Friday, July 25, 2008

Brandon at the Wii

Brian started bowling in high school. He took a break while in college, but began bowling on a league not long after graduating. He's been bowling since I met him, almost 12 years ago. He's got the ball, the shoes, and other various bowling accoutrements. And, important as bowling has been to Brian's family, he has been great at making sure the dishes are done, or putting the kids to bed before heading out to bowling.

Then there's Brandon. He is, how shall I say it...uncoordinated. He's no Caitlin - who walks into walls and stumbles over her own two feet on cue and all the time. Still - it took Brandon way longer than it took most other boys his age to catch a ball, or even kick one. He hasn't convinced us in any way, shape, or form, that he might excel at all in sports.

Today that all changed.

Brandon and Brian play the Wii frequently. Brandon loves to play "Mario Cart", and some of the fun Wii Sports games like shooting at clay pigeons or falling cans, and racing cows. But he isn't good at it. We cheer him on when comes in last on "Mario Cart", and go nuts when he places anything other than last. Brandon has been asking to play Wii Bowling the last couple of days, after watching Grandpa, Nana and Aunt Jackie play with Daddy. So today Brian let him play.

Here's the result:

Brandon's Mii is the red one. He beat his father at his first game of Wii Bowling. He beat his own father using what came to be labeled as the "Flamingo Dance". He balances on one leg and flails his arms. It's reminiscent of the Crane Kick pose Ralph Macchio used in "The Karate Kid". Look at how coordinated, how graceful he looks. Look - can't you see it??? I can't!! All 5 of us adults were cheering him on - encouraging this funny move. And it worked! Brandon not only won his first game, but got even more points during his second game (which he did not win, but beat his previously high score).

Talk about hard to get to bed. After a fun day up in Estes Park, no naps, dessert, and 5 adults cheering his every move during Wii Bowling, Brandon was hyper and loud prior to getting into bed. We haven't heard from him, so I'm hoping that he's asleep. And I'm hoping he doesn't just want to play Wii all day tomorrow!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Caitlin and Amadeus

We got new neighbors a few months ago. A nice couple with a nice cat - Amadeus. He's a very mellow, old, declawed yellow tabby who just loves attention. He loves it a little more from adults than kids, but he is fabulous at "putting up" with all the attention lavished on him by my kids. I think Brandon and Caitlin would love a cat, but I'm still overwhelmed by just taking care of them sometimes that I think the addition of a kitten might push me over the edge on some days! (Then there's the whole cat-sitter issue when we travel, which makes my head spin even more!) I'm sure we'll get one in the near future, though. Until then, there's Amadeus. And we see him a lot!

We ventured outside yesterday to view a lovely double rainbow after a weak thunderstorm. Amadeus met up with Caitlin. Here's the proof...

Letting Grandpa do the test-run

Taking the initiative

Amadeus is clearly not done, although Caitlin is apparently taking a break

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Welcome to 2 1/2

Caitlin is 2 1/2 today. Taking a cue from a friend's blog, I decided to interview her on her half birthday and update you on her favorite things....

Food: Blueberries, broccoli, tomatoes, anything Mommy happens to be eating
TV Show: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
Game: Mario Cart (watching Daddy play it on the Wii)
Snack: Blueberries, peanuts
Juice: apple
Song: "The Wheels on the Bus"
Book: "A Potty for Me", "Here Are My Hands", and "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" (which Caitlin calls "chicken boom boom", and is currently put away because Mommy needed a break from it)
Favorite stuffed animals: Koala and Elmo
Can't Sleep Without: Blankey, Koala and Elmo
Favorite Outfit: Her Elmo jammies
Favorite Activity: swimming, non-stop talking, and anything she can do "all by myself, Mommy!!"

Other things Caitlin loves are her brother, imitating her brother, playing with her brother, reading ("reading") to herself, helping Mommy around the house, and calling her friends on the play telephone. Now that she's a "big girl", she has given up her pacifiers (although not on purpose), and we have started potty training. She's been great with both. She really wants to use the potty all the time, but I'm not pushing the potty training due to travel and having Brian's family here. We'll start training hard-core once we get back to our semi-normal schedule

Does she hate anything? Oh yes... having her hair combed and the ceiling fan in our bedroom. She is very slooowwwlllyyy working through her irrational fear of the ceiling fan. I guess it's all part of being "TWWOOOOOO" - as Caitlin says -and a half!

Friday, July 18, 2008


Heard from the family room while I was preparing lunch....

"Hey Caitlin, come watch me whack my head!"

Quickly followed by a lot of crying. Don't think I'll be hearing that sentence for, oh, at least another hour!

kids!!! *Sigh*

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

More Water Fun

photos courtesy of my mom, the Grandma with the camera......

Monday, July 14, 2008

Water Fun

We headed out to the lake today. Boating has been an endless source of stress for Brandon. He hasn't liked it the last few times he's been in it, but it's the best way to get to the beaches at the lake near my parent's house. Much to my surprise, he was very good on the boat. His maturity over the last year was a pleasant surprise. Caitlin, our brave one last year, cried this year.

Although we are getting use to the central valley heat, swimming was a great way to cool down. I posted a video of Caitlin's new favorite water activity. I won't be posting the one where I didn't catch her right away. She's doing fine, but she was done being tossed up in the air after she learned that she sinks like a stone when I'm not right there. Needless to say, she wasn't happy about that last toss!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ice Cream!

Brandon and Caitlin contribute to making pistachio ice cream with Grandma. Although it was hot today, it was much cooler than yesterday's record-breaking 112 degrees. Ice cream, however, is still a necessity.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Heard on the Monitor....

during naptime.....

"Mommy. Moooommmmmyyyyyy!! Can you please find me a paci???......
oh, Mommy......"

So much for going off without a hitch.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Two More Days

In just two more days I get on a plane with both kids, by myself, and head out to my parent's place in central California. The kids are asking me multiple times a day when we are going to see Grandma and Grandpa, and I'm excited to tell them that it's soon. I'm not so excited about the flight, or the fact that I'm flying into a heat wave (suppose to be 107 tomorrow), or that the California air will be thick with smoke. But I'm excited about being in a place where feel comfortable. I do miss my home state. Not all the time, but a lot.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Done With Pacis?

I've been steeling myself for the big day.... the day that Caitlin gives up her pacifiers. I've been reading other blogs, seeing what other people have been doing with their kids, and trying to remember what I did with Brandon. Caitlin only gets her pacifier when she sleeps (unless she manages to find them earlier!), so it wasn't going to be as bad as if she was allowed to have them all the time. Brandon had a hard time for about a week. Still..... kids love pacis. So, I've been bracing myself. Shoring up my nerves. We've talked about this. Caitlin got sad every time. But, I'm not going to give in! I'm not! I'm the mom! So, what did I do?

I forgot the pacifiers on our weekend trip. Oops. No, really. I didn't "forget". I really and truly forgot them. They weren't on the packing list. If it's not on the list, chances are I will forget them.

I realized this about half way up to Breckenridge, as were sitting in traffic somewhere on a mountain.

I broke into a cold sweat.

But, seriously, it wasn't so bad. Caitlin believes she is a big girl. She attempts to strap herself into her car seat, occasionally goes pee-pee on the potty, and tries to help me out in any way possible. It's a little crazy now, but I'm getting use to the fact that's she's almost two and a half, and not a baby anymore.

The worst part about not having a paci at night.....? Caitlin will not shut-up. She is a non-stop chatterbox. And, when we travel, she shares a room with her brother, who isn't much quieter. And they *love* sharing a room. It's the bomb! But without the pacifier, I have nothing but threats on my side. Luckily she was pretty tired, so she didn't talk much before conking out.

When we got home I immediately took the pacifiers out of her room and hid them in mine. She's looked for them a couple of times, but has accepted (without tears!) that she's a big girl, and that big girls don't need pacis. I thought this would be a lot harder. So much for all that emotional stamina I was attempting to work up.

Still, I'm tucking on in the diaper bag for our flight on Thursday. I don't want to be the mom on the plane with the wailing kid who is crying out for a paci. I like quiet. So do all the other travelers.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Big Sur

Please keep the people and firefighters in Big Sur in your prayers. I lived there for several years in the mid to late '70's, at Julie Pfeiffer Burns and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Parks. I've heard that homes of several childhood friends have been burned to the ground already. There is a great deal of brush to burn there, and unless it gets foggy, there won't be much relief. Please pray for those who will not be celebrating this Fourth of July, that they are safe.

To see pictures of Big Sur, click here to go to my Mom's blog. She posted some from a trip a couple years back.

For updates and information on the fire and how the residents are doing, click here.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

How We Spent Our Saturday

We headed out to Lowe's on Saturday to pick up a ceiling fan for our bedroom, and a couple of other fun things for the house (think plunger, heater vent.... that kind of fun). Brian wanted to hang the ceiling fan, and I thought I'd work on the kitchen faucet. After 7 months in our new place, it was time for the faulty faucet to go. As you know, I'd decided to replace our kitchen faucet a few weeks back without much luck. We both wanted the fan in our room, which was already pre-wired for one, including the ceiling plate and light/fan switches in the wall. All we needed was the fan! So, after lunch and putting Caitlin down for a nap, we each tackled our projects.....

I can't write much about Brian's experience. We didn't buy the easy installation ceiling fan, which we probably should have, since neither one of us has ceiling fan installation experience. It took Brian a couple of hours to put the fan up. However, now our room looks like this:

The faucet, on the other hand, was a different story. Three weeks ago I was in serious danger of twisting the copper piping completely off. After a call from my dad, I knew what to do to loosen the coupling nut without messing up the supply tube. Low and behold, it worked! (Thanks, Dad!) I was all excited. I did both supply tubes, and moved up to the bolts that hold the actual faucet to the sink. I did the first one, which was so easy it was silly. It was making sense that the online sites I'd referenced before said it should take about an hour to replace a faucet. Then there was bolt number two. Also known as "the bolt from hell". I tried unsuccessfully for about half an hour to loosen the bolt. Tried and tried. Finally decided to take a break. Brian was still working on the fan, so I headed upstairs for a visit. He was having a rough time also, but making progress. So I decided to continue my quest of a new faucet.

After a quick prayer for strength, I managed to free the bolt (which lead to a prayer of thanks). I worked at it for another half an hour. Nothing. Then I noticed that the screw was rotating whenever I twisted the bolt. Not good. Brandon was floating between the bedroom upstairs and the kitchen to see what his dad and mom were doing. It was nice to have some company, but I was afraid I was going to drop a heavy wrench on his head. I took a break to get him out from under the sink, and plan my next move. By now I was up to two hours, Caitlin needed to get up, and the old faucet was still in our sink! And my lower back was killing me. Brian decided to give it a shot. He had slightly better luck than me, but only slightly.

Here's Brian giving it a shot

My contribution - I had to stand on the old faucet to keep it still while Brian worked at the bolt. Trying to hold it still using my hands just wasn't working!
So, what did it take to get our faucet out? A hacksaw! The bolt was so corroded that we actually had to hack it in half to get the faucet out! I had to head out to Home Depot to get a small hacksaw, since the one we had was to big.

The triumphant, tired couple, around 8:00 pm, with the evil faucet (don't we look cute?)
Yeah! It's out! I could begin the installation of the new faucet!!! So exciting! No, not really. After getting the new faucet in and tightened, I noticed that the attached copper supply tubes from the new faucet were about an inch higher than the copper supply tubes already under our counters. AAAHHH!! They don't reach! But never fear.... I'd already bought flexible supply tubes!! I put those in, and the valve ends don't fit!!! And it was 9:08 pm. Hardware stores were closed. I took a quick trip to Wal-mart, but the supply tubes were the same as what I already had. Quietly, tiredly, I slumped home. By now it was close to 10:00 pm, and I was defeated. I was exhausted, sweaty, looked terrible, and only had an aching lower back to show for all my effort. In a strange twist, I decided to try the supply tubes again, on different sides. And they fit! I was happy and disappointed all at the same time. Why didn't I try that an hour earlier? And all that work..... almost 6 hours later.... I have, um, this...... (taa daa?)...

There's nothing wrong with our new faucet. I like it, and it works easily and well. But, man, all that work..... for a stupid faucet!!!!

Oh, did I mention we got a new sofa? Our house now feels complete. We're beat, but our house is in working order