Sunday, December 30, 2007

Please Pray

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

What Could Be More Fun?

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

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

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

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

2 kids in an umbrella stroller....

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Oh, Trader Joe's

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

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

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Wishing you and yours a wonderful and very merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Being in California

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

House Pics

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

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

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

Friday, December 14, 2007

Brandon's Christmas Tree

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

Because his picture is the top of the tree!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Night Night

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

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

and then that she needed to check on them regularly

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Where Everybody Knows Your House.....

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

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

Now we know.

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

Friday, December 07, 2007

Artistic Picture Attempt #1

Morning snow on the branches

Thursday, December 06, 2007

What I Saw This Morning

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

Then he looked up and saw me!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Still the New Girl

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

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

It was so weird.

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

I'm still the new girl.

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

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Caitlin's Likes

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