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.