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

Thursday, October 09, 2008


What is up with the crazy Colorado weather? Yesterday was short sleeves and sandals. Today we're wearing sweaters. The weather report this morning said it was going to be around 75. Woo hoo! That's nice weather. What was the high today? 49 at our house. And still, I was burning up in the sun while waiting for Brandon at his school. Summer is officially over. I can tell it will be cool from now on. It matches the wind and the falling leaves. And I'm glad for it.

Last Time in Her Crib

This afternoon was Caitlin's last nap in her crib. Tomorrow the new beds come. And she is ready! Brandon was in his big boy bed a mere two months after turning 2, and Caitlin is just a few months shy of turning 3. It's been hard to find something we liked that would work out in her room (small and narrow with half a bay window). I found a lot of chunky furniture, beds with characters on them, and expensive stuff, but it took a while to find anything that worked. We found something a few weeks back, and made sure it wasn't delivered until after we got back from our trip.

Caitlin was so excited about her new bed that she wanted it right away. I convinced her that she needed to nap first, and got these pictures:

She didn't go to sleep for a while, and was making some funny noises, so I went in and checked on her. I found her with Elmo all wrapped up in her blanky. She said he was "baby Elmo", and proceeded to love on him. It was very cute, and one of her first little attempts to play mommy and baby (she thinks trucks and markers are much cooler).

I have some mixed feelings about the crib going away. I mean, this is the first time in over 5 years that we haven't had the crib set up in our house! It looked so out of place in our little house just before Brandon was born. All set up, but no baby. Now it's part of the family. Brandon always slept great in it. Caitlin did better close to me, but Brandon liked his little crib! Of course, our house was so little that Brandon was only a few steps away, even though he was in another room. I could hear him everywhere, and didn't even use the monitor. I'm happy to be done with the baby stage, but there's a little teeny-weeny part of me that's sad to see it go. My kids are growing up! My how time flies!

**I found the crib instructions today so I could put everything together before posting the crib on Craigslist. Brandon brought them downstairs to me, and asked if they were instructions on how to build a cage! I certainly hope my kids didn't think of their crib that way - but you never know!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Brandon had a friend over yesterday afternoon. I was glad to host, since Brandon hasn't made a lot of friends since we've moved here, and the friends he did have are scattered throughout Colorado or elsewhere these days! Plus, his kindergarten is so academically focused that I'm not sure he has a lot of time to make friends. Brian got home late last night, but the kids haven't seen him yet, as he headed off for work early this morning. I needed a distraction, since they were both pretty upset about not seeing daddy yet!

Brandon's friend, Ian, came over after school. After a snack they headed up to see Brandon's computer game. He's got a Jumpstart kindergarten game that he just loves. Ian's mom said that Ian can play all day on the computer, so I limited their game time to about 45 minutes. So far we haven't had to limit Brandon's time on the computer, but I'm sure that will come soon! From my understanding, Ian played the game and Brandon watched. Afterwards they were playing with Brandon's new Legos in the family room. Ian, who is a good 9 months older than Brandon, was building a new car. Brandon was next to him, making this weird, funny noise that I can only attribute to his sheer delight that a friend was over. I can't even describe it, but even I thought it was weird. Ian turned to him and said, in a rather bored, teen-age voice, "What are you doing?" Brandon stopped and just stared at him. "Nothing." Back to playing Lego. Don't look at Ian. In a few minutes he started up with the weird noise again! And again, "What are you doing?"

Poor Brandon! I felt bad for him and almost laughed out loud at the same time. Brandon is uncool. I'm sorry to say it, but he is. And he can blame it all on his genetics. His mom and dad are pretty uncool, too. We have been made painfully aware of this by different people over the course of our lives. At times we have been cool by association, but never really cool on our own. Sometimes our lack of coolness has been palpable - leaving us feeling very alone and excluded by the very same group we were supposedly part of. How much we've worked in one group had a lot to do with our total acceptance and hip-ness. I keep hoping my kids won't have to go through that, but how else will they learn to cope? In Brandon's defense, he is one of the younger kids, if not the youngest kid, in his class. Some kids are over a year older than him. School grade cut-off in Colorado is September 15th or 30th. Boulder Valley schools are September 30th, so Brandon barely got in. I've noticed an odd trend in Colorado, and possibly elsewhere, of parents holding kids back in school for dominance (physical or mental) instead of for social or education lagging. I don't think there is anything wrong in holding a child back in school, but I also think it should only be done if the child is lagging socially or educationally. Most kids are going to be older than Brandon anyway, due to where his birthday falls. I thought that those age differences were going to be less pronounced in kindergarten, but I'm still noticing them. Brandon's younger age makes him seem, well, younger. And in many cases, like today, the way he acts in situations makes him seem uncool.

In all reality, I'm not worried about this. I've been uncool for a while, and I've still managed to get this far. Brian's pretty uncool, and he has a good job that supports all of us. We've made friends over the years, and some of them still want to hang out with us! My main concern is that Brandon can make some friends this year who are on his level. He made several last year. Two moved, and our schedule change this year so we've only seen one of his friends, and only a couple times a month at that. Taking the time to get together is hard due to schedules or distance, and I haven't felt like anyone even wants to try. So we will continue to slog through, asking God to direct us, staying close as a family, and looking for friends - cool or uncool - along the way.