Saturday, September 29, 2007

Luv My Neighbors

I am now convinced that there is a book titled "How to Yell Your Dog into Submission." Why? Because our neighbor has been using this book to try and train her dog for the last 3 hours. At the top of her lungs. Lucky us.

Friday, September 28, 2007

On Leaving our Current House

We have given our notice at our rental house. Our official last day is the 31st of October. We'll be out of here before then, though. However, with Brian gone on business trips for 5 weeks in a row it will be nice to have a couple weeks after the move to clean and do the little things without stressing about getting it all done the day after the move!It's a little difficult to get stuff done with the kids around. Women from my MOPS group have offered to watch them while I get set up in the new place and clean the old place. I may have to take them up on that offer. It'll be the only alone time I'll get for a while.

Brian and I were almost giddy about telling our landlords that we are leaving. We don't hate this place. We just have a strong dislike for it. When things were looking slim in the house-hunting world we decided that yes, we could live here through the winter if necessary. Neither one of us was excited about that, though. We've lived in worse places before. It just gets complicated when you throw kids into that mix.

Things I am looking forward to (besides the fact it is our house):
• All of the bedrooms on the same floor.
• A guest room in the finished basement, complete with a 3/4 bathroom.
• A backyard that's level with the main level of the house.
• The fact that I'll be able to see the kids in the backyard while in the kitchen (great for starting dinner).
• A bedroom that fits all our bedroom furniture, not just the bed and one dresser.
• Real closets. I'm tired of using the coat closet for my clothes.
• A bathtub/shower combo for my main showering place.
• A coat closet with a flat floor (ours is slanted due to the stairwell).
• Screens on the windows (only 3 windows in our entire house have screens).
• A kitchen that really holds our stuff.
• New carpet.
• Hardwood floors – especially by the entry ways.
• Storage. Our current rental is ill equipped storage-wise.

Things I will not miss:
• The 6 inch clearance between me and the wall when I get out of bed (or in my case, the sliding glass door) . My right elbow has been bruised since we moved here
• Our teeny tiny bathroom shower. Our box shower is not made for real people. It is made for short, skinny supermodels
• The world’s ugliest fireplace in the “family room” downstairs (which houses our dressers and desk), that takes up a quarter of the room and doesn’t even work!!!! (There's a hole cut into the chimney in the living room (upstairs) to house a TV. Our entertainment center is covering that large hole)
• The screen door on our sliding glass door that doesn’t work. I want one that opens and shuts, instead of falls off and has to be put back in the door frame every time we go outside
• We have 3 screens in our entire house. Each screen has at least one hole. I've covered them with clear packing tape to keep out the yellow jackets. How white trash of me.
• A bathtub with a slow leak. Brandon is always accusing me or Caitlin of letting the water out.
• Windows that are hard to open, and even harder to shut!
• Our kid unfriendly back yard, full of jagged rocks, un-mortered bricks, and loose flagstone. Caitlin’s legs and arms are constantly scrapped up and bruised from falling in our rough yard. She hit the back of her head on a brick the other day and has a big knot and a small bruise underneath her hair.
• The back yard play structure. It's great for Brandon, but Caitlin just hurts herself. She loves the slide, though. It doesn't help that if you fall off the right side, you hit bricks, and then fall down another 3 or 4 feet on to jagged rocks and woody bushes. If you fall off the left side you hit a brick wall. The play structure is less of a problem than where the thing is located!
• Downstairs flooring of rough stone. Seriously – it should be on a patio, outside!
• A dishwasher that is the noisiest one ever made. You can’t run it overnight because it will wake you up! Even if you’re on a different floor! Even if you reset it to go off again in a couple of hours!
• Neighbors that yell at each other, or their dogs, all the time.
• Our large pasty-white neighbor that insists on going shirtless when outside. NOOOOO!!!!
• The neighbor dogs that constantly run to the edge of their own back yards to bark at the dogs at the 4 neighboring back yards at any given moment. This is especially concentrated around 4:30, when we're most likely to be in the back yard. They also like to howl for half an hour after the train whistle blows.
• The train whistle blowing for 10 minutes at 2:00 in the morning. How do I know it's a 2:00 am? Or midnight? Or 5:00 am? Because the stupid thing wakes me up almost every night! Still! After 5 months!

I shouldn't be so harsh. There are a few things I'll miss. Like the big trees outside. The attic fan. The window seats. Our neighbors across the street. The 2 minute commute to Brandon's preschool.

This neighborhood is very blue collar. We're more white collar folks, and honestly just don't have much in common with most of our neighbors. I think our new place will be a better fit. The new town is very family friendly, and has lots of families with young kids (which, incidentally, is one of its selling points!). We'll live walking distance to the community park when most of the events are held. I'll be less than 2 miles from the mall/shopping center where I do most of my shopping. It will also be closer to Boulder, which is better for Brian's commute and for church. I'm happy we are moving. We knew we wanted to buy a place from the first day we moved into the area, and now it's happened. I think that is partly why we have issues with our rental - we knew we wouldn't be here very long. But then again, there's just the issues with the rental place. It would have been nice to be better informed. I still remember how I felt when we first saw the place. Now it will be available for someone else. I hope someone else moves in here soon after we're gone. It wouldn't be so bad if we didn't have kids.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Homeowners Today

After a lengthy, almost 1 1/2 hour closing, we are homeowners. Oddly enough, we are homeowners and landlords at the same time, as the former owners will not be out of the house until Tuesday. It's all fine and good. It's not like we were going to move in this weekend. Heck, we haven't even started packing.

The morning started off well. We got ready at home without fuss or delay from the kids (easier when daddy's home, too), and dropped them off at a friends house around 9:30. The real estate office was a mere mile or so from my friends house, so we got there fairly early. We walked down the hall and found the suite. The office was dark, and the door locked! Hmmm. Not the beginning that I had imagined. We walked to the front of the complex and waiting in the bright, sunny, and completely empty waiting area. Our agent showed up a little before 10:00, and said "Are you ready?" Uh, yeah, but the office is dark and door is locked. She looked very surprised. We waited a few more minutes, and decided to go check again, just in case someone came via a backdoor or something. Nope. Still empty. Still dark. So we waited some more. About 5 minutes later we heard hurried footsteps, which we assumed was the other agent. It was our financier. And still we waited. Five minutes later a man walked down the hall. We weren't waiting for him, but he was able to open up the office. A few minutes later the owner and other agent came in, and five minutes after that the closer came. Amazing! We were going to start around 10:00, but in reality started around 10:15! After sitting in a very tiny conference room with 6 other people for over an hour and a half, signing more papers than anyone really should, and needing to use the fax machine down the hall in another company's office (since the one in the real estate office wasn't working), we are finally homeowners! It's all rather anti-climactic, since the previous owner will still be there. But Tuesday, it's all ours, baby! Then the odor-removal service comes in for a few days (Stink, Inc. - great name, huh?), and then carpet is replaced on the 8th. Somewhere in there we need to fix wires, get a radon mitigation system, fix a window , fix a carbon-monoxide leak, and have the whole place cleaned! We are scheduled to move on the 12th. Brian comes home from a trip, sets up the TiVo, moves, and then leaves again for another trip! Such is the month of October for us.

The whole house thing has been odd. Most houses in the bay area sell for over asking price. Here, not so much. Houses almost always sell for under asking. We had a large choice of houses we could afford, which is a nice change. However, there are a lot of odd houses here. In a previous post I wrote about the plethora of bad houses we saw. Lots of bi-levels and tri-levels. Housing in California tends to be more generic, more tract. There is a crapload of housing here that must have been very architecturally cool in 1975, but not since then. Especially in Louisville! It is continually ranked as one of the best places to raise your family in the US. Good thing Architectural Digest doesn't rank it, or it would be near the end. There are normal houses there, but they're not as prevalent as the ugly ones. The preservation rate of '70's style housing is quite high here!

The closing was odd as well. We didn't have any issues getting a loan, and one with a good rate. Our credit scores are good, so all the stuff I read about how hard it is to get a loan didn't apply. I was stressing out for nothing! Of course, our loan is much less than anything we would have gotten in the bay area, so I can't compare. On the way out from the actual closing our agent told us it was the longest and most disorganized closing she'd ever been to. Everyone was late, and the closer was the last to arrive! It was all legal, and I thought everyone was nice, so it didn't bother me too much. Very very glad we didn't have the kids with us, though. What a mess that would have been!

So now we are homeowners. How odd. I think I might want to have a glass of wine tonight and celebrate. Oh wait.... that requires me to g0 to a liquor store with the kids in tow. Maybe I'll have a glass of iced tea. Woo hoo! We are living the good life now!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Home Owners Tomorrow!

We're closing on our house tomorrow. Happy, but anxious. I got the biggest cashiers check of my life today. I'll miss my savings, but this is what we've been saving for! I'll update more soon.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

New Sentences

I asked Caitlin, as we were on our way home from MOPS, if she wanted to go night-night when we got home. She nodded violently (remember the head banging scene in "Wayne's World?") and answered "ja!" right away. She paused, and added "Mommy read book" right after that! I'm so impressed! I've been thinking that I've heard her use a few 3-word sentences lately, but they were unclear, so I haven't been entirely positive I was hearing her correctly. Now I'm sure. She knows what she wants, and now she knows how to ask for it! Of course, then she was impressed with her use of the word "book" and sang about books the rest of the way home. So much for silence.

Did we read a book when we got home? Not really. Lately Caitlin wants to read the books. She may say she wants me to read a book, but she just wants me to hold her while she "reads".

Monday, September 24, 2007

Recent Stuff

I know, I know, I haven't blogged for a few days! I tend to remember things at times inappropriate to do anything about them (like I think about blogging while driving in the car, or about calling a friend in MN when I'm getting ready for bed). I have caught a cold, and am dealing with that, which makes me not want to do anything. I use to go through my sinus issues/colds in October, which is when the weather gets cold in northern California. I'm doing it a month earlier here. Fall fell in Colorado a few days ago. Last week it was 87. Today averaged 52 degrees. Somewhere in there it hit 59, according to Brian's outdoor thermometer, but I don't think that lasted long. There was hail in Boulder, but just rain here.

  • We close on our house in just 3 days. Although I don't think anything will derail this, I still won't say that we own the house until the deal is done. We know the owner is purchasing a new place, so we're very positive about this. He even gave us his lawnmower, since he's downsizing and won't need it in his new place. Sweet! Thank you!

  • I have started MOPS and a women's Bible Study group. So far so good. I hate the drive to Boulder in slow morning traffic, but that's the only downside. It will be better from the new place.

  • We bought Brandon a story book Bible the other day. He just loves it, and wants to read many many stories each night. Both Brian and I are tired at the end of the day, and don't want to read endless stories, but we don't want to suppress his thirst for Bible stories! I bought the Bible to expand on the stories he learns at church and school, so I need to follow through.

  • I got Caitlin a little storybook Bible at the thrift store the other day. It's in great condition, and was a dollar! Brandon won't share his, and it's driving her nuts. I'm getting tired of the fighting and complaining!

  • Still raining here. I turned on the heater earlier, and put the down comforter on the bed today. As I type, the thermometer says its 46 degrees outside.

  • I've discovered that both kids love whole milk maple yogurt mixed with milk and put into a sippy cup with a straw. Brandon is a big fan of the Danimals drinkable yogurt, but one of the first ingredients is corn syrup. Bleah! Haven't bought it for a while. This isn't easier, but it's so much healthier!

  • Brian just ordered his first pair of shoes online. Yeah, Brian!

  • Our move date is October 12th. As of right now, we haven't packed one single solitary item.

  • Brian will be out of town the week of our move. He comes home the evening of the 10th. He goes to the new house and sets up the TiVo (we got a new HD ready one), and the internet connection. We move the 12th. He leaves again the 13th. If you don't hear much from me that week you'll know why.

  • Caitlin's new word today - Rain. The torrential downpour caused her to look outside and proclaim the weather. Her word last week - Blue. Short for blueberry. Usually used when she wants more blueberries, but has eaten enough for 10 children

That's about it for now. I'm tired, and off to bed.

    Thursday, September 20, 2007

    I Miss My TiVo

    When we moved out to Colorado we decided to suspend our TiVo/Directv service while we were renting. It's been hard, but 5 months later we have come to accept that fact that we don't have a menu, don't have a buffer, can't rewind when we didn't get what was said, or speed through the commercials. We've had cable the entire time, thanks to the previous tenants. Neither one of us is a fan of Comcast at all, but it's free so we aren't complaining. Before leaving California I loaded up on a few of my favorite shows, and a boatload of Brandon's favorite shows. Since we've been here I've taped things on our ancient and very moody VCR (which likes to eat tapes, and won't rewind to the end of a tape. It leaves about 3 minutes that you have to rewind while watching the tape). But all that is about to change.

    Fall is starting. We have shows we like. Someone, somewhere along the line completely screwed up TV viewing for the mountain and central time zones, and prime time starts at 7:00. 7:00!!! Seriously - who can manage to sit down at 7:00 to watch TV? 8:00 is pushing it, but 7:00???? Without TiVo, it will be a huge challenge to even watch our favorite shows. Survivor started tonight. Not a fan, but Brian is. Had I known, I would have taped it. As a TiVo user, I never had to worry about when shows started. I'd just find them on the menu, and set them to tape. The Office starts at 8:00. Brandon's usually just going to bed at that time! The nice thing is that Lost will be back on at 9:00, instead of 10:00. Still, the negatives of an earlier schedule outweigh the positives.

    Besides TiVo, I miss Directv. Comcast, aside from being free, is crap. There is no longer a channel menu on the TV. That's a premium channel now. Comcast switched it sometime in late July. When there was a TV Guide channel, it was slow as molasses, and always always always had some asinine show on the top that you were forced to watch (even in mute) as the channels sloooooowwllly scrolled by. Granted, we are pretty sure we have the basic of a all basic subscription (for free, as I keep telling myself), but it is still annoying. This week a show called The Truth About Food was on Discovery Health. It looked pretty interesting. And I like Dr. Oz's totally straightforward style. But do we get Discovery Health anymore? Nooooooooo. That's a premium channel now. I miss knowing what the topics of Secrets of the Dead are going to be. I miss Decoding the Past. I miss BBC America. I have the local and cable channel listing bookmarked on the laptop, which does make things easier, but the times are screwed up, even beyond the mountain time zones. Nothing is as it's advertised on the actual TV channel. We got use to the fact that most channels on satellite TV played 2-3 hours different in California than the advertised time. When we'd had cable before, the advertised times were the actual times. Here? Of course not! The cable channel times are not usually anywhere near the advertised time. They're not east coast time. Or mountain time. They're just random. Comcast has seriously slacked on lining things up! It was a major feat for me to tape all 6 hours of the Christiane Amanpour series "God's Warriors" on CNN last month! Beside it being an effort to find a free VCR tape, I then had to search and search for the times. Advertised to come on at 8:00. Would that be 6:00 pm here? No, 7:00. Then again at 10:00.

    Now you know way too much about me. This was suppose to be a *short* little blurb about how I miss my TiVo and Directv. Here I am - on the 4th paragraph - and still whining! We got TiVo in 2003 - my Christmas present to Brian. Little did I know that I would grow to love it so much. TV watching was radically altered by the presence of children. And while yes, there are other things to do, sometime I just don't want to do them. By 9:00 my brain is tired. I try to read a book and end up reading the same paragraph over and over again, finally stopping because I can't remember where I was on the page before I somehow stopped paying attention. I also strictly monitor Brandon's TV viewing (Caitlin doesn't care) in both amount of time daily and shows, and I miss the control of obtaining those shows. It took discipline to tape a few episodes of Higglytown Heroes, which he only wanted to watch after moving to Colorado. Brandon doesn't mind care if watches TiVo, a tape, or a DVD. He loves watching a show (probably a little to much) regardless of how he gets to watch them. I found a few Veggies Tales tapes at the local thrift store for a dollar. But I had to warn him that he couldn't cry if the VCR ate the tapes. I almost cried when the VCR ate 4 episodes of Higglytown Heroes and The Micky Mouse Clubhouse, but that's another story. Must. Control. Emotions!

    I know, I know. I shouldn't complain. I've had cable, for free, all summer! It could have gone out at any time, but it didn't. But I do complaining so well, and I have to watch it around the kids. This is one of the few places I can vent at all! Even about something as vapid as TV. Brian is going to have Directv set up soon - right after the odor removal service and new carpeting. We're taking my 19-year old, 13 inch TV over so we can at least set up the shows we like. Sad, but true.

    Brandon 4 Year Stats

    A mere month after starting preschool, Brandon finally turned the same age as most of his his classmates. He's not the youngest one in his class, though. There's another girl who is one day younger! The cut-off is only 2 weeks after his birthday. It seems to be the trend that most parents here hold their kids back if their birthdate is close to the cut-off date. I have no issues with that if the child simply isn't ready to move on, but I'm a little disturbed that the most common answer I hear, especially from parents of boys, is that they are doing it so their boy can be bigger. This explains all the bored kids in pre-school that are up to a year and a half older than Brandon, and tower not only above him, but above most of the other students as well!

    We celebrated his birthday on Saturday with a trip to Chuck-E-Cheese. He was thrilled! Today was his 4-year check-up. With all the house stuff - inspections, closing, etc., - it felt good to get out and do something that feels normal for a change. Even if it is just going to a 4 year check-up.

    Brandon's 4-year stats are:
    Weight:  33 pounds (25th percentile)
    Height: 40 1/4 inches (50th percentile)

    Even though his height is in the 50th percentile, he seems to be one of the shortest boys in his preschool class. I can't figure out if that's because he's one of the youngest, or if it's because he has a penchant to pick friends that are about 4 inches taller than him. One of his best friends is the tallest kid in the class! It's pretty funny to see them running around together. Brandon looks about a year younger than Ethan, even though the difference is only 3 months! I guess it's not too bad... I get a lot of hand-me-down from friends.

    Wednesday, September 19, 2007

    The Lunchtime Miracle!

    On Wednesdays Brandon stays at his preschool until 12:30 so that I have time to get home from my women's bible study at our church in Boulder. I pack his lunch in the morning, and he's usually close to done when I show up. Today I packed a whole sandwich (that's two pieces of bread, people), a container of applesauce, and a Trader Joe's fruit strip (imported from California). When I showed up at the preschool, I noticed that Brandon had eaten his ENTIRE sandwich! This has never happened before! Not only had he eaten his sandwich, but he'd eaten both fruit strips in the package, and almost all of his applesauce! I am so proud of him that I have to tell everyone! Brandon's a skinny boy, and there's a reason for it. Lack of food will do that to you.

    Brandon's class also celebrated his birthday today. He had a little sign on his cubby that said "Happy Birthday", and was wearing a little birthday crown and sticker when I arrived. I brought some mini-cupcakes for snack, and the kids sang "Happy Birthday" for him during snack time. They were going to do it Monday, but one of the teachers was sick, and all the kids were indoors the entire time due to the rain, so it was a bit overwhelming. I had prepped Brandon ahead of time so he wouldn't be surprised, so he was understandably a little sad when nothing happened. He was so excited today, though, to have had his birthday celebration. You can see the joy in his face in the picture above (although he has no neck. What happened to my photo taking skills?). When we got home, and he took off his sweatshirt, he wanted me to take the Happy Birthday sticker off his sweatshirt and put it on his regular shirt. I think he's still proud.

    Sunday, September 16, 2007

    On Turning 4

    Dear Brandon - today you turned four. That's twenty eight in dog years. For those with childen under the age of one, he's 48 months old. Pregnant? Have a newborn? He's 208 weeks. But hey, who's counting?
    So, you are finally four. Four short years ago I was still in the hospital, stuck in bed, but happy that my baby was being held by others. Or maybe you were eating. Who knows? Here you are, only 3 hours old! And, as pointed out by your Nana, counting the hours on your fingers. Smart already.

    And here you are, my fondest memory of you in the hospital, swaddled and sleeping in your bassinet. You didn't cry in the hospital. You saved that until after we got home. Even then you rarely cried. You just whined. A lot. Your whining was enough to make me come unhinged. It still is.

    You've had many birthdays. We threw a large party a week before your first birthday (it was on your Nana's birthday). Why? Who knows. We were such proud parents, and were equally proud that we'd all made it a whole year! Family and friends showed up, and you had a great time. Funny, but at the time I thought you were so grown up. Looking back now I see my tired baby boy who had no idea why he was getting toys, wouldn't wear a party hat, and cried at the cupcakes. We finally got you to eat part of one. Daddy left that evening on a plane bound to New York. Two days later we got on a plane, met Daddy in New York, and went down to Washington DC. It wasn't that difficult. You were and still are a great traveler. The idea of doing that same trip with your sister terrifies me! You walked for the first time less than a week after your birthday! A few days later you were off and running, literally.

    Stalking ducks in DC on your actual 1st birthday.

    At your birthday party a week earlier

    We had another party for your second birthday, but none of your friends could show up for one reason or another. However, your grandparents and aunts and uncles all showed up to cheer you on! This was the year of the train. You liked them before, but when your friend Max gave you a little train set, it was love. We could set it up on the coffee table. And we did. Every. Single. Day. You were so into your little IKEA set. Who knew that little set could bring you such joy!

    Your third birthday was the "kid party". We had about 10 kids and their parents over to play! It was crazier than I thought it would be. My word for the day was underprepared. However, you had a great time, and the kids seemed to have a great time, too. I didn't even take any pictures at your party, and had to rely on what other people gave me. Friends can click here to see pictures from that party! I did manage to get a few pictures later on in the day, after everyone left. Here is one that clearly expresses the joy of your new train table and train set.

    And now you are four. How did you get to be four? It is amazing that you are four. Such a big boy. In many ways you are older than four. Your vocabulary and command of the English language is amazing (well, for a four year old). You've been rhyming words and making up your own words for almost a year now. You've been potty trained and out of diapers since before you were three. You love your "baby sister", as you call Caitlin, except when she takes your toys and runs (she does this because you get upset. You do understand this, don't you?). In some ways, such as whining and not listening to your parents, you act far younger than what I expect from a four year old. But we're working on those areas!

    We moved from California to Colorado when you were 3 1/2. This rocked your world. You were happy. You were sad. You made sure that we put the same things on the walls in our new house as we had in your room at our old house. You got braver, bolder and more outgoing. You had to or you'd have no friends! You loved your summer preschool, and you love your new preschool. You're so proud of all the fun things you get to do. And you have friends. On your fourth birthday we went to Chuck-E-Cheese, and your new friend Eli came as well. The two of you had so much fun together. You even told me a story about how you and Eli went into the women's bathroom instead of the men's bathroom, and Eli's daddy had to stand outside the door and call you. I don't know how true it is, but I can see it happening! This time I was prepared, and took pictures!

    Happy Fourth Birthday Brandon! We love you so much!

    love, Mommy and Daddy

    Saturday, September 15, 2007

    Labor Day

    Four years ago, at this time, I was in a lot of pain. I was as big as a house, and it was about 30,000 degrees outside. Being that we lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, most houses didn't have air conditioning. Ours included. Because it never gets hot. Never! I was miserable! I was in labor.

    I'd been in labor for over 16 hours at this point, and was really hoping the contractions would get close enough so that I could go to the hospital. Actually, I was just hoping I'd die. I had no idea how excruciatingly painful labor could be. No one can really prepare you for that. I had no idea that a simple contraction could suck the life out of me, and make my legs useless. Every contraction brought me to my knees, literally. I would hug the chair and pray, between all the breathing exercises I was taught to do. Brian was charting my progress on an excel spreadsheet. Yes, he's a geek, but we could see that there was progress. I had no idea that my baby wouldn't be born for another 17 hours. God knew that I wouldn't have signed up for all of this if I'd known that back then!

    Around midnight my contraction were 5 minutes apart, and the maternity ward said to come on down! I could hardly contain my excitement (I was jumping up and down with joy inside my head, but since I don't externally show much excitement, no one could tell the difference. For the life of me I don't know why I'm that way). We had a full tank of gas in the car, and my bags were packed. Funny how there just isn't much traffic on the freeways at midnight. I think Brian slowly took the back roads because he knows that being in labor in the car is so much fun! I finally understood why there were rails in the maternity ward. They're for portly preggo people like me who can't make it from the drop off point to the front desk in less than 20 minutes. I was put in a room, clad in a lovely hospital gown (white and light blue - my best colors), and hooked up to many, many machines. At one point the nurse said that I wasn't progressing very fast, and that I should go home for a while. Excuse me? It was around 3:00 in morning, still 85 degrees outside, and I did not have air conditioning! I was not going home.

    Around 4:00 am, and after much begging and pleading, I got my epidural (thank you, thank you, thank you), after 22 hours of labor. Thank God for the epidural! Have they invented the headache epidural yet? I would really really like that...... Anyway, I digress.... After my epidural, I slept for a few hours. I woke up, a little groggy. Then about six nurses rushed in and flipped me over on to all fours. In my great little hospital gown. It took all six nurses. As if I didn't already feel like a cow. My bare naked white butt up in the air. Stomach hanging down. What a lovely picture! I guess the epidural was raising my blood pressure, and lowering the baby's heartbeat. A friend told me that after childbirth, she could have walked naked in the mall and it wouldn't have bothered her. I didn't understand at the time, but as I was perched on the hospital bed in what has to be my finest position, I finally knew what she was talking about! Seriously, I wanted to be one of those women who almost gave birth in the parking lot. God had other plans! He also has this funny way of making women temporarily forget how little fun the end of pregnancy, and then labor and delivery is, because I voluntarily went through it again! The second time was a lot easier than the first! Now I have two beautiful children. Active and crazy, but two healthy, lovely children.

    After many many many many many hours of labor (too many to count, but I did anyway - 34), I finally gave birth to my little baby boy. There were 7 or 8 people in the room (how fun). The NICU team was standing by, but thankfully Brandon didn't need to go there. He was a whimpering little chub, but stopped quickly. He was a little stunned. Poor guy never knew what happened to him! One minute he was happy and warm, and the next he was expelled into the world. We spent a lovely couple of days in the 65 degree air conditioned hospital room before being kicked out and sent to the place we affectionately called the "hot box". September in California is not my favorite month. I think it was 98 degrees the day Brandon was born. The entire next week was in the upper 90's. Bleah! Our little window unit gave a valiant effort, but couldn't keep up with everyone at the house.

    But it didn't matter. We had our baby.

    Photo For Saturday

    After going through the 20 or so odd and not so cute pictures of Brandon and Caitlin, I came across this cute one. I thought I'd share....

    Have a Happy Saturday!

    Friday, September 14, 2007


    There has not been much going on at the P-4 household in the last few days. I've had a terrible headache, caused by sinuses. So.Much.Fun. When I move my head to the left or right the world takes a little while to catch up! The pain is very similar to migraine pain, but I don't have the migraine nausea. The light sensitivity is enough to kill me sometimes. My house looks like a cave today, with all the curtains drawn! I'm so tired of not feeling well, and not being myself. I've been off since we moved - which means it's been over 4 months of being completely out of sync!

    The house stuff is moving along well. We submitted our report on what needs to be fixed, based on the house inspectors recommendations, and the owner signed off on it without countering. Very nice. Of course, we were careful about what needed to be fixed, and only pointed out the major issues. We were told that no house is perfect, and we know that. However, we do have to do a lot of work on our end to make the house inhabitable, which ultimately ends up being money out of our pocket up front. We weren't willing to compromise more than a little bit on these repairs. It's a load off my mind that we can move forward. We will just be credited the costs, so more work on our part, but at least we'll have the cash to cover it! The owner will be renting back the place for a few days, but we'll be able to start the work that needs to be done during the first week of October. I can't believe we close in two weeks. Crazy!

    Brandon is enjoying preschool. He tells me every day how much he likes his preschool, which really makes me happy. He just adores his teachers, and has become friends with a little boy named Eli. We are going to Chuck-E-Cheese on Sunday for Brandon's 4th birthday, and Eli and his family are joining us. I really thought we'd know more kids after being here for 4 months, but we don't. Moving in May got us here just in time to miss out on all the school-year routines that seem to abound everywhere. Everything was winding down. I'm glad things are getting back in line, and that Brandon has made a friend.

    Caitlin is growing up in leaps and bounds! She regularly says 2-word sentences, like "Bye bye Daddy", and does a few 3-word sentences as well. She has learned to say school, and gets very excited when we go to Brandon's school. It was cold and rainy at the beginning of week (went from 60 to 88, and we're back in the 60's again! 85 tomorrow.....), so Brandon's class was playing in the gym instead of the play yard when we arrived to pick him up. Caitlin got so offended that we weren't going to the play yard! It was annoying and funny all at the same time. But he wasn't there, so what was I suppose to do? She's still a major klutz, but is getting a little better. Once we're moved I think I'll look into some sort of gym class for her. I know she's only 19 1/2 months, but she's so much klutzier than her peers!

    That's all from the P-4 household for today. Hopefully I'll be more inspired next week to write more!

    Tuesday, September 11, 2007

    More House Stuff

    This post is for all of you who have asked me how house stuff is going. So far, so good. The inspection came back favorable, but with a few things that need to be fixed. We have sent in our proposal for those things, which include installing a radon mitigation system, fixing a carbon monoxide leak in the fireplace, and having a roofer fix a few small things in the roof (that could turn into big things if not fixed. We are really hoping that the owner agrees to these things, since the radon issue is a deal breaker. Radon is an issue here in general, not just isolated to our house, so radon mitigation systems are common. We are asking God for guidance should the owner not agree, and are also praying that this is where He wants us to be. Please pray that we will not be anxious. I am! Thanks!

    Off to MOPS.....

    Sunday, September 09, 2007

    On Hips and Jeans

    I saw myself in the mirror today, at the toy store, and though "Who let me out the door looking like this?" The next thought was "Did I think that I looked good in these jeans when I bought them?" I was out looking for inspiration for Brandon's birthday. He's requested two things at two different times- a giant excavator (for a sandbox or park), and/or a bike with training wheels. His birthday's next week, and we still don't have a gift. I know, I know - I am a terrible mom, and he is so deprived. All of you who've been to my house are aware of my huge lack of toys (ha ha), and my love of picking them up every evening.

    Anyway, back to me. I was horrified at what I saw in the mirror at Toys 'R Us! Horrified, I tell you! I truly have some big-ass hips. You may think I'm exaggerating, but I'm so seriously not. I did live theatre for years, and have been told by many a seamstress and costume designer how enormously large my hips are. So great for the self esteem. During those same years my biggest compliment from the male actors was my hip to waist ratio. Sounds weird, but that really was a compliment! However, a few years and a couple of kids later - those hips have gotten out of hand! I've come to terms with the fact that I have a large set of hip bones, I may never be skinny or have a tiny rear, but I need to do something with this post baby body, and all the shifts that have taken place! The hips are big - I can accept that. The layer of fat over them needs to be taken care of.

    I was so embarrassed about how I looked that I actually left the store and got into the car. I was quite sure that everyone in the store was staring at me in my stupid outfit, with my stupid dyed brown hair, wondering why I was out in public. My rational mind knows that that wasn't the case, but my emotional side took over at that point. I wasn't really sure what to do then, except that I had a keen sense I needed different jeans. It's been so hot all summer that this is the first time I've worn jeans since we moved in May! I guess I forgot how awful I looked! It was only 64 degrees today, and tomorrow is suppose to be colder, so pants will the wardrobe for a day or two (until the schizophrenic Colorado weather warms back up to 80 by Wednesday!).

    Feeling cheap, I drove down the street to a pretty good thrift store I went to a few weeks back to look around, and low and behold, walked out with 2 pair of jeans. Cool jeans. Practically new, flawless jeans. Jeans that didn't make me look like a freak! Calvin Klein and Ann Taylor jeans. For $6 each! Who knew? I only recently found out that thrift stores have dressing rooms. I've never found anything I like a thrift store, so there was never a need to try things on. One pair is a little big on me, but I get so tired of everything I own containing spandex. It has it's place, but not everywhere. I left the house to look at toys, and came back with jeans. I need to stop thinking about me all the time, but I also want to stop beingmortified at my reflection. I miss the fit of good work pants. I miss wool and lining. But those kinds of pants don't really have a place in my life right now. People rarely dress nice here, and work pants on a stay-at-home mom going to the park don't mix well.

    So here I am. Still feeling a little stupid, but with my brand-label, thrift store jeans in the washer. Still anxious about our possible house. Things are going well, but we won't know the radon numbers until tomorrow. Things can still get derailed. God tells us not to worry, but that is a lot harder to do than it sounds. Guess I need to practice giving up my worry to God - about kids, about hips, and about houses.

    Thursday, September 06, 2007

    Doubting Thomas the Train

    Tonight, before bed, I was reading Brandon a story from his Precious Moments Storybook Bible. The Bible is fine, but I find it a little disturbing to see Adam and Eve wandering though the Garden of Eden, naked, looking like they're 5! Or that Jesus dies, is resurrected, and appears to a bunch of 3 year olds with tear drop shaped eyes! That aside, we read stories from this book often. Tonight we read "Jesus Appears to His Followers". When I got to the part about doubting Thomas, who wanted to feel the holes in Jesus' hands and side, Brandon asked "Was this Thomas the Train, or was this a different Thomas?" He asked with such sincerity that I almost started laughing. I told him it was another Thomas, and left it at that. The mental image in my mind of Thomas the Train and Jesus stuck, though. Brandon looked at me again and asked why I was breathing funny. No reason, honey. Just trying. Trying not to laugh while I'm still reading. Trying not to visualize the faces of your Sunday School teachers when you bring this up during story time sometime in the next year. Trying not to think of the money we'll need to spend on therapy when you're old enough to figure out that Thomas the Train didn't live during Biblical times.

    The Stunning Effect of All Elmo Jammies

    This is what happens when Mommy finds a clearance sale. All Elmo, all the time........... Even the undies that you can't see here are Elmo!

    Can we say "skinny boy"?

    Wednesday, September 05, 2007

    Caitlin is Watching a Video!!!

    Voluntarily! On her own! This may not last long, so I had to take a few pictures to document it. The only things that will keep Caitlin occupied, besides eating (and only when she's starving), are eating dirt and rocks, and putting all her clothes in the diaper champ and turning the handle. Needless to say, I've been doing a lot of laundry because of that diaper champ fascination.

    I went to our local thrift store this morning, after dropping Brandon off at preschool, since there is actually stuff to buy in the ones around here, and found a couple of Veggie Tales videos for a dollar each (and some of our favorite sippy cups! Yeah!). Veggie Tales is Brandon's new fave, but more about that in another post. Since I bought VHS tapes, I decided to see if they're any good before telling Brandon, as to avoid a possible melt-down. Caitlin was so offended when I stopped playing them and took them out of the VCR. She kept pointing to the TV and asking for something. I finally asked if she wanted to watch a video, to which she answered "ja!" So here is proof. For a few minutes, at least, Caitlin was occupied. Which is good for me - I get to balance the checkbook and fold some laundry. You're jealous, I know!

    Sunday, September 02, 2007

    We Did It

    We bought a house last week. Our first house. Wow. Our offer was accepted, and that's where we are currently. I don't even know what to blog about it. Click here to see the pictures (with the current owner's stuff, of course). It's a traditional 2-story house, which is not all that easy to find around here. Some bad architects were let loose in the 70's and 80's, went nuts and built far too many bi, tri and 4 level houses around here. So not interested in those! The house has a living room, a family room, a kitchen/eating area, 4 upstairs bedrooms, a small basement with it's own nice bathroom, and an attached two car garage. For now the basement will be used as a guest suite. If nothing else, it's private! We've looked at a lot of houses, and I am housed-out! Some were small, some were huge. This one, even though it's in a "starter home" neighborhood, seems right. It's a good size for us, in a good location, and the town has lots of families with young children. It's about 7 miles from our current place, and will be closer to Brian's work.

    It's been a pretty overwhelming week to say the least. We had to get over a few hurdles before everything was said and done. The owner of the house is a smoker. Bleah! Who wants that? We originally looked at this house in July, and had dismissed because of the smell. I'm pretty sensitive to smells anyway, and get headaches easily. After seeing it again and deciding we liked the house, we had an odor removal company do an inspection to see if the smoke odor was removable. The owner has only lived there a few years, so we were hoping things could be changed. The upside - the company is confident that all odor can be removed. The downside - it's going to cost a lot. The house is over 2,000 square feet, so it will take them 4 days to do all that needs to be done! They'll clean all surfaces, rugs, air ducts, ozonate the place, etc. We wanted to be in charge of that part of the deal, so we factored the cost of the service out of the price of the house. We didn't want smoker-boy house owner to get some cheap service on his own dime that would only do a so-so job. At first smoker-boy wasn't willing to come down to our offer. But, hello, you're the one who wrecked the house in the first place! Voluntarily! On your own! Yes, I understand that smoking is an addiction, but it's still gross and disgusting. Our agent talked to his agent, and we were able to meet closer to the middle, and got it for a fair price. Right now we're in the process of getting all our paperwork together for the mortgage lending company. That's a lot of work, too. I was sick last week, and am still not fully recovered. All I really want to do is sleep. At a hotel. Away from my children. Mostly the little girl that I now referring to as Velcro, since she is clingy and only wants all mommy, all the time.

    Anyway, that's really about it from the P-4 household. Our offer was accepted on Friday, and that's where we are. Tuesday we give all the info the the mortgage lender, and on Wednesday (I think) we have the inspection. Closing is sometime at the end of the month. We really have nothing to worry about, but I'm still in anxious mode. Our credit scores are very high, and the house is in good shape. Other than the smoking, smoker-boy took good care of everything. We'll have it cleaned, and most likely recarpet the upstairs. The downstairs is all hardwood floors. We're debating on carpeting the family room, since we're always rolling around on the floor with the kids. 1,000 square feet of hardwood can be pretty hard on the knees. At some point we'll need to get some furniture for the front room, but that can wait. We'll need a desk for the office first! I'm not looking forward to the move, but nothing can be as bad as packing it all up to move here! Plus, I'm looking forward to getting out of our weird rental house. I'll miss the big trees and the green golf course down the street, but I really won't miss this house, or the fact that the kitchen is on the second floor! I hate grocery shopping these days. Lugging it all upstairs will soon become a thing of the past! And I, for one, am looking forward to it!