

" You know, mom, my Peeps. My pee pees - in the bathroom."

"Oh, is that what you call them now? Your peeps?"

"Yes, my Peeps."

So - there you have it. His peeps. What great new phrases will he come up with next?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Packing, Packing, and More Packing

Packing, packing and more packing. It's making us all cranky! Packing isn't fun, but on its own it's never made me cranky. Packing for a family - that's a different story. Of course, all of this packing has to be done in addition to our already hectic schedules. It's not like Brian gets less work while he's at work, or that the kids miraculously leave me alone when I want to pack. On the contrary.... it just gets worse. On a regular day I feel like I have accomplished something if I manage to get up and get a shower in before the kids wake up. The feeling of accomplishment increases if I manage to blow dry my hair and put on some makeup. Right now the house is a mess, everyone is under the weather, and there is no sense of accomplishment anymore. I don't think I will get that feeling back until we leave, on the morning of the 8th. After May 7th there will be nothing more to pack. After May 8th there will be nothing more to clean. The only focus for the next few days will be driving, eating, and keeping sane. At least with driving you know there is an end. Somehow, with packing, there never seems to be an end in sight. I know it's there - I'm just temporarily blind to it.

I'm not use to packing up all my stuff, 100% of it all. I'm use to the across-town moves that involve packing most of your stuff, but not stressing about your china, dishes, or fragile stuff. In those across-town moves, you can put those in your car and drive them over. Not this time. We're packing down to the junk drawer. We're eating everything in the fridge. We're doing it all. I keep telling myself that others do this all the time. It always seems easier when it's not you.

What I am going through:

-the realization that I have a lot of stuff. And that I like my stuff.
-the realization that all that stuff looks awful when it's getting packed into a box.
-the fact that I don't want to pack.
-it's difficult to pack with kids in the house. My room is now off limits due to many boxes and exposed stuff. Caitlin hates that. She stands at the gate and screams at me when I'm in my room. Even if all I'm doing is getting dressed.
-Brandon still worries that we aren't going to take his trains to the new house. Those will be the most traumatic to pack.
-The kids are being ignored, and I'm being punished for ignoring them.
-My mind is constantly elsewhere, thinking of all the things that have to be done. The fact that I am not in the moment is cause for much whining and gnashing of teeth.
-My nails are breaking. For me, that's the first sign that I'm internalizing stress (it's took me years to figure that one out!).
-Not sleeping well. The stress of the move topped by Brian's snoring is waking me up several times a night.
-Brandon's obsession with death and where we go when we die isn't helping. I didn't think I'd get those questions so soon. He's only 3 1/2!
-Packing, packing, packing!
-Immense thanks to all those who are helping out with kids and/or making meals. It would be much, much harder without you.