Sunday, March 30, 2008

Brandon and Emily

I just got some pictures from Scott. Looks like Brandon and Emily had a lot of fun playing together on Saturday! It also looks like Brandon's caught up to Emily in height. Wish I could have been there....

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Ode to a Blankey

Caitlin's blankey had to go back to California with Brian and Brandon this weekend. She keeps biting it, and it fractured and started to fray badly last week while in Santa Fe. Who can blame the poor thing? I don't know why the girl feels the need to bite and chew on fabric, but her blankey, coat hood, stuffed Elmo and favorite stuffed koala bear have all endured the war. Even my shirts have suffered a few cuts and bruises along the way. Caitlin has been made well aware of the fact that I feel pain, and has finally stopped biting my shoulders.

I wish could say that she doesn't miss her blankey, but I'd be lying. Her favorite question for the last two days is "Where's my old blankey?" I've stopped answering it, instead asking her, "I don't know? Where is your blankey?" The answers I get range from "California" and "Aunt Jackie or Nana fix it" (since I possess absolutely no natural or learned talent for knitting, or the ability to fix frayed knit blankets) to "no more biting blankey" and "makes me sad blankey gone on plane" (Caitlin's been expressing her feelings for a while with sentences starting with "makes me sad" or "makes me happy"). Luckily, Donna gave me a few of Brian's babyhood blankets, two of which are knit (or crocheted). I've told Caitlin that Daddy left his blankey and took hers on the plane back to California so it could be fixed. She cried profusely yesterday and did not nap because her blankey was gone, but today has accepted that fact and moved on to the fact that Daddy left her a nice blanket as a substitute.

Although I have endured many blankey questions over the last two days, and expect more tomorrow, I hope she has learned her lesson. Biting blankey is not acceptable! What odd lessons we have to learn!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Santa Fe Pics

I put up our pictures of Santa Fe. I took less than I thought. Here's the small slideshow. If you click on it you'll be taken to the bigger slideshow:

He Thinks I'm Cute. How About That?

I got a message from some guy on MySpace today. I get weird messages there, but usually from other mothers who are "motivated moms" (it's some sort of group). I find that odd. Maybe they're just looking to increase their "friends" list. This guy, who has sent me messages before, told me this time that he likes my picture and thinks I'm cute. Honestly, I laughed out loud. He has no idea the last time anyone whistled at me in public was when I was a nursing mother sporting a Dolly Parton-esque chest. Or that the highlight of my day today was buying shoes for my kids at the StrideRite outlet store down in Golden. Or that my two year old daughter is currently refusing to nap and crying profusely because her blankey had to go to California for knitting repairs (her fault. I keep telling her not to bite her blankey). But he thinks I'm cute. How about that? Thanks, Mr. Hotel Operator guy in Boulder. That made my day. But I don't think we're made for each other. I'm going to keep ignoring you. And, I'm happily taken.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Greetings From Santa Fe

Greetings from Santa Fe, New Mexico. We took off yesterday for our six hour road trip (not including breaks) to get away for a few days. It was a little strange driving on Easter Sunday instead of going to church. I felt a little pagan, since Easter is one of the Sundays that random people feel compelled to go to church, and here I was sitting in a car! One less car in the parking lot, I guess.

Santa Fe is not a big town. It only has about 72,000 residents. And it's not like there are neighboring towns to add to the population! It's pretty remote. And yet it has a Trader Joe's, and Mervyn's. Both of which we will be stopping at! Never thought I'd miss Mervyn's, but it's about the only place I can get pants for Brandon! Back to Santa Fe.....

It's higher than Boulder by about 2,000 feet. Although we knew that, neither Brian or I gave it any thought. It's pretty rare that we travel to places higher than the place we live. So neither one of us was expecting out toothpaste, lotion, etc., to spurt out on us when we opened them last night! Surprise! That always happens to me on planes, usually with salad dressing (back in the days of airplane meals), which is why I never wear white on long trips! Being at 7,000 feet hasn't affected any of us yet. I guess we're use to living over a mile above sea level now!

In 1912 the government of Santa Fe declared that all buildings should be built in the Spanish Pueblo Revival look. According to Wikipedia "Pueblo style architecture seeks to imitate the appearance of traditional adobe construction, though more modern materials such as brick or concrete are often substituted. If adobe is not used, rounded corners, irregular parapets, and thick, battered walls are used to simulate it. Walls are usually stuccoed and painted in earth tones. Multistory buildings usually employ stepped massing similar to that seen at Taos Pueblo. Roofs are always flat. A common feature is the use of projecting wooden roof beams (vigas), which often serve no structural purpose." In other words, everything is square, flat roofed, and painted in various Terracotta oranges. Houses, malls, churches, gyms... everything. I feel like I've walked into the southwestern edition of Sunset Magazine. It's cool, but a little bit strange. I remember that buildings in Paris weren't allowed to be over four-stories tall for a very long time. The effect, like in Santa Fe, was a little odd, but cool, and something you could easily get use to. The result here is that all the houses look like the surrounding dirt and twigs, you can't see them due to the flat roofs, and condo complexes all look a little strange...

Even the condo we're staying in is dirt colored, flat, and adobe.

I'm sure we'll have lots to do here over the next few days. If nothing else, we've managed to get away from our house and daily lives and do something different. I'll take some pictures, and post them when we get home. We are going to see downtown, a museum, a few other places, and stop in Taos on our way home. But not until later. Tonight we're staying in. And resting.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Entering Phase #712

Woke up this morning to 5 inches of snow. It started snowing yesterday afternoon around 4:30, and just kept snowing all night. I stumbled downstairs at 6:00 to watch the news, after waking up to Brian's radio, which he forgot to turn off yesterday morning before he left (talk about waking up confused! I had no idea where the sound was coming from!). I wanted to watch the local stations to see if the schools were closed or not. I didn't expect the schools to be closed, but you never know. The weather reports kept touting this storm as a heavy one. I guess they got a blizzard here 5 years ago, on St. Patrick's Day, and no one's managed to shake the memories of that day yet. Today was no blizzard. It wasn't that cold last night, so the snow didn't stick to the roads or sidewalks. This is the most snow we've had overnight with the least amount of trouble on the roadways. We had far less a couple of weeks ago, but the cold weather made the snow stick, and there was a lot more black ice on the roads. I didn't take me any longer to get to Brandon's preschool this morning than any other morning, which was nice.

It has been an interesting last few weeks here with Brandon. He's given up napping, which isn't such a great thing. It would be okay if he could handle the day, but he can't. By late afternoon he's grouchy and whiny, which is never fun. It's even less fun when Brian's out of town on business and I know there is no one else to be with at the end of the day. Caitlin still naps for about 3 hours each afternoon, but Brandon just "rests" for about an hour in his room. I haven't quite figured out what to do with him. He wants to be with me, and be entertained by me. He just doesn't get that I have stuff to do, and precious little time to do it. Does any 4 year old get that? I don't want him watching TV or videos during that time, so he gets to rest in his room. I've found that his not napping is wearing me down. I have so little time to do all the things that need to be done, and then his grouchy attitude gives me a grouchy attitude. I know, I know... my emotions shouldn't rule me. But that's a hard call when you're tired and haven't completed the basic tasks of the day. My house is a disaster, dinner isn't in the oven, and the bills are late. By evening my brain feels just as run down as my body does, and it feels like I can't cope anymore. At some point I'd like to sleep well at night, but I haven't been able to do that since we moved here. I'm so tired! I'm sure this will all morph into something else as Brandon gets older, but it never feels like a phase when you're right in the middle of it. Between Caitlin's lovely temper tantrums (her entering the "terrible twos" will be another post), and Brandon's afternoon whinefest, I'm falling apart. My mornings are fun, but afternoons are wicked! I'm so happy for bedtime I could sing! (and seriously, I can't sing).

Any suggestions?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Woo Hoo! Time Alone!

I really don' t have anything specific to write about. But Brandon is over at a friend's house for another hour, and Caitlin is napping. Brian's on a business trip for the week, so this just might be the only free time I get for a while (well, free time when I'm not exhausted, which is after the kids are in bed in the evenings). I'm so giddy with excitement that I had to share it with you all! That, and I managed a 15 point, 3 letter word on my Facebook game of Scrabble with Brian. I'm not great at Scrabble, so that was a wonderful word! How did I do it, you ask? See above. I can actually think when I'm alone.

Now I'm off to pick up the toys in the backyard. We are suppose to get 5 to 10 inches of snow overnight, so I'd like things to be put away before that. Our backyard gets very little sun and the highs this week are suppose to be around 30. It may be a while before we see those toys again if they stay out.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Family Photos

We had family photos taken about a month ago. Some people manage to do this all the time. Their walls are adorned with pictures of their cute families. Me? .... I'm pretty happy if I can get our clan out every few years! I was about a month pregnant in our last family photo, which now seems incomplete without Caitlin.

Due to our severe lack of matching clothing (Brian doesn't have any graphic bulldozer t-shirts from Old Navy, and my jeans aren't embroidered with flowers and other cutsie things), I dressed us all in white shirts with jeans and we headed out to Sears. My objective was for us to stay clean, and to get some nice pictures. I even brought extra white shirts for the kids in case they couldn't stay clean between leaving the house and arriving at the mall. In a ziploc baggie. Just in case I couldn't keep them clean! Although we had an appointment and arrived on time, we still had to wait almost 45 minutes before our session started. Keeping two kids entertained for that long in a place as boring as a photo studio, without food (white shirts, remember?) was hard. Even with two adults. I understand that studios operate on "baby time", but the only babies there were mine!

Luckily, we had a great photographer. She was trapped in the 70's, with long feathered hair and big glasses, but she was fun and made the kids laugh. Caitlin really liked her and kept showing off, which wasn't always fun for me. After half an hour the kids were just done with picture time. Caitlin kept trying to leave with the studio toys. It was past our lunch time anyway, and the kids knew they were going to Chick-Fil-A and then to the mall play area. We even got a few compliments in Chick-Fil-A about how cute the kids looked! Strangely enough, even after my obsession with keeping our white shirts white for the pictures, no one got anything on their shirts - which is no small feat considering we were surrounded by barbecue sauce and ketchup during lunch!

Click here to see our pictures. If you look closely, you can see Caitlin's very uneven bangs in the last picture! And no, I didn't cut her hair. I actually paid someone to do such a professional job.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Tired of Trying to be "Fixed"

I joined a women's Bible study at our church last September. I've always enjoyed Bible studies, and wanted to get more involved at our church. It has been tough finding community since we moved. I feel like a fish out of water here, and I hoped that joining studies and/or groups would help with the involvement factor. Plus, it's better than staying home alone all the time. My study is a book called "Lies Women Believe." I highly don't recommend it. I am having serious issues with the study and some members of the group. But, after much prayer, I feel like I should stick it out. Sadly, I am very much that kind of person. I'm not sure it's my finest quality.

Anyway, Wednesday, mostly in the morning, is my hardest day of the week. Getting two kids out of the house can be harder than it sounds! I get up early in order to get the kids up early in order to get out the door by 8:00 so Brandon can get to preschool between 8:15 and 8:30. We do this Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Wednesdays there's the added challenge of getting to school by 8:15 on the dot, not, say 8:20, because they have chapel at 8:30. It's nice for Brandon to have a few minutes of free time to play with his buddies before lining up and leaving the classroom. I also make lunch for him and Caitlin, and bring a snack for me on Wednesdays. It takes me 30-45 minutes in heavy traffic to get to the church from the preschool, and not quite as long to do the reverse. Brandon stays for lunch until 12:30. Caitlin eats in the car, and I munch on a snack while driving. Safe, I know. All in all, Caitlin and I spend almost 2 hours in the car before 1:00 pm on Wednesdays, provided there are no adverse weather conditions. It snowed a few inches overnight, so driving was atrocious this morning, and took me way longer than usual to get to Boulder for my group. I did think about not going, but it felt like I was making excuses. After close to an hour in the car, on a muddy wet road, behind an aluminum siding truck and a pickup full of snow blowing out of the bed (which is sort of like driving in a blizzard, but only for me), and trying to quiet a screaming toddler who was done sitting in her car seat, I finally arrive at church. What a relief! I checked Caitlin into her class and headed down to the meeting room for some much needed worship and coffee.

After worship and such we headed off into our individual groups. The leader wanted to go around the group and see how things were going. I've been getting sick a lot in the last few months, so better health has been my off-and-on prayer request for a while. Last week one of the leaders, who wasn't there today, said I should write down all my anger issues to find out what was making me sick. I should start to manage it. How is it going?

Excuse me? Anger issues?

I thought I was fighting off the common cold. True, I have not been fully well since we moved here, but it's been a heck of a year! Two moves in two states, and three houses! All in less than 6 months. No friends, no family, and everything new. Having to learn all sorts of things, like grocery store layouts and state laws, all over again from the ground up. I haven't slept well for months! I'm so tired during the day that there are times I can barely keep my eyes open. My immune system is stable about 85-90% of normal, and my body doesn't handle extended stress very well. This alone may explain some of what I've been going through. Then there's the fact that I have a child in preschool. He's healthy as an ox, but  he brings home germs and I'm getting all the colds! We've been stuck inside for good chunks of the winter, which is strange for us, and that just seems to exacerbate the illness situation. It's not cold enough here to kill the germs during winter, but it's too cold to go outside. Everyone's stuck inside together. As a result, all the kids seem sicker here than they did in California, and then I get sick. But anger?

Yes - I do get mad sometimes, no doubt. Some days I have short fuse. Combine that with being home alone most days with little kids, and I can get upset. But I don't have anger issues. On top of it all, I have a crappy immune system. There are days and weeks that I hurt all over. I catch more colds than most people, and my recovery period takes longer, especially in the winter. That's my life. I've gotten use to it over the last 20 years.

Today, during our table discussion, leader #2, who wasn't even there last week (ironically, because she was sick, as well as both her kids), wanted us to go around the table again (after our initial round) to talk about keeping our emotions in check. That was the gist of the latest chapter in our study. She looked me right in the face and told me that my anger can make me sick. Really?  What a concept! Maybe it is what's making me sick now, because now I'm starting to get angry! It's been a rough week. Brandon has been experimenting with dropping his nap, and Caitlin is teething. It's been a whine-fest! I'm starting to crack down on the mouthiness of the boy, and all the name calling. He's mad at me because he keeps getting time-outs, and the occasional spanking. But I don't think that makes me congested, or have a coughing fit. I don't think that giving Brandon a time-out makes me want to throw up. The whining and crying do make me tense and irritable, but any mother in the same situation would say the same thing. Another mother in the group, who has kids about the same age and hangs out with me and my kids, said she thinks we're doing just fine. Her kids also wear on her patience, and yet the leaders don't tell her she's angry. They just feel bad for her because her baby doesn't sleep. When my child doesn't sleep, it's because of me and my anger. Or my depression. Or my bad diet (they have no idea what I eat! Why make comments?). Or I didn't pray hard enough. I'm so tired of this!

Do I have anger issues? No. Patience issues - sure. But not anger.  Not with my children. I have figured out what is making me angry now, though. Assumptions about me made by people who don't know me or my situation. And the fact that they feel the need to say something (usually something unhelpful) about it to help "fix" me. It makes me realize all the dumb things I've said because of stupid assumptions about other people's lives. I am sorry, and will try not to do that again! I cannot wait for this study to be over in a few weeks! Next time I will be careful to choose a study in which the leaders do not feel the need to quickly delve so personally into the lives of those they've never met before.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Signs of Spring

We've had snow on the ground since the day before Thanksgiving. There might have been a day or two in there somewhere when the snow in our backyard was completely melted, but I can't remember. I've enjoyed the weather, but I have missed the ability to go outside (read - take the kids outside) on a daily basis. It's either been too cold (no one wants to run around when it's 23 degrees and cloudy), windy, or snowing. But yesterday.... yesterday was nice. It hit 69 degrees!

We've been seeing signs of spring all week now. Some unknown bulb flowers are popping up in our front yard. It's been almost warm enough to wear a t-shirt (almost). The bunnies that run amok here in Colorado have been back. I'm sure we won't be on good terms when they start eating my flowers, but right now I still think they're cute. It will be nice to see things growing again. Green. Trees with leaves. Grass. Flowers. It is so brown and dreary here. Seriously, it only looks nice when it snows!

We walked down to the the park yesterday for a little fun in the sun. The breeze was small, and there were other kids there. Brandon and Caitlin got to swing, slide, and run around and play. Caitlin, of course, just wanted to swing. I'm not sure what it is about Caitlin and swings, but she'd be happy just swinging at the park for an hour. I was in my t-shirt and capris. Amazingly, I felt hot. It was as if I might break out in a sweat at any time. Imaging that! A sweat! In March. When I was just sitting there.

This picture makes the park looks deserted, but there were quite a few people there today!

Then, today came. 5 inches of snow. Here's the view from our dining room this morning:

It warmed up today to 30 degrees. The wind was bitter cold. I wore my heavy wool jacket. Bye bye spring. It was nice to know you might be here soon.....