Sunday, December 28, 2008

Journeys

We left Colorado in the frigid, wee hours on the morning on the 21st, and made our way to the airport. We felt a little weighed down by our luggage, after traveling so light for my sister's wedding in November. But this time we were bearing gifts, and happily toted out an extra suitcase for the occasion.

It takes 35 to 45 minutes to reach the airport from our house, since it's located on the great plains! We were treated to the beautiful sunrise. Happy, oddly for us, that it wasn't snowing. There had been an accident at DIA the day before, closing half the runways. Our plane wasn't delayed (probably due to our early departure), and we completed the first part of our journey to San Jose in a normal time. While most of the US seemed shut down by record snow and harsh weather, Colorado was coping quite well with the cold, and we were grateful. It seems to take a lot for Colorado to have issues. Snow, or the frigid, 20 below zero temperatures of a couple of weeks ago only slow things down. Rarely are things stopped.


As of today we have completed half of our journey. We made it to San Jose, and spent time with family and friends. Brandon joined Donna, Jackie and me at "The Nutcracker" for the first time. Donna found out that the San Jose ballet was doing a half-version (touted as the kid friendly version) , and thought that would be the best for him. Our friends Chris and Emily were invited, as well (I think 9 of us went!). We celebrated Christmas twice - first with Brian's family on Christmas day, and then with mine on Boxing day. My present from Brian is a few days with a couple of friends in California, *alone* (meaning - no children with me for the weekend)! I can't even remember what that feels like. I'm sure I'll be able to adapt. The kids have had a fill of grandparents, always running into their arms for love or comfort. I've managed to make up for the some of the cumulative sleep loss that happens when I travel.

It's been good to see everyone again, but we are starting to long for home. For our own beds and other stuff. 10 days is a long time to travel. By the end we are all weary. Both kids talk about missing home, but Caitlin is our little homebody (kind of like her mother, according to my mother). She talks about going back to "our" home and driving "our" car (instead of her Nana's car) all the time. She wants certain toys that are at our house (we don't bring toys with us when we travel to California. Both sets of Grandparent's have plenty. Plus, it's Christmas!). We've heard that the weather in Colorado warmed up after we left, and was around 45 during the day. That's a good 35-40 degrees warmer than before we left. We weatherized, and shut down our household before venturing out into the snow and cold. Still, we're no longer worrying about our pipes bursting while we're gone!

Okay - time to stop blogging, and time to get on with enjoying the second half of our journey.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Traveling

We're hanging with the families for the next 10 days, so I won't be blogging much. Hope you and yours have a very merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ewwww!

Things you should be grateful that I'm not getting you for Christmas, #512:

From USA today

NEW YORK (AP) — Looking to beef up your mojo this holiday season?

Burger King (BKC) may have just the thing. The home of the Whopper has launched a men's body spray called "Flame." The company describes the spray as "the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat [...]"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"Hey, dude!"

I can hear Brandon upstairs saying "Hey dude! Don't run away!" and "I'm going to get you, dude!" Must be talking to his computer game. Let's hope....

But now I'm worried. He's starting to talk like his mom! I talk a lot about dudes and chicks. Not sure why. I guess that somewhere, deep down inside, I must be a beach bum. Now people are going to wonder about my son! And beaches in Colorado are pretty scarce!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Brrrrr!

The low at our place last night was 18 below zero. So far today it has warmed up to -1, but hasn't gotten above zero all day. Not only has the old record low temperature this time of year (-6 ) been broken, but we are having the lowest high temperatures as well. This is the coldest weather I think I've ever experienced. Last year we had a few zero to 4 degree days, with a low of 5 below, but nothing to this scale. The snow that we got on Saturday night hasn't really melted unless it's in direct sunlight. The roads and sidewalks are either partially melted or are a sheet of ice covered with compacted snow. Everything sparkles. Cold, frosty air swirls and hovers a few inches above the roadways, reminiscent of the way the smoke swirls above a smoldering candle wick.

I can be grateful that we still have power, unlike people in the northeastern part of the country. Our heater has been on all day in an attempt to keep us warm. Unlike our house(s) in California, we have some wonderful insulation to keep the heat in during winter. Always a nice touch. The sun actually came out today, which heated up the kids bedrooms, and kept the upstairs a reasonable temperature. I had to wipe down the window sills, as the condensation on the windows (from our whole-house humidifier) can get bad on the inside during these cold days, and just drips down. I'm also grateful for those sweaters that I have that don't often get worn. Even though the outside is cold here, the heat is cranked up inside everywhere you go. I've found myself sweating indoors when I've worn the same sweaters that were commonplace during my northern California winters. But not today. Today they were appreciated.

The kids don't quite understand why I'm not letting them play outside. They'd last a few minutes, then start complaining. This is one of those days when I wish we had a large basement. They'll survive, though. They're the ones that commented on how the snow twinkles. Ice storms, while dangerous, must be so pretty. Without the heat, the snow hasn't melted, and is beautiful to see. I can't wait for tonight. I like looking at all the Christmas lights on our street, and I'll bet they're going to look better tonight with the sparkling snow!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Snow Day Sunday

We got about 4 inches of snow here last night. It's always nice to watch the snow fall in the evening. And, it didn't start until after we got home from running errands and Christmas sh0pping! The roads are pretty icy today, though. Hopefully it won't be too bad of a commute for Brian tomorrow. We were hoping it would make it up to 12 degrees today, which is what last night's forecast was. However, it's currently still at zero (up from below zero!), so our hopes are dwindling. It's funny how that doesn't seem to stop anything on the weekends. Brian shoveled the driveway, and we made it church. I'm about to head out to a toy store, return a couple of things and get a few groceries. Nothing has changed except the jacket and shoes that I'll wear out. I think I'll put the kids comforters on their beds tonight, since their rooms are the coldest.

Here's some fun footage of the kids in the snow. Mom and Dad decided to stay indoors, near the fireplace, while they donned their snowsuits and headed out. It's amazing how the snow and cold is not nearly as enticing the older you get!

video

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Caitlin and the Terrible "Two, Almost Three's"

What to say, what to say.... In reality, it's more like "what to say without sobbing or screaming". I'm getting very tired of being the mother of this two, almost three year old. I can say that without any guilt or remorse for my feelings, since it seems to be the theme song of many other mothers I know who have kids, usually girls, around the same age. Yes, we love our children. But, no, I don't wish to continue the bedtime battles because she has recently decided she's afraid of the dark, or getting up in the middle of the night because she is still afraid of the dark! We are tired parents who dread the 8:00 hour these days!

The Terrible Two, Almost Three's has been culminating for a couple of months now. I suppose it's to be expected at her age, but it's not exactly fun to be going through. She's been picky about her clothes and shoes since about September, and much clingier than normal. It got worse after our visit to my parent's house in late November. We flew out for my sister's wedding. When we stay at my parent's house we all sleep in one room. That has never been an issue. This time it was . We'd put the kids to bed together, and inevitably Caitlin would wander out of the room, proclaiming her fear of the dark. This is all new to us. She's always been a good, albeit light, sleeper. And she's never had issues with the dark. One night she also complained about hearing a "banging" noise coming from the other room. My guess is that she heard my dad getting ready for bed, or possibly closing his dresser drawers, as their room is next to the guest room. Whatever it was, it spooked her, and now she can't fall asleep. Instead of happily babbling to herself or reading a book, she screams at the top of her lungs. Someone is going to report us one of these days if she doesn't stop. It sounds awful! And loud! She wants to sleep with the lights on. Maybe getting a touch lamp will help? After talking with a couple of other moms, it seems that Brandon's sleeping without lights through the night is more unusual than previously thought. Who knew? Brian and I are up at all hours of the night with our crying little girl. It's not fun. And while I know we will get through it all, it feels like we aren't going to survive this. We already went through huge bouts of sleepless nights with Brandon for several years. He'd go to sleep, but wouldn't stay asleep. Then he wouldn't go to sleep. We were soooo excited when Caitlin started sleeping through the night before she was 1! Turns out our joy was premature.

The Terrible Two, Almost Three's needs to end soon. These nights are putting our days at risk. Caitlin cries if we leave the light on. She cries if we turn the lights off. She cries if we shut the door. She cries if she perceives any injustice at all. She is picky about her clothes and shoes. She won't eat. She can't sit still. She is always always always hurting herself because she can't be still. She runs around like an an adrenalin junkie, and won't shut up. She talks during almost every waking hour. Other moms have commented on her spastic, crazy, hyperactive behavior, and on the fact that she just talks and talks and talks! I talk a lot, too, but she puts me to shame! I'm thinking that it's time to find some sort of gymnastics class for her after Christmas. Then comes the issue of what to do with Brandon during that time? Can I find one while he's in school? This half-day kindergarten year is killing me! His preschool hours were longer, and I had options. I'm stuck with the fantastic schedule for the next 5 months. It's not that I don't want him to be with me. It's more that the hours and so contrary with our life that working around them is much harder and more limiting than I though it would be. It's hard for me to schedule anything for Caitlin due to the drop-off and pick-up time. Let's hope the rec centers looked at that when making schedules. Probably not. It's so hard to have any one thing work with another around here. But I can look. And then maybe I'll wear her out so much she'll sleep. With the light off.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Caitlin and the Tree

Caitlin, after a long cry about who knows what, finds solace by the Christmas tree.


Brandon in the Backyard

It was a snowy, snowy day the other day. May have reached 15 degrees. However, back in October, while shopping for Halloween costumes, Rochelle ran across some barely used snow suits at the thrift store for $4 each. Not a bad deal, if I do say so myself. Welcome to 2008 - the year Brandon and Caitlin can go in the snow fully decked out in appropriate snow gear! (Unlike last year, when Mommy had to hit Target in October) Gloves, suits, boots! You name it, they have it. So, when Brandon wanted to go outside on Thursday afternoon, there was no objection from the Mommy unit. So, here he is, doing nothing exciting. But happy to be doing it!

video

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

What is that Noise?

I keep hearing a noise in the background. It could be one of three things:

1) The wind. We are currently having strong winds. So strong that it took all my body weight along with that of a grown man to shut some doors at a store this morning during one of the microblasts. It almost took down a display of glass jars. Every sign in the store was swaying! I'm not use to wind this strong, yet it's common here. The wind is shaking the house, blowing the kids toys all over the yard, and is very noisy. It whips around the corners and whistles in ways only described in scary stories and horror movies. Could be that.

2) One of my plastic, reusable bags settling into place. I went to the store, but somehow only the things that needed refrigeration made it out of the bag. The rest of the stuff is still settling in the bag. Could be that.

3) Caitlin, refusing to nap and reveling in her new-found crib-less freedom, getting up and opening and shutting her door. Last week she discovered the joys of wandering out of the guest room at my parent's house after we'd put her to bed, and telling us she was afraid of the dark. Many, many times. It's one of her new fears. She hasn't forgotten that, and has started up doing it here. Two weeks ago she didn't know she could get out of her bed by herself. Ah, the olden days. Could be that.

I think it's (drumroll, please)............. #3, but I'm not going to go check. That's just the kind of mom I've become! Brandon's kindergarten schedule has restructured my days and left me with precious little time to myself. He's currently at a friend's house, so I'm relishing my unexpected kid-free time. Usually Caitlin is napping at this time, and Brandon is telling me all about his day. And really, it's wonderful to spend time with my kids. And peaceful to spend time without.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Last Day

Ah, the last day of NaBloPoMo! And really, I have nothing to say. But, I couldn't leave this space blank. It's been a long month, and I'm quasi looking forward to December. Only quasi as the stress of the holiday seasons, and the stress added in to my life by other people should prove to be interesting! On top of it all, we pack up and board a plane again (only one this time) a mere three weeks from today. As of now, our Christmas tree and decorations are up. Snow has fallen in the last few days (although it will be gone tomorrow). My house is a study in disaster, and I am tired. Ready for bed. Goodnight!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Going Forward Toward Winter

It snowed last night. More than the weather forecasters predicted, but not much. Maybe a couple of inches. The kids couldn't wait to bundle up in their snowsuits, mittens and boots and got out into the back yard! The snow is late this year, so it's a very welcomed sight in these parts. Our first, light snowfall this year didn't happen until November 14th, and was completely melted by noon. Last year it was in October 21st. The second snowfall was on November 21st, the day before Thanksgiving, and that was it.... it was no longer warm after that. Warm being anything above the mid 50's really. It's not as bad as it sounds. The air is so dry here that a sunny, 50 degree day requires a long-sleeved shirt, but sometimes not even a sweatshirt! Of course, then there are the cloudy or windy days, which require body armour! But I digress.....

I think we reached the it's-not-going-to-be-warm-for-a-while point last night. I was struck with that thought as the snow softly fell, and then again this afternoon as I folded a pair of capri sweats and a short sleeved shirt fresh from the dryer. Won't need those for another 6 months! I put away Caitlin's size 18-24 month and size 2 capri's in mid-October, since it was cold, and then had to drag them out again right after Halloween for the 75-80 degree days we had! Quite honestly, I didn't think we would need them again! Yesterday I boxed up a bunch of summer clothes that won't fit her again. It's nice to have a basement to store them in, but I'll need to find someone who likes hand-me-downs. Who wants to hold on to kid clothes forever?

I'm grateful for fall and winter. It's so nice to actually look forward to summer! I was really really waiting for it this year, as our cold spring seemed to drag on forever. No greenery. No flowers. In my longing I realized that I couldn't remember the last time I longed for summer. Of course, that first hot day hit, and I started wondering why I wished for them in the first place! California's mild winters that give way to hot summers don't make you long for summer. I always longed for winter and rain. Since winter here isn't as harsh as it elsewhere in the states you can have fun. A few cold weeks does make you understand why people pack up and move to warmer climates. In a few more months you'll hear me complaining about the cold!
We found out that the new play area in the mall just opened up yesterday. At least I'll have somewhere to go in the winter when the kids just need to run around. Yay!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Returning

The worst part about returning home from a trip? Trying to clean up and unpack your stuff (and the stuff of others). The best part? Being home. And, in this case, knowing that we don't start our regular schedule for a few more days. Yay! More time to take down our fall decor and put up our Christmas tree!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful for Waffles

Traveling on Thanksgiving. What a strange concept! Thanksgiving dinner for us tonight? Waffles. Restaurants were closed, as were stores, and all our stuff was frozen. I am thankful to be home though, and to have had easy travels. I am looking forward to my bed tonight. And I am thankful for Waffles!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Things I am Thankful For

We are celebrating Thanksgiving today with my family, since tomorrow is a travel day for us. There are many things I am thankful for. I could go on and on in a big list, but I don't want to bore you! :-) I am thankful from God, from whom all blessing flow. I am thankful, year after year, for being able to live in a wonderful country (regardless of some horrible quirks), to practice my faith openly, and to have a loving family (both sides) that loves my family. Brian and I took a cruise through the Netherland Antilles and the Panama Canal for our honeymoon. We were struck by the living conditions of people in the countries we visited. I'll never forget trying to get a glimpse of the humble hovels that many people called home. Images of women sweeping dirt floors and doing their washing in tubs outside will always be with me, and again, I am grateful for that. When I get into my little complaining mood that my life is hard or that I don't have what so-and-so has, all I have to do is remember that I have been blessed in my circumstances and keep my mouth shut.

So I will celebrate the openness and freedom we have here. Remembering that it is not free. And won't forget how fortunate I have been in life. I hope you and yours can celebrate your life and freedoms, and thank God for the positives (and maybe some of the negatives!) in your life.



And, on my closing note, here is what Caitlin is thankful for:


And that's no lie. She does love those goldfish crackers!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Not 300 Pounds

Brandon decided to hang out in the bathroom with me while I was I was taking out my contacts yesterday. He got fascinated by my sister's analog scale, and stood on it. In a whiny voice, he asked "Why am I only 40 pounds, mom?" I was pretty amazed, since he was only 38 pounds at the pediatrician's visit last month. He wanted me to get on the scale, too. Since I was still taking out my contacts, I told him I'd get on in a few minutes. He looked down at the scale...

Brandon - Do you weigh three zero zero, Mom?
Me - I hope not!
Brandon (disappointed) - How about two eight zero?
Me - Nope, I don't weight two hundred and eighty pounds.
Brandon (sighing) - How about two four zero?
Me - No, honey.
Brandon - Two zero zero?
Me - no honey, I don't weight that either.
Brandon - Mom! What good is it if don't weigh over two zero zero?
Me (thinking out loud) - I'm really happy I don't weigh that much!
At that point Brandon sighed heavily and walked away from the scale.

I'm betting that he's the only one in the house who is offended that his mother doesn't weigh two hundred pounds. I'm not skinny by any means, but I haven't reached that point on the scale. And I, for one, am not disappointed!

Monday, November 24, 2008

"Oops"

I promise this is not me and Brandon. However, I'm sure I would have had the cackling laugh at the end if it was. The last 1o seconds made me laugh the hardest!

mom makes son have panic attack

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Kids at the Wedding

Elizabeth's wedding to Ryan was yesterday, and it was wonderful. She is marrying a great guy, and their wedding went off without a hitch (unless you count Caitlin during the picture session!). We are all a little drained from it. However, I've been asked to blog about this by a few friends, and to post some pictures. I'll get more up when I get home, but here are a few highlights:

Brandon
Brandon was the ring bearer. He's five, so I knew he could do it. And oh my gosh, he looked so darling in his little tux! His uncle Keith, my youngest brother, was also part of the wedding party, so he stood by Keith during the ceremony. When asked by Keith during the rehearsal what he thought of the whole thing, his response was "booorrringgg!" At least he kept that to himself during the ceremony! He walked up the aisle quite nicely, and took his place next to his uncle. After the ceremony, before Keith took the arm of the bridesmaid he was paired up with, he took Brandon's hand, and then the three of them walked out of the chapel together. Brandon had the option of coming and sitting with us, since he'd spent most of the rehearsal the night before crouched over. But when the time came, he stood proud, and only minimally played with the ring-bearer pillow.


Goofing off with uncle Keith prior to the ceremony


After the ceremony



Hi... my name's Brandon. What's yours?

Caitlin
Caitlin was another story! She's only two-and-a-half, and we were all aware of this. But this two-and-a-half-ness showed itself in oh so many ways! First there was the rolling on the pews. Then the running in the aisles. Brian and I had agreed on our Caitlin management divisions, so he went down and sat in the front row early on, while I stayed behind with the kids and the bridal party, until everyone walked down the aisle. We wanted him to be up front just in case the kids didn't think they could stand up on the platform during the ceremony. Although the kids were the last of the bridal party, except the bride, to walk down the aisle, I did manage to get to the front row just in time to see Elizabeth walk down the aisle with our Dad! Caitlin didn't manage to throw any flowers, but she did walk down the aisle and take her spot with the bridal party. The other flower girl, Noelle, is not quite two. She walked down the aisle with her cousins, and then went and sat with her mom. As soon as Caitlin saw this, she was unsure what to do, so she came and sat down with us. My mom thinks she might have stayed up there longer if she hadn't seen Noelle sit down. I'm doubtful that she would have lasted the whole ceremony, but she may have stayed longer. Either way, she did much better than I thought she would, and she managed to not make a single silly face (her new thing) during the ceremony.


She was not nearly as behaved during the pictures afterwards. Luckily the photographer had a lot of patience, and managed to get a few good shots before dismissing her. Caitlin decided to entertain the audience with her zombie faces, and some great views of her diapers! I found her antics annoying, but everyone else didn't seem to mind as much. I guess that comes from being the mother, and knowing that she can behave herself, and is chosing not to!

The kids together in the foyer


With aunt Elizabeth prior to the ceremony


Taking her spot with the bridesmaids


Overall, the kids did pretty well during the ceremony. They ran around like crazy during the reception, but weren't bothering anyone. Most of the reception was outside, anyway. Brandon was a little too fascinted by the cake, but other adults were nearby to keep watch over it. I'm very proud of my little ones, who don't understand weddings at all, but yet were able to do the small things that were hoped of them. It was sweet enough that my sister wanted them to be in the wedding.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Wedding


Friday, November 21, 2008

Doubtful

We're at my parent's home. The kids are in bed. After tonight's rehearsal, I'm doubtful that Caitlin, a flower girl, will be able to stand up with the bridesmaids at all. It looks necessary that I'll need to create my own arsenal of creative things to do to keep my active little girl quite during the ceremony! Brandon, however, seems like he'll be fine as the ring bearer. He gets to stand up near his uncle Keith. He should be able to stand up for the ceremony. I think I'll be ready with a lollipop for him once the wedding is complete.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Leaving

We're heading out to the airport. In our California clothes. Not wanting to lug jackets through the airport. Hoping to not have to face the soaring 29 degree temps at the airport for too long. Hoping we aren't dressed too warm for the 70 degrees we're expecting to see in central California. Excited about the wedding! Wish us luck!!! :-)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Allergic?

I'm allergic to band aids.

Seriously.

I got a mole removed last week during my dermatology appointment. There was nothing wrong with it except location. It was an inch or so under my armpit and highly determined what type of bra I could wear. The side of the bra had to cover it or miss it, and most rubbed up against it. TMI, I know, for those 3 male readers I have, but this is an issue I've dealt with daily for most of my life! I was completely unaware that you could just have moles removed because they were annoying. Why I thought this, in this age of plastic surgery and all sorts of other procedures, is still a mystery to me. So, last Tuesday it was it was removed. The instructions were to put a little un-petroleum jelly on it (since I'm working hard to keep petroleum based products off my skin, too) and keep it covered.

That was a lot easier said than done.

Between my skin, the band aids, and my bra, it's all been a mess. The bra hurts, so I've switched to some "shelf camis", which are camisoles with built-in bras. Great for the faint of chest. Not so great for me. Then there's the band aids themselves. I've tried several different brands, found one that works, but have developed a huge rash. In some instances the band aid or tape has actually eaten into me. It looks like I have road rash, or some other kind of scrape. The former mole is healing just fine, but the skin around it is bright red. It's actually quite painful, and has affected my sleep, since I'm a side sleeper. If I don't wear a band aid for the day, it gets better.

I seem to be accident prone, and wear band aids quite frequently. However, after some thought, I came to the conclusion that I mostly cut my fingers, and band aids don't stay on fingers for more than half the day. So I switch often, and thus the band aid glue or plastic doesn't seem to affect me much. That's another thing - is it the glue or the plastic? I can't wear a plastic shower cap for more than a few minutes, and have a mild latex allergy. Who knows? All I know is that I'm red and itchy, but it gets better when the band aid comes off.

Weird.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Let The Frenzy Begin

We leave for California on Thursday. We used more of our American frequent flier miles in a effort to not only cut costs for us, but to use them up. American Airlines was our airline of choice during our California days, but doesn't have many options out of DIA (Denver International Airport). It no longer does direct flights to either airports near our parent's houses, which made the choice to switch to United easy. But, we still have lots of miles on American. Being the frugal fools that we try to be, we have used up most of these miles, and bought a crap load of tickets this year (15 frequent flier tickets in all, between both AA and United).

Because we switched loyalty and credit cards to United a year and a half ago, we've lost status on American Airlines. Brian travels quite a bit, and the one good thing about that is that he racks up those frequent flier miles in a way we could never to do if he was always at home. He has premier status, and I have premier associate on United. He gets to board first, and we don't pay for a normal amount of baggage. We lost status on our Thursday flight, though, and are only checking one bag. For all 4 of us. Since airlines were finally able to pass their long-tried baggage charge (I've heard they are thrilled), we are only checking one bag and taking carry-ons for the rest. Should be fun. The weight restrictions confine us to using our medium sized suitcase, since packing the large suitcase with our clothes alone makes it over 50 pounds. Really, airlines. If you're going to charge us per bag, up the weight restrictions. You aren't winning any fans this year. And it's not like we're taking an inordinate amount of stuff! Good thing that the kids are getting past all that baby gear that we use to have to take on flights.

So, now I'm doing laundry. Even though I'm packing the least amount of stuff that I've ever packed to travel since having kids, I somehow feel compelled to do all the laundry. Must have it all clean to pick out those 5 things I'm taking. Plus the 5 things for the kids. Plus Brian's 5 things, which are bigger than my 5 things. My parents have the wondrous invention know as a washing machine, so we're set. I know we'll be fine with less, but the hassle of having to pick and choose so carefully is not what I need right now. My tickets were also free (although they come at the price of flying with only one airline for so long), which also makes the sorting and packing worth it. Sort of.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Bear is Back


There was much crying Friday afternoon/evening when Brandon realized he'd left his Pooh-Bear at school . Friday was pajama and stuffed animal day, so I sent the boy off to school in his PJ's. All was well until later on in the day when he couldn't find his pooh (bear). My insistence that it would all be okay, and that Pooh was probably waiting for him in his cubby at school went unheard. Luckily today Brandon was able to retrieve Pooh-Bear and bring him home. Now, of course, Pooh will go largely ignored. Being exactly where you are suppose to be doesn't bring much attention.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thanksgiving Early

I had a couple of really good blog ideas, but I didn't write them down, and forgot about them. Dang! So, you're stuck with more little stories of my life.

We've lived here just over 18 months. Some months have been good, and some have not. Getting involved in a small group at our church wasn't really an option when we moved here. Caitlin was still a little young, and we weren't sure if we wanted to stay at our church, anyway. Although we really like the worship leader and the pastor, we just weren't connecting with anyone. Part of that is because we are some of the oldest parents for having kids the ages of ours. There were other reasons, but we just couldn't figure them out. People don't necessarily flock to us the way they flock to some other people, but we're not that scary. Or, maybe we are.

Back in September, we joined a Life Group (the name our church as chosen for a small group that meets outside of church during the week. No one has small groups anymore. They need a cooler name). Our group meets at another house just down the road. We have dinner, and then a sitter takes the kids (all 7 of them) downstairs to the basement for a couple of hours while we talk, discuss, shoot the breeze, etc. It's been nice. And it's been really nice getting to know some other people. We have taken turns watching each other's kids at different times and gotten together for dinner. Caitlin has a made a little friend in Mattie, who is a month older than her. Mattie also likes hanging with Caitlin, which has been evidenced in the fact she hides from her parents when they come to pick her up at my house, and how she runs to Caitlin in her class at church.

Last night we had an early Thanksgiving. Our generous hosts made a turkey meal, complete with stuffing. Others brought a broccoli salad, and mashed potatoes, and we brought mint brownies for dessert. Even though the sitter was sick, we didn't see much of the kids. They were just having so much fun playing with each other that they didn't need us. I shouldn't like that so much, but my kids are still very needy when they're with me. I know it's the age, but a few hours here and there with no clingy kids is always a good thing. It was very relaxing to just hang out and talk - a nice break from the complete busyness and craziness that was last week, and craziness that is coming up in a few days.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Random Blogginess

It's only the middle of November, and I'm running out of steam on NaBloPoMo. Here are a few highlights of today:

Brian came home last night after a week of being gone. Always a good thing.

I got to sleep in this morning. Woo hoo! I've been so tired and still fighting off a cold that has lingered on from last week. Again, always a good thing.

I think we have all the outfit stuff we need for Elizabeth's wedding. We got Caitlin some little white shoes and tights for her flower girl outfit. Brandon's all fitted for his tux, and I have dress. I think Brian's got what he needs, but don't know. He's a grown man and can do it for himself, so I'm not interfering.

Caitlin has reached her terrible almost threes. That's a whole other post. It's pushing me to a few limits I don't want to go to. Luckily it's not all the time. But yesterday was probably the worst day Caitlin has ever had, and it wasn't fun. Today is better, but I'm still recovering from yesterday's tantrums.

I sent my child off to school yesterday in his PJ's with his stuffed pooh-bear. His class had another pajama link party (they have chain that gets a link added to it when they do good things for others and show respect, and they get to do something fun when the chain reaches the ground). He left pooh-bear at school on accident, and is still sad about it.

Just a few more days and we're off to California again. Trip two of three. I'm not looking forward to the flight (Colorado to Texas, then off to California), but I'm happy to be attending my sisters wedding.

I wish they'd open up the play area for the kids at the mall soon. It's taking forever. Time at the mall has been greatly reduced. However, I really want it open soon since winter's approaching. And you don't go outside during winter here, so you have to find something else to do with your cooped-up kids! Mall, here we come!

I was sad when all the snow melted yesterday. I'm not ready for a full-on winter, but this warm weather seems wrong for November. Of course, I need to remember that last year it was really warm before getting cold on the 21st. And after that it never got warm again until spring.

I think that's about it from the P-4 household. How's life with you?

Friday, November 14, 2008

First Snowfall

Snow tomorrow would have been the latest snowfall in this area since they've been keeping records. Yesterday was 67 degrees and windy. This morning was 22 and snowing. Tomorrow should be back in the mid 60's. Weird. Still, it was nice to wake up to overcast skies and snow. I miss overcast. It's uncommon in Colorado.




Of course, it all melted right away when the sun broke through the clouds around 9:30. The kids were sooooo disappointed!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Lazy Day is Coming!

Sometimes I think I'm not busy enough, and that I really need to get out there and try to do more. After all, I use to hold down a job and have an active social life. So much of that has changed over the years. It took a long time to get use to my new life as the mom of a baby. Then, when I got use to that, I started attending a few mom's groups. Then I actually started to make friends (not just acquaintances). Then came playdates, meetings, a regular schedule. Woo hoo! I was on a roll!

Then I moved. And it all changed.

We made a few friends last year, but most of them moved over the summer.

In an effort to reach out, I did join a couple of MOPS groups. One at my home church and another near my home. I wasn't sure it was working. I'm making a lot of acquaintances again, so I guess something's happening. We recently became involved in a small group on Sunday evenings, which has helped build community. I have called on those friends quite a bit in the last few months to help out, especially since Brian is gone so often.

Tonight, though? Tonight I'm excited that for the first time in days, nothing is expected of me in the morning! In all my reaching out, I have committed myself to 2 hugely busy weeks each month. My MOPS groups meet on Tuesday and Thursday, and I have my Bible Study every Wednesday. I have been busy every day this week, for a variety of reasons. I've stayed up late and woken up early. Kindergarten and doctor's appointments, lunches and errands. Even though it wasn't full of things I hated, being busy and single mom'ing it this week have made for a very tired girl!

But not this evening! It's my own evening. No work to do. No food to prepare. No questions to be answered. In short, nothing. I need to make sure my kiddos are taken care of, but that's it! I can read, watch TV, stare at the ceiling... whatever! And, I have nothing to do tomorrow except take Brandon to kindergarten and go to the store for a few groceries.

My sister's wedding is a week from this Saturday. We fly out to California next Thursday. Then comes Thanksgiving. It is looking to be the start of a very busy holiday season. I'll take a lazy day, thank you. I knew I'd like it. What's surprising to me is how much I'm liking it!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Startled by Myself

I went into the laundry room tonight to close the venetian blinds. I'd opened them during the day just a wee bit to let some much needed sunshine in today - but not too much since the laundry room is also a half bathroom. During the closing session, I accidentally twisted the blinds the wrong way and opened them instead of closing them. I was completely startled to see someone outside of my window! I jumped! Then I realized it was my own reflection.

The lack of sleep is getting to me.

Land Mime!

www.totalleh.com - click to visit

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Perioral Dermatitis

Last spring I developed a strange rash on my face. It was small, just around my nose, and was easily covered with makeup. Still, I don't like things like that - things that develop where they shouldn't. Thinking it was just acne, I went out and bought some face wash with benzoyl peroxide. This never worked for me as a teenager, but worked miracles when I was pregnant with Brandon. Well, it didn't work. In fact, it made things worse. I went back to face washes and makeup that I knew wouldn't bother me. Still nothing. Then the rash got worse. It started to spread down to my chin, and I got some odd bumps and flakiness around my eyes. So last week, when my face was red, scaly and very itchy, I made an appointment. Tired of trying to cover it, I decided to treat it. Turns out I have perioral dermatitis. A very, very non-life-threatening, but oh-so-very embarrassing rash around the nose and mouth that affects mostly women my age. On the bright side, my case is mild. On the not-so-bright side, it can be chronic. There's no one cause for it, and it should clear up easily now that I've got a prescription cream for it. If it doesn't, I need to get on a 6 week round of antibiotics. While I have nothing against them, I think I'll try the topical cream first.

I've been advised to discontinue any heavy creams on my face, and to wash with soap-free cleansers. Soap-free cleansers are a way of life for me, but I had been using a heavy night cream, recommended by a friend to help with the ill effects of Colorado's ultra-dry weather. It was a trusted brand I'd tried a few years. While it was not the culprit, using the face cream caused the perioral dermatitis to get much worse. So long Arbonne Re-9 night cream. You didn't do me any favors! Oily skinned girls like me don't need heavy night creams or serums anyway! The more I try to do with my face, the worse it gets. Simple seems to the best way for me to go. So, back to natural and/or organic cleansers and moisturizers I go.

I'm really glad I went in and got something to treat my lovely rash. I'm tired of having a bright red rash on my face. I can cover the redness with makeup for a short time, but that is time consuming, tiring, and makes the dermatitis itch. It's a constant reminder of how vain I can be when faced with imperfections. Proverbs 31:30 says that "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting: but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." We all know the truth in that scripture, and agree with it. Beauty is fleeting for everyone, and those who won't, or can't accept that fact face a tough road ahead of them. Ever seen those crazy looking women who've had too much plastic surgery? Or the man with the toupee or comb-over? They don't look normal! What about the people who over-exercise to look younger and thinner, or dress like someone 15 years younger? I'm all for looking good. I'm all for exercising and eating right. And, there is a lot of style out there to be found (you just have to really search for it sometimes). Still, it's embarrassing to have a red rash on my face, of all places! I'm learning a lesson, though, that my beauty is not found in my face. My appearance cannot be my only measure of beauty! I've known plenty of gorgeous people, and those with horrid personalities soon lose their beautiful state in my eyes. They become hard to look at in light of the way they treat others and behave. So, I know that beauty is fleeting, and in the eye on the beholder. I do know that, deep down inside. But I still want my normal face back! Hopefully I've learned enough of a lesson that I can go back to my rash-less self.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cleaner Afterwards?

I had my bible study group over to the house tonight. We decided to have a girls night in, since girls night out wasn't working for some of us (me included). Since Brian is on a business trip, I am sorely lacking on childcare from anyone other than myself. It was a fun group. One of the other mothers brought two of her children along. It was quite the crazy household! Six women sitting in a group around a table eating different pastas, wine and desserts, and four children under the age of 6 running up and down the stairs. I think Brandon's found a friend in Kelton, who he gets to see at church and during my bible study on Wednesdays. Caitlin, at almost 3, was just a little too young to play with Haley, 4. But they still managed to get alone well enough for us adults to have some fun conversation.

After everyone left, I put the kids to bed and called my mom. I needed to talk to her about some stuff. After getting off the phone way to late, I went to clean up. You know, the stuff you always have to do after having people over. Lo and behold, to my surprise, there was almost nothing to clean up! I had to load some dishes into the dishwasher and hand wash our pasta dishes (they're handmade). But that was it! Even our extra fold-up chairs were back in the basement for storage. I didn't even see this happen. Where was I? I don't remember leaving the kitchen. At one point during dinner, the kids decided to transport all the train tracks from Brandon's room upstairs into the living room. Even that was miraculously cleaned up! It was amazing! I'm still not sure how it happened, but I'm asking on Wednesday. I have to know. I can't get my kids to even listen to me, much less clean up. And yet my house, full of 10 people, was almost as clean after the get together as before. How that was done, I'll never know. If I find out, I'll let you know.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Busy Weekend

I know, I know, I should be blogging about something interesting.... something profound. But, I don't feel like it. I am uninspired. I am tired.

Weekends are usually thought of as a time of rest or rejuvenation. But this was a busy weekend for me. Saturday I got my hair cut (that was nice and relaxing) and then took Brandon to a birthday party at Pump It Up. Hanging out with 25 5-year olds in a huge warehouse full of inflatable bouncy houses was more exhausting than it should have been. Brandon had fun, though. After that I still had my Apple Pie Social to go to. I was so tired, due to being sick all week, and really didn't want to go. But then again, the thought of making apple pies with the girlies sounded fun. So, off to north Boulder I went. And I'm glad I did. Except for the fact that I have an apple pie in my fridge and Brian's going out of town for the week. Guess I'll have to eat that one myself!

Today, between church and life group, I hit the mall to get a new dress for my sister's upcoming wedding. My career as a stay-at-home-mom does not include clothes that are appropriate for weddings. I've donated or given away a good chunk of my business clothes, as I don't need them anymore. So even though I am not lacking in clothing, I was lacking in something nice for this wedding. I've only gone to a handful of weddings since I quit working, so my options are few. I hit several stores before settling on Dillards. I found most dresses to be too casual, and the semi-formal options at Nordstrom were just too darn expensive! But, I did find several I liked at Dillards, and the process was far less painful than I had imagined. It was nice to do it kid-free, too. They usually start rough housing with each other when I'm half naked in the dressing room. I wore all the wrong undergarments and shoes to try on cute dresses. Being under the florescent lighting in knee-high stockings and a dress is about as unattractive as trying on bathing suits during winter while wearing black socks! I tried on many, and stuck with a classic, off the shoulder black dress with a flouncy skirt. I'd show you a picture, but I can't find it online. So you'll have to wait. I will get pictures, though. Brandon will be in his little tux, Caitlin in a cute dress, and Brian and I will be dressed nicely. We cannot, absolutely can not be pictureless when we all look good at the same time!

So, that was my weekend. It was productive, but not relaxing. The next few days are suppose to bring rain and snow, as warm, nice days are going to become a thing of the past in the very near future. I'm glad I got a lot of things done in advance. I think I'm going to hit the Halloween candy before heading off to bed. Or maybe some apple pie.....

mmmm...........

apple pie..................

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Apple Pie

My day? I learned how to make a yummy apple pie today. I was a little disturbed about the lard, although it did make a flaky crust. Might have to rethink the whole crust thing, though. Still, it was a nice way to end a very busy day.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Photo Friday

We went out last night and then went to get Brandon fitted for his tux. This coming weekend has a lot going on, and that was the one thing that didn't fit in well over the weekend. We went out to Mimi's Cafe before hitting Men's Wearhouse. The kids started to act up, so I let Brandon take a few pictures with my camera to calm the chaos. Below are the things that Brandon thought were important enough to capture on digital..........





And lastly, a shot of Brandon by Caitlin. She's got a ways to go on those photojournalism skills.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Getting Fitted

Isn't he cute getting fitted for his tux? Brandon is the ring-bearer in my sister's wedding, which is just a mere 2 weeks and 1 day away!




Why is he cooperating and looking happy? Because he gets to stand on the table. And, as he told me, he "never gets to do that at home." Good. The rules are sticking!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Who's Picture is it, Anyway?

Been on Facebook lately? Connected with any old friends? I have! It's been amusing. I've gotten in touch with quite a few people from high school. We moved to a small Sierra Nevada town when I was a freshman, and I moved right after graduation to attend college (and to escape small town life). My parents moved to the Montery Bay the next year. As a result, I've only been back to the mountains one time since 1989, and have lost touch with most of those friends. The upside of Facebook - we're getting back in touch. The downside - people keep posting pictures of their parents on their site! Not really, but when you haven't seen someone for 20 years, it's surprising how old they've gotten! Even those little freshman who were just entering high school when I was a senior - they're as old, if not older, than my husband! It's really amazing how that age gap narrows the older we get.So now I'm wondering if they thought I put my mom's picture up on my Facebook site?

Sick and Tired

Is it bad that I put Caitlin down for an early nap because I wanted to take a nap? Brian's out of town for the evening, I have a Love and Logic class tonight, and on top of it all, I've caught a cold. Cold medicines don't seem to be helping, and I can't shake the cough.

I'm so tired of being sick and tired. I have a bad immune system. I've had it for 20 years, but I've yet to get use to it. It all started after getting really sick in May of 1988, and not really getting well. If I try to explain what it's like to those few who ask, they glaze out after a while. It's been called many things over the years, the latest one being chronic fatigue. The strange pains. The hard time breathing. The constant headaches. Feeling so tired that you can't get off the couch, in the middle of the afternoon. Sometimes my body just shuts down involuntarily. Exercise makes the fatigue worse, and it doesn't get better over time. I never wake up feeling refreshed. What is that like? Seriously? I go to bed tired and wake up feeling slightly less tired. I never feel refreshed.

I try hard to come off as normal. I try to keep my complaining to a minimum, because I feel so much worse than I let on. I've been labeled as angry, depressed, and manic. Doctors go through a litany of tests, but can never come up with anything. The treatment vary - I have migraines, I need to exercise, or I need to be on different drugs. Most of the time I just want to give up.

I thought I had it down. It was okay before pregnancy and kids. I managed to hold down a job! And have a social life. I had issues when Brandon was little, but it got better. Then Caitlin was born. After a bout with PPD, I hoped for the better. The move and being a SAHM with two little kids drained me, and has kept me drained. Again, I try to get involved. To make friends. To just be normal. But I'm not sure I can. I just wish there was a way out of this fatigue and pain. A way to move on. I cannot imagine what life is like for everyone else. A day without pain. A day without fatigue. To wake up feeling like you're ready to start the day. But I'd like to experience it. Really, I would.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Finally! Time to Vote!

The amount of political papers and political trash I have just tossed into the recycle bin is enormous. Finally, today, we all get to vote. We'll have an outcome, and all the mail I never asked for and ads that I don't wish to see will come to an end. Yeah!

I managed to get me and the kids out the door by 10:00. No small feat since I am sick, went to bed at 9:00 last night, and didn't feel like getting up this morning. The kids wanted a lazy morning, so getting them dressed was a hassle. Thanks to the promise of snacks, and the actuality of Skittles at the voting precinct, all went well. My assumption about voting here (from friends, news, and other media) is that the lines have been long. We've been able to vote early for weeks now, which is not sometime I remember being an option in California. I guess it was suppose to cut down on long lines. The closest early-voting precinct was 10 miles away, so I didn't make it there. I was all set to brave the lines today. The news was reporting waits of up to an hour in Denver, so I even charged up the portable DVD player for the kids. And snacks. And even put Brandon's school backpack in the car just in case...... And...........there was no line. At least no line of any note. I did figure out why the lines can be so long here, though. Everything is manual! Manual in a way that is slower than the manual California process, back in the day. You have to color in your square of choice with a black pen, making sure it's completely filled in. Kind of like a scantron, but the square is bigger. It was the smallest amount of line items, and took the longest time to fill out! I was a little stressed about the kids running around and bugging other voters, but they were good.

So, now I'm home again. Brandon's at school and Caitlin is watching an Elmo DVD (one she discovered in my bag, and wondered why I had it with me). It's almost nap time for her, and I may join her. I have MOPS work to do today, but it might have to wait until the next round of cold medicine. I don't think I have the capacity to deal with it right now!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Battling Pre-Election Sludge

I'm excited to vote. Really. I'm not excited by the horrid lines that seem to be commonplace in Colorado (at least according to the news and friends), but I'm excited to get out there tomorrow and vote! I'm also excited that after tomorrow, no one should send me anymore of the political paperwork. We are drowning in the stuff. If we had a wood-burning fireplace, we'd have it made! Instead, it's off to the recycling bin we go. The TV adds, the online adds, the people walking down my neighborhood either knocking on doors or hanging stuff on my doorknobs. All of it should be stopping soon! This is the sign outside my door:


People mock me for it. Everyone has to comment on it. Why is it so blunt? What's the point? The point is this: as a stay-at-home-mom, I'm home more than most people. But I don't want to discuss viewpoints, religion, saving the waterways, politics, or anything else for that matter, with someone I don't know. The issues are valid, but catching me during my half-hour of "me time" during the day doesn't win you any points! I'm in no mood to discuss something I might be unfamiliar with. And everyone thinks they are an exception! The Jehovah's Witnesses thought that "No Soliciting" was just for door-to-door salesmen. The environmentalists (of which there are thousands in Colorado) thought my "No Soliciting" sign was just for political people, etc. So it includes everyone. The door-to-door political affiliated have actually been reading the sign. I may get stuff hung on my doorknob, but no one rings the doorbell. Thats' nice. And, while I'm getting out to vote tomorrow, I'm leaving the sign up. I am so glad the political trash will all stop! After tomorrow, no one will care about getting my vote, just that I voted.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Leaf Sliding

Add this to your list of fun things to do in Colorado in fall:









I'll be glad when the leaves are done falling. Our floors look terrible all covered with bits and pieces of dead leaves!




Saturday, November 01, 2008

NaBloPoMo? Oh No!!

Blog every day in the month of November? I've done it before, but this year is different. This is the year my sister is getting married, and the year we are traveling back out to California to be in that wedding on the 22nd. In the interest of finances (ours), we used our American Airline miles to get our tickets. There are no direct flights on AA from here to there, so we always have to connect. Usually we connect at LAX, but we couldn't get that this time, so we are connecting in Dallas. This doubles our flight time. We'll see if I can blog that day! Then there's the day before, the rehearsal dinner , the wedding day! Then there is the whole computer thing. It's a challenge to get to the computer in a house full of people. Brian will have his laptop, but without my parent's router password, we might be out of luck getting on the internet while at their house. I'm got enough to worry about on the flight, so I'm not bringing our laptop. Silly me, I know. But still...no.

So, we'll see. I'm sure I'll be able to blog daily while at home, in my element, for most of the month. But 30 days? This might just be the year I have to be vague and say.........maybe.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween 2008


According to the news, we are having the warmest Halloween in the last 54 years. Last year I was grateful that Brandon's costume consisted of decorated sweats so he wouldn't be too cold. This year I worried that his lined western shirt would be too warm. We braved the 70 degree weather (45 last year) to head out in Boulder. Both Brian and I have had a long, tiring week, and the thought of door-to-door trick-or-treating was a little too much. I met him at work, and we headed over to the Munchkin Masquerade at Pearl Street. The kids had fun getting their candy from the local businesses, and seeing all the other people in costume. There were a couple of cool costumes that I only later realized weren't costumes at all. It's Boulder. People are different. But the weird ones here aren't all that different from the weird ones in California. Probably why I wasn't all that surprised when I was hit by my realization!

For more of our adventures at the Munchkin Masquerade, click here:


In other Halloween related news, Brandon had his Nursery Rhyme Festival at school yesterday. Schools here are weird about Halloween. Last year several elementary schools didn't allow the students to even wear their costumes to school on Halloween. Mind you, these are public schools, and the Boulder valley isn't known for its conservative ways! Today all the Boulder Valley School District schools were closed for a teacher staff day.

So back to yesterday - Brandon's kindergarten class had a "Nursery Rhyme Festival". Each child got a little nursery rhyme, had to memorize it, and have a costume to go with it. Brandon's was "Diddle Diddle Dumpling, My Son John", which is about as obscure as you can get! He had no problem memorizing it, but finding an appropriate costume for his 20 seconds of glory was a little more challenging! I managed to find some black and white "stockings" (i.e., striped tights) at Hannah Anderson last week. Even though I had his height and weight from our earlier doctor's visit, the tights were several inches too long for him. He wore them with a pair of size 3 girls black knit pants (he didn't know they were girl pants), a long white shirt, and a stocking cap. He wore one shoe on, and left one shoe off, just as the rhyme says. I also let him take his blanky with him, to convey the sleepy time aspect of it all. When I got to school for his little shindig, he'd only put on the cap, and was carrying around his blanky. He looked like a little thug! Luckily his teacher let me dress him in his little outfit. When I asked him why he didn't change into his costume, he said because he didn't have to. Lovely.

The teacher had all the kids sit down on the rug, and called them up one by one to recite their poem. Imagine my surprise to learn that most of the kids had recognizable, easy rhymes! (Okay, Brandon's was easy, but made no sense). Even the gruesome rhymes, like "Ladybug Ladybug", where most of the ladybug kids die in a house fire, or "Rock-A-Bye Baby" were easier ones to make costumes for! I noticed that the girls all got cutesy ones, like "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" . Honestly, it would have been a lot easier to outfit "Baa Baa Black Sheep"! I ended up putting together two completely separate costumes, since Brandon's nursery rhyme outfit made little sense in the real world.

Brandon did manage to recite his poem in front of his class. The boisterous, loud child that I live with turned into a meek and quiet child on the stage. Still, he did it, and I am proud of him. And Caitlin, who has not learned the social behavior of being quiet during recitals, was happy to color with markers and paper at a table in the classroom. I think she felt like a big girl in school. She clapped vigorously after each recital, and was very excited to see Brandon, who was close to the last presenter. I was just as proud of her for behaving in public as I was of Brandon for getting in front of 30 parents and reciting a silly poem!

To see our Nursery Rhyme Festival pictures, check out our October pictures here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What I *Should* Be Learning

Today Brandon told me that he isn't learning anything in school. He was in a sad mood, having been scolded by me for leaving his things in the middle of the stairs. And it's in those sad little moods he talks the most. He proceeded to tell me that he hasn't been learning anything at school because he doesn't learn Bible stories in school. He learns them at MOPS, during my Bible study on Wednesdays, and at church, but not at school. Forget the reading he's doing, all the books he writes at school, the simple addition and subtraction. No, for Brandon it's all about Bible stories. We have read through 3 children's Bibles in the last year. Even I'm learning things. For example, I had no idea that there was a character named Barak in the Bible until we read stories about Deborah from the book of Judges. I talked to him about all the great things about school (now it not the time to talk about all the not-so-great stuff about school!). He was okay with it. Still, I was a little surprised that Brandon's idea of learning is learning the Bible. Solely. Exclusively. And he's sad that isn't taking place daily.

I struggle with all the things I should be doing. I should be teaching him Bible stories every day. I should be exercising, eating only the right things, be fashionable and cute at a moment's notice (especially at my age!), and be wonderful, educational and always thoughful with my kids. I should feed them properly - home cooking with no artificial additives or dyes. I should keep high fructose corn syrup out of my house. I should recycle, use only eco-friendly stuff. I should volunteer within an inch of my life with children at school and church. Within all that, I should be all things to all people at the drop of a hat! And while I don't disagree with any of this stuff, I think I have forgotten my focus. I need to focus on God. I need to teach my kids about God. I need to take care of myself and my kids (food -wise and otherwise) and not worry so much about the rest. Each group that I'm a part of is important, but not that important. The work I do there is a fraction of my bigger job. I believe we are made for community, but sometimes that community is hard to come by, and I am personally tired of trying to find it here. It's that kinds of thinking that perpetuated a cycle of hard work and burnout in my past that brought me to some introverted, bitter places in the last few years. And, my children really do need to know God's truth. There are a lot of personal truths out there, but I want them to learn the absolute, unchanging truths. The ones that aren't simple true for one person, but not another. God loves his people. There is only one way to God - through Christ. That anyone who loves God and accepts him as saviour is saved. Anyone.

I struggle with thoughts of putting my kids in good Christian schools. I think the education is highly valuable, but the cost might just put us in the poorhouse. Christ said, in not so many words, to be in the world, but not of it. But regardless, we are in this world until we die, and we need to understand how it works in order to survive. I'm afraid that if I raise my children in little bubble that they will lose that ability, or have it severely hampered. I am tired of how the conservative Christian world operates. Christ was in the the world - not in a bubble - and his influence is still seen around the world! And yet I'm still confused. I really hope that Brandon continues in his love for all things Biblical, but realized all he learns outside of the church as well.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Super Duper Sad

Brandon is currently sniffling around our house because I won't blow up the little pool outside so he can play with his relatively new remote controlled boat.
1 - Dude - it's 50 degrees outside! I know it's sunny, but it's not warm!
2 - The pool is packed
3 - Blowing up the pool causes Mommy to feel like she's hyperventilating
4 - I'm not hanging out in in our shade-laden back yard (see #1)
5 - Your boat is enormous! It needs a lake - not a blow up baby pool
6 - Any water left outside will be frozen tomorrow. Our garbage and recycling bins were covered in ice this morning!

So now he's sniffling. Wandering dejectedly around our house. Saying he's "Super Duper sad" that I won't blow up the pool.

Seriously - is 3:45 in the afternoon to early for a glass of wine?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What Happens When...

What Happens When..........


You remember just in time (!) to turn off the water in the bathtub
Your husband goes out of town and your child can't sleep (that's my bed, by the way)

You let your 2-year-old eat chocolate popsicles

You think that people might wonder if your kids had a mother, since there are no pictures of you in the photo album........

You try to take a picture of yourself (alone) using the self-time, with a 5-year-old camera hog in the house










Sunday, October 19, 2008

Just a little creepy

Elmo's eye fell off....




Glad I discovered this during the day. It might have been too disturbing during the night!

Just so you know, Elmo's recovering well from his gluing. He's taking the day off.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

It's Fall, People!

Fall has definitely arrived in Colorado! This is the pretty time, when the leaves are turning, but there is still color around. In (northern) California, my favorite season is winter. It's so nice a green, and the air is crisp. Here I think my favorite season is fall, as winter is bleak and brown.

Brandon has wanted to play out in the front these last few days. I started raking leaves, and the kids joined in with me using their little rakes. We created a nice pile, which Brandon promptly jumped into.


For more pictures of leaves in our front yard, click on the slideshow below.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Brandon Update - Age 5

Took Brandon in for his 5 year checkup today. He's 43 inches tall, and weighs in at 38 pounds. He's in the 50th percentile for height and the 40th for weight. This may well be the highest percentile he's ever achieved in weight since his birth! At 8 pounds, 5 ounces, he was a pretty good sized baby! He's still my skinny boy (and with Mervyn's closing its doors after the holidays, I have absolutely no idea where I'll find pants that fit him!). He walks, talks, reads and writes. He seems to like kindergarten, although he has asked why he has to go everyday. He likes the intellectual stimulus, but still yearns for the social aspect that is missing in his less-than-three-hour days. I do think that's progressing, but not as quickly as either one of us would like. I think he's completely use to living here now, but he still talks about California. The talk is up lately due to our quick visit there earlier this month. He gets smarter and smarter with each passing day. We love him deeply, and are so happy he's our little boy.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"A Book About Me"

Without any prompting, Brandon wrote a book for me and Brian the other day. He folded and glued two pieced of paper together so it even opens like a book. He was so proud (still is!). It's so cute that I thought I'd share it with you. Musings from the mind of a 5 year old. It is written in pencil, so you'll need to click on each picture and expand it in order to see it better.




That last page? Looks like "deno"? Says "D End". We're still working on the pronunciation of the word "The", and obviously still working on spelling! :-)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Back to Square 2

I'd say we were back to square 1, but really, we've been here too long for that. We were all sitting home the other afternoon, and I realized that we're back to square 2 as far as community or connections are concerned. We aren't completely alone, but yet aren't completely connected either. We've managed to make a few acquaintances, but the few budding friends, the ones we did things with, have moved on. Some to different states, some to different towns, and some to different schedules. It really is hard to be alone all the time. We are happy together, doing things and getting out. But essentially, we are alone as a family. Our weeks and weekends focus on us, which can be both good and bad. I miss being able to talk to a friend - to have real conversations. That will all come in time. But for now we will sit on square two, until God finds it in his will to move us down this boardgame.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Things Retrieved from the Diaper Champ

Things just retrieved from the diaper champ (amongst diapers and Kleenex):

6 hot wheels
2 almost gone tubes of Un-petroleum Jelly
1 necklace
1 tube of lanolin
kids nail clippers
2 random small toys
1 wind-up flashlight

Things sitting on a towel on my sink, after getting washed:
see list above

Thanks, Caitlin.

Friday, October 10, 2008

New Beds!!!

The delivery truck arrived at 8:00 am this morning. Brandon was already awake. Caitlin wasn't too happy about the intrusion. But they have new beds. Assembled, ready to go, and even made (it was a busy morning). It was quite an adventure trying to figure out how to get Caitlin's stuff back in the small room and still keep the rocking chair in there. Caitlin is very happy about her big girl bed. I'm happy that they are platform beds that only need one mattress, and that they have drawers! You never know when you'll have to go back to small space living, so good storage is necessary!

Brandon, sleeping on the mattress on the floor (his old bed needed to be disassembled and moved from his room last night)


Caitlin refused to sleep on her new mattress, and went for the toddler bed instead


napping in her new bed!


Brandon's room