Thursday, May 29, 2008

Singing for One

Caitlin asked me to sing to her today. Then proceeded to cover her ears with her hands. Exactly how am I suppose to feel about that? I know I'm not a great singer, but she did ask. And, she's only 2!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"I Love Farts!"

That was what Brandon told me as he headed up the stairs to brush his teeth. Not quite the endearing words I usually hope to hear as he heads off to bed. But it does confirm my suspicions.... I have a boy!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"My Tummy Hurts!"

Caitlin woke up around 12:30 in the morning whining, complaining of an upset tummy, and eventually throwing up all her dinner. According to Brian, my first response was to sit up on the side of the bed, while still asleep, and tell her everything was going to be okay. I have no recollection of that! Brian and I took turns getting up with her until 4:00 am (although he's a faster riser, so he was up more than me). We even tried bringing her into our bed for a while to see if she'd sleep, but she didn't. When we moved back to her room, she threw up all over me. Fun. But it's easier to change my nightgown at 3:00 am than the whole bed. Mercifully, Caitlin slept from 4:00 am to 6:30, when we were again woken up to the sound of more whining and the sentence we've heard about 50 times, "My tummy hurts.....!" Caitlin was awake from 6:30 to about 9:30, and is now sleeping soundly in her crib. I've managed to shower and do two loads of laundry, but really only because I decided to let Brandon watch all 2 hours of "Cars" (he just told me that he's never watched this much of "Cars" before(!!)). He has, but it was a long time ago, when he was the sick kid, instead of being the other kid who is trapped in the house because of the sick one. But seriously, why edit the TV watching today? We can't go anywhere, and the forecast for today is 50 degrees and raining. Right now it's 45, which is not far from yesterday's high. Seeing as I am relegated to wearing flip-flops for at least another week or so, I don't think we'll be outside today.

And, on top of it all, I am tired. I'm sure Brian is as well. For one reason or another, I haven't managed to get more than 4-5 hours of sleep each of the last three nights. In my sleepy state, I managed to continually step incorrectly on my left foot, which is the one with the broken toe, so my toe is just throbbing today, even after taking ibuprofen and applying arnica. Could also be because I had to go shopping yesterday, since we were running low on food. At least I don't have to go out today!

I should really go make some pesto and hydrate some sun-dried tomatoes. I have a few freezer meals to make today, and it's best to do them when only one child is awake!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Guess what I did the other day? Broke my toe. My little toe. On my left foot. It's a lovely shade of black and blue, and taped to the next toe. I'm not even sure how it happened, either. It was Tuesday evening. I know it involved standing up too fast to see what fun thing Brandon had created out of the dirt in our flowerless flowerbed in the front yard, and coming in contact with some flagstone. Then there was an immense amount of pain, which is till there, and bruising began. I had to run (read: limp) to the store in the morning after dropping Brandon off at preschool to buy some flip-flops because I don't actually own any. I decided to get a cute pair, black with sequins and a slight heel, since I'll probably be wearing these for a few weeks. Good thing it's summer, huh? Unfortunately, the strap on the flip flops is irritating me on my right foot. Why? Because last month I slipped down the stairs and sprained my right foot. And it's still swollen! And I'm out of Arnica! It's nuts. I'm walking good these days!

I keep getting advice from nurses and doctors that I know on a social level to try and stay off my feet. It's good advice, but not really practical when attempting to do your best single-mother impersonation while your husband is overseas on business travel. The kids are no help. It's as if my sprained foot and broken little toe scream out in voices only small children can hear, "Hurt me! Step on me! Kick me! Please, please, please inflict pain!" I might heal if I could avoid getting stepped on all the time. I've given up, though.

We're finally not under a tornado watch. One touched down about 50 miles from here this afternoon. We, on the other hand, only suffered from a torrential downpour of rain and pea-sized hair hail for about an hour. Unfortunately it was a hour we decided to spend at a local park, so we were drenched and pummeled, but unhurt. The kids cried on the way to the car in the hail. I'm learning to limp fast! The girlies and I packed up our kids and headed over to our house for lunch. Nothing like 5 kids running around the house. They did play quite well together, and we were able to sit and talk a while. Guess it was a good thing after all!

Four Things

I've been tagged by my friend Martha. So here goes:

A) Four places that I go to over and over:
1. the grocery store
2. Brandon’s preschool
3. Chick-Fil-a
4. Brandon’s room

B) Four people who regularly e-mail me:
1. Brian
2. Mom
3. Dad
4. Anni

C) Four favorite places to eat:
1. Chick-Fil-A
2. Chili’s
3. Pho (any good place will do)
4. Old Santa Fe Grill

D) Four places I would rather be right now:
1. California
2. Sweden
3. Hawaii
4. Singapore

E) Four TV shows I watch all the time:
1. The Morning News
2. Lost
3. House Hunters International
4. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

F) Four books I'd read again:
1. The Poisonwood Bible
2. Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself
3. Angela’s Ashes
4. The Bridesmaid

G) 4 Places You’ve Traveled to:
1. England
2. Sweden
3. Hawaii
4. Alaska

H) Your 4 favorite cereals:
(I don’t eat cereal for breakfast. Just as a snack sometimes)
1. Cheerios
2. Granola
3. Cinnamon Toast Crunch
4. Life

I) Four favorite hobbies:
1. Scrap booking
2. Walking (when I can)
3. Shopping for bargains
4. Time with friends (includes catching up on friend's blogs)

J) (Amy's added question) Four favorite movies:
1. The Commitments
2. Ballroom Dancing
3. Raiders of the Lost Ark
4. Close Encounters of the Third Kind

K) (Sarah's added question) Four famous people (dead or alive) you would invite to dinner
1. Jesus (although I'd probably just sit and stare at him)
2. Angelina Jolie
3. Miep Gies
4. Laura Ingalls Wilder

L) (Martha’s added question) Four favorite foods
1. Nuts!
2. wheat thins
3. Persian cuisine
4. barbecued pork spare ribs

M) (My added question) Four popular shows that I don't have any desire to watch:
1. Desperate Housewives
2. Law and Order
3. American Idol
4. CSI (seen once) any cop or lawyer dramas.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Pre-K Day at the Park

Preschool is almost over. Just two more days. Brandon almost had a breakdown today about that. Doesn't help that 2 of his 3 bestest buddies at school are moving (one instate, but an hour away, and one back to Pennsylvania). Luckily, I was able to distract him.

Today the two pre-k classes, and the preschool class headed down the street to the local park for much merriment. It's really amazing how slowly a bunch of 4 and 5 year old kids can walk! I wasn't thinking, and didn't bring the stroller for Caitlin, so I carried her the whole way there and the whole way back. I think my arms are going to hurt tomorrow. It was only two blocks, but it was two loooong blocks. Probably a quarter of a mile. Not so much fun to carry a 24 pound child that far without a break. My sprained foot started to hurt, but nothing I couldn't handle. I was able to fit into regular walking shoes today. Woo-hoo!

Click on the slideshow to see the album and view the pictures in larger formats.

After playing at the park, the kids had popsicles before heading home. Probably due to the fact there was no water fountain at the park. Some of the moms had real issues with that, but we weren't there for very long. Plus, I came prepared, so that thought didn't really enter my brain at all. Caitlin got her very first popsicle at the park, and she loved it. I was helping to pass out popsicles, so I didn't see her wolf it down. However, I did hear the crying when she was done. She was crying so hard that I thought she'd dropped her popsicle, so I hunted around to see if I could find it. The other mom who was keeping an eye on her said that she did, in fact, eat the whole thing. I guess she was hungrier than I thought! She went nuts for the slushies that the kids had back at the school. She was covered head to toe in pink goo. Her skin was even temporarily dyed underneath her clothes from the slushy! Good thing it all came off in the bath!

Brandon kept telling me all the way home how much fun he had. I'm glad.

Two Kids, One Room

Last month the kids wanted to sleep in the same room. Brandon thinks that sleeping in the same room is just the best thing ever. I'm not opposed to it, although the mornings are a lot easier with them in separate rooms, since Brandon has to wake up earlier than Caitlin on school days, and Caitlin naturally wakes up earlier than Brandon on other days. Nights can be easier, since they always have the same bedtime when I'm home alone. Teeth are brushed and stories read together. However, they tend to keep each other awake giggling. Not so much fun for me.

The last few days Brandon has been whining that he wanted Caitlin to sleep in his room. This is the same boy who always wants to go over to friends houses to play, and invites just about everyone to our house. Good thing we like having people over!

Here's a picture from Caitlin's room in April:

Doesn't Brandon look cute when he's asleep?

And here are the latest pics from this week - Brandon's room:

Tuesday, May 13, 2008



It really shouldn't be so amazing to me that my boy took a shower today. After all, he hadn't bathed since Sunday. What was so amazing about this was ..... (ready....) BRANDON TOOK A SHOWER!!!! This is a first. He took his first shower a couple of months back, after swimming in the pool at the rec center. They have the wall-mounted foaming soap dispenser there, which, as we all know but don't admit, makes everything about taking a shower even better. And that was a first for us. I thought that might be the end of it, but he requested (yes, requested) to take a shower last time we were at the rec center. I'm still not sure why he wanted to take a shower, but being upstaged by his little (and more daring) sister might have had something to do with it.

Tonight Brandon came up to me and told me he wanted to put his pajamas on by himself tonight so he could go fast. Playing Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii with Daddy has become a fun pre-bedtime activity for the kids, and has increased the speed with which we get into our PJs. I reminded him that it was bath night, but if he wanted to take a shower he would be able to play the game sooner.

And he agreed!

Of course, the downside about having a kid who is still a bit apprehensive about showering is that I have to wash him down. There was much water on me and all over the bathroom to be cleaned up after this little escapade. At the rec center I am there in the shower with him ('cause who cares about getting wet when you're in your bathing suit, already wet and smelling like chlorine?). Today was an outside (the shower curtain) job. But still, he got in! I didn't drag him. After 4 1/2 years I've finally managed to convince him that showering is not scary. Now I no longer have to be jealous of my friend's kids who shower while mine was confined to the bath.

Caitlin, sharing the joy of Brandon's shower, inadvertently kept this picture at a PG rating. She joined him in the shower a few minutes later.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Issues With CSI

I have a love/hate relationship with the show "Forensic Files." (I use to stay up way late back in 1998, when I first got cable, to watch "Medical Detectives" (now known as "Forensic Files") and Vh1's "Behind the Music". TMI, I know). Anyway, I find the forensic investigation fascinating, but hate the fact that something bad has to happen to someone in order for an investigation to start. I've heard that the field of forensic science has been booming at universities across the U.S., with women comprising most of the student body. I wonder if most of these students know how long it takes to solve most crimes based on forensic evidence prior to enrolling in the classes? One can only hope.

I watched CSI the other day. Wow. That was bad. I think I've seen a snippet of it here and there, and thought the same thing. But, wow, it was really, really bad. I keep thinking that it was going to get better. It has to! After all, this episode had Rachael Harris and Katey Sagal. It had to be good, right? But no, it just kept getting worse and worse. How is this show popular? It wasn't a drama. It certainly wasn't funny. The dialogue left a lot to be desired. And the very quick working fingerprint database....? Loved how that worked. But hey, Marg Helgenberger has never looked better. She's improved a lot since "China Beach." I'm sure I'm going to be insulting several friends who just love the show. But, hey, everyone's different! I've been known to love shows that the rest of the world thought were just weird ("X-Files", anyone? "That 70's Show"? Love "The Office," "Scrubs", "Lost," and back episodes of "Good Eats"). I'm a cable girl at heart, and watch very little on network TV). Luckily, my husband and I share the same warped sense of humor, and enjoy similar shows on TV. Maybe it's just me. Maybe it's the show. But I've been wondering for days how CSI enjoys any popularity at all, and how on earth it has managed to spawn not one, but two spin-offs? It's been days since I watched the episode, and the mediocrity still haunts me. What I'm wondering now is..... Why is this even taxing my brain at all?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

One Year in Colorado

One year in Colorado, and what have I learned...

*four seasons! Yeah! A real winter!
*affordable housing
*great schools for my kids
*clean air
*Pretty scenery - love having the mountains as a backdrop (even if I'm not nearly as impressed with them as those from the Midwest)
*great skies ... so much nicer than California
*summer rain
*big, fluffy clouds
*Super Target

*far, far away from friends and family
*people are different here, and any sense of community is hard to come by
*four seasons. Hot summers and cold winters do get old after a while
*the whole snow/thaw cycle in 24 hours
*driving. everywhere. (next place will be more central)
*grocery tax
*lack of Trader Joe's (although the opening of a Sunflower Farmers Markets in Boulder has made things a little easier)
*Safeway - I swear it's more expensive here than in California (and it wasn't cheap there, either!)
*no beach
*lack of trees (yes, I know, it's the gateway to the Great Plains. But I still miss trees)
*lack of rain
*fewer people

I am trying to bloom where I'm planted. I'm trying not to dream of moving back to a state we can't afford (after all, I was one half of the couple that chose to move here!). I'm not pining for California, but still, it's hard. I wish I could say that, a year out, I love living here, but I don't. Really, I feel like I'm merely existing most of the time. Daily life can feel like trudging through mud sometimes. There is not rootedness in my feelings. I'm free falling, and I don't know where the ground is. I didn't anticipate these feelings. I've always considered myself adaptable. No longer.

I have learned things about myself, too. I like hearing an electric guitar at church. I highly value friendships, although I don't think I let people in on that. I've learned that I complain a lot. Most of all, I've learned that I must not be an easily likable person. I knew that before, but it smarts to think about it. When looking at the age of my children, I have learned that I am a very old mom in these parts. I didn't meet my husband when I was 20. I didn't get married at 22. And I didn't start having kids at 25. I went to college, had a career for many years, got married at the ripe old age of 29, and didn't have children for (**gasp!**) almost 5 years! So many of the young couples around here have kids about a year after their wedding date. In many ways I cannot relate to so many people I meet here, and they don't relate to me. Intellectually I know that it's not the age that matters, but it is often the easiest thing to focus on. Many of my friends back home were younger than me, many were older, and not all of us had careers prior to getting married. But again, people are different here. There are days that the loneliness is palpable. It is nice that most of the other mothers I meet here are not pining for their pre-child life, and that they are not all clamoring to return to work anytime soon. Working outside the home is fine and good, but I don't want to do it at this stage in my children's life, and I am rarely ready for my friends to do it either. I've noticed that my friendships suffer when that happens, as the time of the other mom is stretched so tight. Still, I don't know what they all do to make friends! Or if they exist outside of their children.

Connections and a sense of community have been the absolute biggest struggle for me, and I'm ready to throw in the towel. God has sent new friends in the past to fill the gaps left when other friends moved away. Now I am the one who moved, and there is no gap. There is just a huge, huge hole that has yet to be filled. I'm sure I'm not trusting God enough in this area. In fact, I know I'm not. There is no excuse, as a believer, but I will say that trust is hard. I have been able to make friends far too easily in the past. Why I can't do it now is strange, but it's the truth. I feel alone.

This is where I'm at. One year out. In Colorado.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

After the Thud

I heard a loud thud from upstairs yesterday afternoon. I jogged up the stairs, only to hear nothing from my bedroom (where both kids wanted to nap). No whining, no crying. It was strange. But, since nap time wasn't technically over (for my own sanity, it doesn't officially end until 4:00 pm), and since I didn't hear anything from the room, I didn't go in to check. However, at 4:00, this is what I found:

Here's the long view:

He's never even fallen out of his own bed! And, I'm amazed that not only did Brandon not wake up, but he didn't wake up his light-sleeping sister sleeping only a few feet away.

This Time Last Year

What were we doing this time last year? At almost exactly this time, pacific time, an extremely huge moving truck was rolling into our street to pack up and haul away the contents of our house. Everything, that is, except the stuff we needed for the next week (while all our worldly possessions were in transit), and one lamp, which the movers thought we wanted to keep out. Where they got that idea I'll never know.

I don't remember a lot from that day. My dear friend and neighbor Chris had the kids for most of the day, and another friend Wendy joined in to help her out in the morning. It was hot, and I was exhausted from packing until 2:00 in the morning and getting up before 7:00. Around midnight we noticed we were running out of boxes, so I started driving around to local business and looking in their cardboard recycle bins. You'd be surprised what you can find out there! I think Brian was surprised when I returned home with so many boxes!

My job on May 7th, 2007 was to get some cash to tip the movers, and get lunch. I remember reaching into my wallet to grab my ATM card. As I grabbed it out and held it, all the contents of my wallet fell out and were strewn about on my lap and the floor of the car. It had given up. After 15 plus years of ownership, my wallet just broke. Every nook and cranny, except for the change purse, fell apart onto my lap. I can't say I blame the poor thing. And I knew exactly how it felt. There was a part of me that was barely holding on by a single thread, threatening at any moment to completely fall apart.

But I couldn't.

We had finally made a life decision on where to put down roots, after years of researching and travel, and this was really it. We were going. And I was holding on by a thread. The bay area was proving to be unaffordable, and we deeply needed changes in other areas of our life as well. Brian and I had discussed how we wanted to raise our children, and me working, at least during their younger years, was not part of that picture. However, if we were ever going to put down roots where we were, that picture needed to change. Our financial options were and are based solely on what we make, without outside help. And I am firm believer that it is unbiblical to put oneself into financial jeopardy on purpose, which is what would have happened to us had we decided to buy a house in the last few years. So change came in the form of moving.

How has it been? Not easy.

There are many thing I miss about my former life. Mostly friends and family. The easy drive to my in-laws house, or even to my parent's house. I am surprised that what I miss isn't a big list, but it affects me every day. I'm also surprised about the vast amount of stuff I don't miss at all. Truthfully, I thought I would miss a lot more. Several people assumed we moved so we could have a slower pace of life. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, our lives have increased in business since moving. I cherish my days at home with no plans (at least until the kids start whining). We have a nice house, yes, but we didn't move just so we could buy a house. I would have been happier with much less if we had been able to purchase a house in the bay area. But situations happened that were completely out of our hands. And, for one reason or another, God lead us here.

It's not easy to start over, and we have had our ups and downs. Although we really like the pastor and worship leader at our current church, we are struggling to make any real connections within the congregation. Classes, Bible Study and MOPS haven't really helped. I have made a few friends, and the kids have a few friends. One family is moving 50 miles south in the next few weeks, which will make me and the kids sad. Caitlin likes to call the kids, and their mom, on her toy phone! Another friend is moving back to Pennsylvania over the summer. No one can blame them for wanting to be closer to family. Another friend is going to continue to live here! At least we might be able to get together over the sumer. I have been asked to join the steering team at my Thursday MOPS group, which I'd be happy to do if Brandon gets into afternoon kindergarten. I don't want to commit until I know if I can even attend. Even if I can do it, it would only be for a year.

It's been a crazy year. I'm very happy that I will not be up cleaning half the night tonight so that my landlord can come by and inspect our house. I will not be calling up other friends (Lisa!) who are moving to let them know we have extra boxes. In fact, I gave away the last of our boxes and a bunch of packing material to some friends just last week. Tomorrow I will not get into my car and begin a three day, four state trek with small children. And, on top of it all, it's not 95 degrees like it was this time last year in California. In fact, it's been raining all morning today.

Who knows what life will be like in the next year. Hopefully it will not involve any packing and moving (unless someone else is doing it for me!).