Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. I'm heading off to bed soon, but thought I'd share some pictures from our little family on this cold, wintry Christmas day. We spent our first Christmas with just our family. It began last night with services at our church, followed by a fun Christmas morning. We hear stories about crazy early mornings for some, but our children decided to give us a wonderful Christmas gift and slept in until 8:00 am! No parent can complain about that one. So, before I head off after a full day, here are the pictures to share. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Carol Lyrics (According to Caitlin)

She sings them loudly, proudly, and rarely correctly!


We Three Kings of Glorious Art,
Marrying gifts, we've traveled so far

Frosty the snowman was a jolly happy soul, with a corncob pipe and a button nose, and toys made out of coal

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus lay on his sweet sweet head

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way, No what fun it is to ride in one horse slapping hay (hey!)

Hark the herald angels sing, glory to the newborn king
Peace on earth, and mercy why? God and sinners reconsighed

Go telling on a mountain..........

And numerous selections from "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"
...calling the other reindeers, use to laugh and call him names....
...then one froggy Christmas eve....
...Rudolph with your snow so white, won't you guide my sleigh tonight
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, had a very shiny nose. And if you never saw it, you wouldn't even say it goes!

And those are just the lyrics she's trying to get right. If she doesn't know what the next line in a song is, she'll randomly make up some lyrics to continue the song.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Caitlin's Christmas Pageant

Caitlin has been practicing and practicing for her preschool's Christmas pageant. We've been singing songs at home, in the car, before bed, and (reluctantly on my part) in the stores. She sings and sings her little heart out. It's loud, unmelodic, and usually funny (except in the grocery store or mall). I'm now officially sick of a few Christmas songs, and long for Caitlin to be quiet most of the time. That, unfortunately, only happens when she's asleep (and not always then, either).

Tonight was Caitlin's pageant. Brian met me and the kids in Boulder, and we dropped Caitlin off at her classroom. After a short sermon by the pastor of the church where she goes to preschool, she and the other preschoolers paraded in and began their program. It was short and cute. Good thing, because this is one of the many faces Caitlin made during the performance:




Preschool programs are fun indeed!

I found a nice spot up in the balcony and got a shot of all the kids. I may have cut out a sheep or two, but I got most of them.



And this is probably about the time Caitlin saw me up in the balcony (and right before she and Genevieve - to the left of Caitlin - started waving at me).



Monday, December 14, 2009

Come Back to Amazon

I order from Amazon. Not as much as some people I know, but I do order from Amazon. Books, CD's, shoes, all sorts of things. Today, I got this e-mail from them:


"Dear Amazon.com Customer,

As someone interested in automotive accessories, parts, or car electronics, you might want to check out our low prices on great gifts plus the top brands in tools and equipment, performance parts, car care, replacement parts, and accessories sold by Amazon.com.

You can also explore our new Wheels & Tires Store!"



Ooohh, the new Wheels and Tires store. Can't wait!

I've never ordered an automotive accessory  from Amazon. Ever. Anyone who knows me should know how *not* into automotive accessories.  Guess I need to go and update my profile and recommendations pages. Or start buying car parts for my brothers. They'd be happy!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside

I know it's cold outside. It was -11 when I walked Brandon down to our neighbor's house for the school drop off.




But I think the channel 9 thermometer is just a tad bit off today. -583? Really? I know it feels like that, especially when it's windy. But still!


Brandon's Face

Brandon took a dive last Thursday evening. He fell in the neighbor's driveway and did a faceplant on the ice. The driveway was shoveled, but the ice that had formed was bumpy - like frozen raindrops. The left side of Brandon's face looked like hamburger! I felt so bad for the poor guy! His face and nose were all bloody. He had a half-dollar sized patch on his forehead that had gotten scraped up, and dime-sized patches under his nose and lips as well. His nose and lips were scratched up, but not as bad as the other places. Our neighbor even made him hot chocolate, but that didn't ease the suffering any. Brandon scabbed up overnight, and did not (at all) want to go to school the next morning. He got over his vanity pretty soon (probably after all the kids were somewhat in awe of his adventure, as little kids are apt to be), but complained about the scabs itching.

So now, almost a week later, he's looking a lot better. Here he is, right before school today:


Most of the scabs have fallen off, leaving behind the pink shaded area of newly healed skin. The patch on his forehead isn't smooth - it's full of little divots caused by the bumpy ice. We're still putting creams on  his face so he won't scar too bad. With the freezing cold weather we're having, and the onset of winter, I'm hoping the lack of sunshine will mean he doesn't get any strange patterns on his face from being exposed to too much sun. But then again, it is Colorado. The sun is intense here. You'll note Brandon's looking a little shaggy.  I even put off getting him a haircut so that the stylist wouldn't touch the sore patch on his forehead. Now that it's getting better, I guess I should put it off any longer.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Back to Life

Back to the daily grind. Needed to wake up to an alarm this morning. If I need to wake up to an alarm, it's probably to early to get up. Although part of me is happy to get back to the schedule, I'm not ready to restart our early mornings. Back to sleepy morning kids. Back to rushed breakfasts and rushed mornings. Back to Brian leaving for work. Back to needing coffee in the morning instead of it being a pleasant experience with breakfast.

On the plus side, I'm back to Brandon in school, which he loves. A few free hours for me , as Caitlin goes back to school tomorrow. Her fever is gone, and all she seems to have left of her weekend illness is a cough. We even walked to school this morning. Right now only my feet hurt, instead of feet and legs. I should know by this evening or tomorrow morning how much I'll pay for that little 1-mile walk to and from school. Caitlin and I will join Brandon on his class scavenger hunt this afternoon, so I may know earlier than that!

I am grateful for the mornings I had to sleep in last week. I think it helped me recover from my own illness, and just catch up on much needed sleep. I accomplished a lot around the house, which I don't manage to do during our regular weeks.  We had fun just being together as a family, and the kids love to have all the extra time to hang out with their Dad.  And the best thing - it's only for a few weeks, and then we're off on Christmas break. We're spending Christmas at home this year. A first for me. Ever. I've always spend Christmas with family. We'll be visiting them after Christmas, but I'm grateful to not fly during the busiest time of the year, and grateful to not have to miss out on everything going on around town because we're not usually around to enjoy it.

Now, off to shower and finish our charity bags. We cleaned out our closet and the kids rooms. So much needed to go.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fort Collins

In preparation for the yearly forced PTO, in which Brian has had to take time off, we planned on taking a couple of days and exploring Fort Collins. We also needed something to keep us busy, since schools here take the whole week of Thanksgiving off, not just the day of and the day after. There was no forced PTO this year, so we didn't have to go. But we went anyway. We booked the hotel a couple of weeks back, and told the kids that we were going to go out of town for a few days. Bad move on our part. We shouldn't have told them that early. Caitlin has asked every. single. day. for. two. weeks. when (when, Mommy, when?) are we going out of town?

Fort Collins is just over an hour north of us, and the last big city in Colorado before you hit Wyoming. At just over 130,000 people, it's not really that big, either. But we're getting use to that. We had fun exploring. I especially liked the area around CSU. But then again, I always like areas around older college campuses. I like the character. I like the trees. I like the idea that there is so much energy around universities. I'm not sure I'd like living around all of those young, crazy college students, which is why I don't live by a university. But I like being near them. We drove around a lot. The bitter winds prevented us from doing much outside until the last day. Once my ears begin to hurt, I'm done.

But for all the fun of Fort Collins, the biggest draw for the kids was ......

the indoor pool!!!


How can you beat an indoor pool? Caitlin loves swimming, and asks me oh, about every other day when we can go to an inside pool. It doesn't help that the pools here close right after Labor Day, and that we drive by the closed pool on a frequent basis. Caitlin looks longingly out her window as we drive by..........

So, into the pool we went. Day after day. Luckily they were satisfied with an hour. And the Residence Inn was hardly crowded in the days before Thanksgiving, so we had the pool and hot tub to ourselves. The kids had their life jackets and goggles, and were set. I got to try out my new suit, bought during the Land's End bathing suit clearance and sent right after Labor Day (which is when all the outdoor pools close in Colorado). We got to get out of the house for a few days. We got to explore a new town. And we got to swim in a heated indoor pool. It was a fun time for the entire P-4 family!


** just in case you're worried about this last picture, Brandon is doing a shark impersonation, not having a bad time in the pool!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pronation

My ankles over-pronate. Meaning, they roll inward more than normal whenever I walk, putting all the stress on the soft tissue of my feet and extra stress on my big toe. More information than you wanted to know, I'm sure. According to the x-rays and podiatrist exams, it's just how I'm built and now needs to be corrected. This has been going on all my life, and explains so many of the problems I've had. It was interesting to have the podiatrist point out things that I *may* have experienced, and realizing during her talk that I've gone through most of what she talked about. The extreme pain, though, is a new thing. I have all the symptoms and pain of plantar fasciitis, caused by the pronation. About this time last year I started having a lot of pain in my feet. I wasn't sure what was going on, but thought it may have something to do with my clumsy episodes in spring of 2008, where I sprained my right foot and then, a month later, broke the toe (I think) on my left foot. In the fall, I started having huge amounts of pain in my feet, ankles, knees and hips. Getting up was painful. Walking was painful. Standing was painful. Grocery shopping was painful. Picking Brandon up from school was painful. About the only thing that wasn't painful was sitting on my a-double-s, and that is what I did (and I am paying for my suddenly sedentary lifestyle). But every step I took hurt. It still does. Finally, just last month, I made an appointment with a podiatrist. After exams and x-rays, it was determined that I don't have plantar fasciitis, or knee problems, or more broken toes (which was what prompted the appointment in the first place). I have over-pronating ankles, which are causing bone spurs on my heels, and a whole host of problems. And I need custom orthotics for my shoes.

Yay! A diagnosis!

Boo! Orthotics. Custom. Nothing like that just before turning 40 to help make me feel young (and poor. They're expensive!).

So here I am. I picked up the orthotics yesterday, just in time for our trip to Fort Collins. They're not big, but they do make my shoes fit differently. I'm not sure how many pairs of shoes I'm going to have to give away. No more Dansko's for me, or Bass, as far as I can tell. The shoes that have come recommended are all expensive, and range from "fine" to "even my grandfather wouldn't have worn that". Josef Seibel? Comfort shoes? I haven't found a pair yet that doesn't make me look like an old man in the 1970's. All I'm missing is the leisure suit. In peach.

I'm curious to see how this all goes. I've only worn the orthotics for a few hours, as I am suppose to build up my wearing time. Then I'm suppose to wear them all day. Even at home. In my slippers. I'm a barefoot kind of gal, and have never liked wearing shoes at home, so this will be interesting. I may need to convert my moccasins to house shoes so I can at least be comfortable at home. I feel so old. But if these help, I may be able to go for a walk without experiencing shooting pains in my heels, and up through my legs and hips. I may be able wake up in the morning and walk instead of fall. I may again be able to carry my own children down the stairs of my house (I had to give that one up a couple months ago due to fear of falling). I may walk without a limp. Even when I'm not limping, every step still hurts. It has for most of this year. And that I am completely willing to give up.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Jammies?

Caitlin has declared today to be a pajama day. Meaning she gets to wear pajamas all day. But we have a foot of new snow outside. Let's hope that a trip to the local mall makes her change her mind. These kids will need to run around somewhere today! And she doesn't get to wear footie jammies out into the snow with her boots!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Vampire Teeth

Aaahh, the joys of 25 cent vampire teeth at the after Halloween sale at King Soopers:




Scary, aren't they?

Monday, November 09, 2009

Dentist

November 2nd was Caitlin's first dental appointment - and Brandon's second. It's been a long while since I took Brandon to the dentist. March, 2007, in California, to be exact. I'm not sure why I've avoided the dentist. Probably because it's just been one more thing to do on my already long list of things to do!


The kids were very good. Although there was a kid's room at the dental office - complete with two sit-down Pac-Man games and a flat-screen TV playing DVD's, the kids wanted to be together. Caitlin went in first, and was such a big girl during her 360 degree dental x-ray, and all the individual x-rays. I truly think she wants to be a big girl, and things like going to the dentist, wearing her lead vest, and behaving well put her up a notch closer to that category. She then moved on to the dental office, where she  waited for her first exam. After Caitlin's x-rays were done, Brandon moved on in to the x-ray room. He was just as good, being still for his 360 degree x-ray, and doing all the right stuff for his other x-rays and pictures. Caitlin went down in ranking from her "extremely good girl" status to "not so great" when she wouldn't stay in the exam room. The rooms were right next to each other, but yet she kept popping out, or having to go down the hall for unknown, mysterious reasons. I spent a good chunk of time following after her and leading her back to the exam room. After the dentist came in for her exam, she managed to stay put - even holding the suctioning device for the hygenist. She got to wear sunglasses during the exam, and for some reason, looked like a biker chick to me!  Brandon, of course, was completely fine. He was excellent for our dentist back in California when he was 3 1/2, and I doubted he would have regressed now that he's older!

It was an experience for me, too. The 360 degree x-ray shows the kids' whole mouths. Not only can you see their jaws and teeth that are visible, but you can see all the adult teeth and molars hiding up in the gums, just waiting to come down. And they're big, too! Brandon's 12 year molars are already showing, along with Caitlin's 6 year molars. It's pretty amazing. On my own x-ray from my appointment a week earlier, I could see where my sinuses connect to my jaws, which explains why all my teeth hurt when I get a head cold or allergies. If it affects my sinuses, my teeth just ache! All our x-rays looked like something out of a horror movie, but they were fascinating!


Their results were good, too. No cavities for either kid. Not even an hint of a cavity. Caitlin did have some tartar issues. Brandon must take after me, as he had hardly any tartar on his teeth at all. The dentist noted that Brandon may not ever need orthodontic work. His teeth are evenly spaced and very straight, with plenty of room to house the adult teeth and molars that are already there on the x-ray. So far there aren't any wisdom tooth buds, so he may not have to worry about those, either. Of course, mine didn't come in until I was in college, and I got them out in my late twenties. Caitlin, on the other hand, already has a crossbite, which will need to be orthodontically treated when she's older. It's an even crossbite - as if her upper jaw shifted to one side.  But it will reshape her jaws and teeth if not treated at some point. Her teeth don't have a lot of space between them like Brandon's, so there's no telling if her adult teeth will be straight when they come in, or crooked due to lack of space. I guess I should start putting money aside for braces now that I know she'll need them at some point!

You can see more pictures of the kid at the dentist on my picture site here.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

What? November?

In order to save myself some stress this year, I decided not to do write every day in November. Last year I kind of didn't want to do it. My sister was getting married, and both kids were in the wedding. I knew we'd be flying out to California at the end of the month, and would be there for a week. But I did it anyway, and hated almost every minute of it. Trying to come up with new and interesting things to report. Fun family pictures. All the while trying not to be depressing, as I have been told my blog is depressing.

But now I keep not writing. Not telling you what's going on. Have I lost interest? I'm not sure. Maybe there isn't a lot to write about. Maybe the early mornings, late nights, trying to get Caitlin to nap and getting Brandon to do homework are too much. Maybe I can't handle First grade.

To tell the truth, even though we've been busy, it hasn't been interesting. Every morning I get up, get ready, get the kids up, head to the school.......... it's all the same. Some days I drive to Boulder to drop Caitlin and the carpool off at preschool.  Some days I pick her and the carpool up. Every day at 2:30 I have to be at Brandon's school to pick him up. Everyday he runs out yelling "Mommy, Mommy!" and give me a big hug around the legs. Then we head to the playground to play off some excess energy. Sometimes the days blend together and I am surprised by the end of the week, but more often they don't.

So, what have we been up to:
Halloween! So much fun for the kids this year. Brandon was a western sheriff, and Caitlin was a ghost. We went trick-or-treating in the neighborhood for the first time ever. It was a real treat. I did have to leave half way to take Caitlin home to Brian. Luckily, Brandon got to continue on with friends and I met up with them a little while later. We now have more candy than any one person should eat in a year.

School!  Brandon loves First Grade. He had a hard time adjusting to the work and the hours (we're at school before 8:00 am every morning), but has it down now. Let's hope the holidays don't screw that up! Caitlin just loves preschool. I sometimes wonder if two mornings a week is enough for her, but I think we're doing good. Monday is our only free morning together, and it seems to work well. Caitlin feels like such a big girl at school, and always wants to do Brandon's homework with him. At this rate, she'll be doing multiplication before kindergarten!

Candy Land!  Caitlin's into Candy Land. Pray for me. I've played more Candy Land this week than I have in the last year.

Organizing!  It's time for "the change". Brandon's kind of outgrowing his size 5 clothes, but is not quite into size 6, so I've been going through his stuff and adding and subtracting clothes. I've also put away summer things and moved straight into winter stuff (although the temperatures this week were in the low 70's!). Caitlin is moving into some size 4's already. My room is a mess of boxes and clothes as we pull out the old and hang up the new. Add to that the fact that I was once again thinking of living in a small house, and I can't resist the urge to start going through our stuff again.

So, now you are up to date on our little household. Exciting, isn't it?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I'm Dreaming of a White Halloween

Here's the view we woke up to this morning- 21 inches of snow. And it's still snowing.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Snow

It's snowing now. An inch already. The news reports say 10-20 inches in the next 24 hours. And more snow on Thursday night. I'm just hoping this doesn't ruin Halloween for the kids. This is the first Halloween that has really mattered to Brandon. And to Caitlin, but I don't think it matters as much to her as it does to him. Snow never seems to stop much around here, so  the show will go on. It might just go on in snowboots instead of cowboy boots!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pumpkin Patch (Sort of )

Pumpkin patches here in Colorado are on farms. There are no cute corner lots. No games. No trains to ride. No pumpkins sitting nicely on straw bales. No fresh produce in the little stand on the way out. Nothing like the one that we use to visit yearly back in California. Here you go out the farm and walk the rows and rows of pumpkins, most still attached to the vines, trying to find one that suits you. It's an arduous, cold, and sometimes very dirty process, depending on what the weather has been like recently. Two years ago I went with Brandon's preschool to the pumpkin patch. We drove over 20 miles to go to a farm up outside of Longmont. The kids loved the tractor ride out to the pumpkin patch. And all the mud from the rain storm the day before. I did laundry right after we got home.

Brian and I decided to take the kids to a local pumpkin patch today. A "You Pick 'Em" patch - which we were unaware of until the woman at the entrance handed us a little pumpkin saw to detach our prizes from the vine. We drove out onto the farm, parked, and proceeded to inspect our pumpkins. The colder temps we've had, along with snow and freezing temperatures we experienced the first week of October have not been friendly to the local pumpkin crop. Most of the pumpkins were either rotting, or had some serious soft spots. It was a project and a half trying to find a decent one. It turned our pumpkin patch adventure from one where were just looking for a nice pumpkin to a serious search where were had to find pumpkins that not only looked and felt good (ie: no soft spots), and that we thought might last until Friday night's pumpkin carving party (Caitlin got a little pumpkin during her field trip last week that has already been relegated to the garbage pail due to rotting). Combine that with a cold front blowing in and attempting not to trip over the tangled mass of pumpkin vines, and you had quite a different outing than what I've experienced in California at the Spina Farms patch, or Half Moon Bay. I can see the value of both, but city patches (the fake ones, as people here tell me) are a lot easier. And cleaner.


All in all, we did manage to find two pumpkins that will work, provided they don't rot before Friday. I'm keeping them in the house, though, since we are expected to get snow tomorrow and more freezing temperatures overnight and next week. I bought one at Sunflower Farmer's Market last week. That's our "just in case" pumpkin. Just in case the other two don't make it. The kids seemed to have fun (except when they got caught in the sticker patches, or tripped on vines). Brian inspected about 200 pumpkins, no exaggeration, and I played photographer. Mothers must get the quintessential cute-kids-at-the-pumpkin-patch pictures, you know. Just ignore all the dirt in ours. And the storm rolling in!

For more pictures, click here.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

October 16th


October 16th - last year



October 16th - this year

My what a difference a cold snap and snow in early October can make!



Monday, October 12, 2009

Two Year Anniversary

Lots of anniversaries this year for us. I've celebrated 2 years in Colorado in May, 6 years of gainful unemployment in August, 10 years of marriage in February, and now 2 years in our current house. We moved two years ago today.

I don't remember much about that weekend. Brian was gone the week before and the week after, but did manage to get back home right before we moved. He was suppose to on another business trip the day after our move, but his boss called him that night and told him to move his ticket to Sunday and stay at home another day. :-) I was busy packing, packing and doing more packing. We purged before we left California, only bought what was necessary for our awful little rental place after we moved here, and it still seemed like we owned far too much. The packing seemed excessive, even though at least a third of our belongings had not even been unpacked in our rental. It was badly laid out, and there wasn't room for our stuff - even though it was about 150 square feet bigger. Plus, we were hoping to move quickly. Oh how I hated that place. I've never missed it. Not once. Maybe the packing was getting to me because it was the second time in 5 months that we'd be moving. Or because I was exhausted. Who knows. I did contemplate having a bonfire of boxes to celebrate the move. Instead, I put them up as a freebie on Craigslist. Amazingly, it took weeks to get rid of the boxes! Not at all what I was use to!

So, what's changed in two years? Not much, as far as the house is concerned. The walls still look the same. Our bedroom is still green. We got furniture for the living room and a bed for the basement. Our life outside the house is a little different. Brandon finished preschool and started kindergarten at the local public school, which is half a mile away instead of 6 miles.That was a nice change. We've made a few friends, although community here seems hard to come by. The kids have gotten older. Caitlin has now lived over half her life in Colorado. She asks questions about California, but I doubt she really remembers it. Colorado has yet to feel like home, but I'm not pining for California, either. I miss my family and the friends we had. I miss the beach and the lovely green winters and the diversity. Don't miss the government, the over crowing, or the inability to talk to my neighbors because we don't speak the same language. Living in middle America is different. I'm slowly getting use to it. I've worn nothing but jeans for days! But I'm still not into football, the Broncos, or beer. And I miss people. It's a little creepy being the only person in a store in the mornings!

So here we are, in our little house (by Colorado standards). I like my house. And my backyard. Got some weird neighbors, but who doesn't? Happy two year anniversary to us!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Winter in Fall

October 10, 2009

Woke up to 18 degrees and snowing! Hello? It's October!!! Just because I said I was ready for fall didn't necessarily mean that I was ready for winter! I was just ready for the heat of summer to be done. It's not a lot of snow, just enough to coat our back deck and be visible. It's strange to see the leaves that have started to turn sitting on top of the newly fallen snow.



Colorado weather is strange. As long as you don't mind the unexpected, it's all fine and good. The first summer here in 2007 was hot with lots of thunderstorms. The second summer was just hot, with the only rain being a weekend in August that was 50 degrees and drizzle for 3 straight days. Wrecked all the pumpkins last year. This year's summer was just about perfect. Cooler June and most of July. Temps got up to the mid '80's in late July and August, with lots of thunderstorms. The annual fall cool down started in mid-September. Our first winter here was cold and icy. Not a lot of snow during each snowfall, but snow on the ground for months. I think I bundled up and put on boots every morning in winter to take Brandon to school. Last winter was mild, except for a bout of almost record breaking cold in December, when the lows were 19 below zero, and highs were around zero for a week or two. Then, in March and April we were hit by blizzards that dumped 18 inches of wet snow on our house in under 24 hours! This winter --- who knows? I'm expecting cold and snowy, but that's only because this whole year seems to have been on the cooler and wetter side. But what do I know? I live in Colorado. Best to just not expect anything!

Luckily Brian made chocolate chip waffles and coffee for me this morning. And the weather report said the temperatures for the middle of next week are suppose to be a good 40 to 50 degrees warmer. For now I'll just turn on the fireplace and maybe make some hot cocoa for dessert. I'm resisting putting on Christmas music. It seems a little strange with all the fall decorations and pumpkins around the house! But the weather feels like December.

Diaperless Nap Times

We have achieved a little victory in the P-4 household. Caitlin is no longer wearing a pull-up when she naps! Yeah for Caitlin!

A couple of weeks ago Caitlin started making noises about not wanting to wear her pull-ups when she took a nap. She would occasionally wake up dry, but it was *very* occasional, so I ignored her requests. Then it dawned on me that it was only after she'd made the decision to be potty trained right after she turned 3 that she had any success at all (of course, she'd also made that decision at 2 1/2, while on vacation, without much luck). Anyway, I went to the store and got a shower curtain liner for the floor. Caitlin has been napping, and mostly sleeping on her floor since early June. Why, I don't know. Our carpet is nice and padded, but certainly no substitute for a mattress! One can buy a waterproof mattress pad, but not a waterproof carpet! So, in an effort to minimize my daily maid duties, I spread the shower curtain liner on the floor, put a blanket on top of it, and she curled up and took a nap. And guess what - no wet pants! That was September 30th. Every nap since then has been dry. Doesn't matter if they are one hour or two. I'm so impressed! Let's hope this is it! Her constant rash, one that looks awful, is also clearing up. We've long suspected she was allergic to Pull-Ups, but even after we quit them, the rash never cleared up without help. I think getting rid of the mid-day diaper is also helping the rash clear up. Hopefully, in the near future we can get rid of the shower liner, too. Or I can convince her to sleep in her bed. The smell of the plastic - ugh- it's killing me! Caitlin has certainly not been the easiest to potty train!

I never wrote about Brandon's potty training here, since it happened before I started blogging. He was ready to go, and kept talking about wanting to not wear a diaper right about the time I was about to give birth to Caitlin. I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to handle a newborn and a potty-training toddler all the same time. I don't regret my decision. We thought we'd missed the window with Brandon, but two months later he was ready again, and we went for it. Once he got the hang of it all, he was done. He was 2 1/2. A month later, after weeks of dry naps and many discussions with a friend with more kids than me, Brandon went diaperless during his nap. Golden. In another 6 weeks, after countless dry nights, we were done there, too. This was three months before his third birthday. We were done! I boxed up the remaining diapers and pull-ups (and we had a lot), and focused on how to keep Brandon's pants up without the extra padding of the diapers (he was a skinny boy then, too!).

Many, many people told me how easy I had it with Brandon. I'm no fool - I knew he was a mellow child. Still, when you're potty training your first child you really have nothing to compare it to. Caitlin was always my problem diaper child. Allergic to everything, blowing out of the diapers, and unpredictable (for example, Brandon didn't poop anywhere but at home. Caitlin thought that anywhere was fine!). It seems, though, that when Caitlin makes the decisions, she really wants to do it. And I just need to say "okay". I'm thrilled! And the rash going away is such a bonus! I've gone back to the Seventh Generation chlorine free diapers as a precaution, just in case the Pull-Ups aren't the reason.

Now Caitlin's starting to make noises about not wearing a diaper at night. I'm not sure I'm ready for that just yet. Brian's in business travel mode, which means I'm alone with the kids for a while. It also means I'm worn out. Early mornings, late evenings, and doing everything else in between by myself just aggravate my chronically fatigued body even more, and I don't think I'm ready for a lot of late night pajama changes! So, I'll see how much she talks about it. I hope it's coming soon. She's almost 4. It would be a nice Christmas present to have a diaper-free house!

Friday, October 02, 2009

The Outfit of the Day

Caitlin wore this outfit all day yesterday (click on it to enlarge. You'll need to this to fully appreciate the pattern combination):

Which was only enhanced in greatness when she put on this sweatshirt to combat the cold, windy weather:

I suggested putting on a black skirt or shorts, but she refused. The pink striped shorts were prettier, she said.

I'm hoping that all the people who saw her yesterday are fully aware that she dressed her herself, with no help from her mom.

On the bright side, she did dress herself without any help. And she wore appropriate clothing for the cold weather.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Still Dragging

Man, two days after the birthday party, and I'm still dragging. The joys of chronic fatigue. Not only do I get really tired, but things that should be routine take days to recover from. I'm not sure if I need to visit a coffee shop this afternoon or what. Caitlin and I needed to get out of the house this morning. I was in serious danger of falling asleep on the floor. That, plus the urge to clean up the mess from the weekend and get the house in order were gnawing at my brain. If I succumb to that today I may be too tired to wake up tomorrow!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Birthday Party

Wow - 10 days since my last post. We're still around. I'm still here. I'm just tired. Every time I think that we (meaning me and the kids) have adjusted to our new schedule, I'm reminded in so many tangible ways that I'm wrong!! Brandon's birthday was yet another reminder of how unprepared I've been lately.

Over the summer the local bowling alley ran a $2.00 per game special if you got there before 5 pm. We went one day at 4:45 and the whole family did two games. Our total bill, including shoes, was $22.00, I think. It was cheap. It was fun. The kids had a blast all through game one, and about halfway through game two. It was a fun thing we did as a family. On the way home Brandon announced that he wanted to have his birthday party there - well, either the bowling alley or the roller skating rink. The bowling alley was closer, and Caitlin doesn't cry at the music like she does at the roller rink.

So, off we go.....

Even thought it was at the bowling alley, I still had to prepare a few things. Goody bags and cupcakes were on the agenda. I'm a little tired of goody bags. They may go out the door in the future. I just can't see the point! But I did them this time for posterity, complete with mini-bubbles and glow sticks! Then there were the cupcakes! I had forgotten until the evening before that I was in charge of bringing cake. It was easy to forget, as the general rule at the bowling alley is no outside food allowed, except cake during birthday parties. So, due to a lot of frozen butter and short supply of sugar, I was at Safeway this morning buying cupcakes. I left with 36 of them. Yes, you read that right. 36. We only had 11 kids there! I got in my car and started to back out of the parking space before realizing how unnecessary those numbers were and returned a dozen cupcakes! Luckily the store took them back! Probably because only 5 minutes had passed since I purchased them.

Other things, besides the cupcakes, that I seemed unprepared for:
The bowling alley
While I did pay them to set up a party and provide us with food and fun, they assumed I was in charge and did nothing until I asked. I'm not use to this. No instructions. No "what is expected of the kids". No bowling guidelines. And the food was late (which was hard, since that was suppose to be the first order of business)! We did manage to keep the kids entertained by opening gifts. Little kids are almost as excited to give gifts as to receive them! It was cute.
The arcade
No, I did not know there were arcade games there. I would have brought quarters. Especially in light of the late food (see above).
Shoelaces
We had reservations about a couple of the kids that Brandon wanted to invite. The mere thought of those particular kids with bowling balls brought fear to our hearts. But never once did the horrific thought of shoelaces enter my mind! And how most kids Brandon's age have always worn velcro shoes and don't know how to tie shoelaces anymore! 20 shoes to tie. It took a while.
Shoes
No, I don't know all the sizes. Help! And returning them was another thing to keep in mind. Only one pair of shoes left the alley, which the parents returned later in the day.

In as much as I complain, we had a fun time. Brandon was so excited and happy he could hardly contain himself. Brian and I are grateful for the parents that stayed, since many kids needed a little help with aiming, bowling technique, and being told not to jump off the benches. The pizza was better than at most places, and we only left with 4 cupcakes!

And Brandon had his happy birthday party, which is what it was all about!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Happy 6th Birthday, Brandon

Six years ago today, at this hour, I was probably in the hospital in labor with my firstborn. Aahh, what memories. Painful memories (in a literal sense).

This morning, while Brandon was getting dressed for school, his zipper got stuck. He struggled and struggled with it. When I offered to help, he retorted with "I totally *do not* need your help, Mom!"

So much for turning 6 today. I think he's turning 13 and is just really short for his age.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Caitlin and the Dime

Tonight, as I was putting her diaper on for bed, Caitlin looked up at me with big, sorrowful eyes and said "Mommy, I don't want to talk to you." I wasn't sure why she would say that, so I treated it lightly and said "Why, honey. Don't you like me anymore?" Caitlin answered with "I love you Mommy. I just don't want to tell you." "Tell me what, sweetie." "That I swallowed the money."

A few minutes earlier Caitlin had found a Canadian dime on the floor. We didn't come home with much change, but we did have some change on us, and the kids took to it immediately. They get money from time to time, but have not put it in their mouths (at least not that I'm aware of).

So now I have a preschooler laying up in her room with a dime in her tummy. Should I be worried? There is no after-hours pediatric nurse at the pediatric office. Should I wait until morning to call? Should I try harder to find answers? Brandon didn't do stuff like this. Then again, Caitlin hasn't either. I just don't know.

I'll keep you updated.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

People Of Wal-Mart

People of Wal-Mart. Have you seen this one? Makes me feel very, very normal. And glad that I don't work at Wal-Mart.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Homework

Brandon has had one homework assignment so far - picking out a reading place in the house. He needed to do a good quality drawing of that place (according to the sheet), and answer several questions. The first question was "What room are you in?" (where is your special reading spot). His answer- "My bedroom". Another questions was "What will help you focus?" Brandon's answer - "my sister not in my room." Although I couldn't agree more, these were his unprompted words, not mine. My mom, a former preschool teacher, had a great idea of having Caitlin do her own homework, and got her a large basic skills comprehension book at Costco, with tear-out pages. Each time Brandon does his homework, Caitlin can do hers. Brandon has never really been excited about the prospect of homework, but Caitlin couldn't wait to do hers!! She was very intent on coloring all the yellow objects, and stayed inside the lines better than Brandon did at the same age.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Got A Call Today

Got a call today from Brandon's school. The administrator said it wasn't an emergency, but that I should call her when I get a chance. I was a little apprehensive, but calmly called the school to see what it was they had to say. The office had gotten a call from Brandon's teacher saying he was sitting in his class sucking on his arm and leaving little red marks. So that's what they were! Brandon's been sitting in class giving himself little hickeys! Brian and I had seen one over the weekend, but failed to recognize the tell-tale hickey mark for what it really was. Are we so old that we don't know a hickey when we see one?

On one hand, it's just a hickey or two (or three or four, as Brandon's arm points out). We can completely imagine Brandon sitting in his class, silently listening to his teacher, all the time sucking away on his arm. On the other hand, it seems to be a sign of stress that the all day schedule is a little more demanding than he's use to. Brandon and Caitlin are both still adjusting to school. Brian and I have been loving the early bedtimes, and I have been relishing the few hours I get to myself when both kids are in school. But neither on of us likes the increase in whining and crying that has happened since school started! Not long after we moved here I met a woman who told me that my kids were the whiniest children she'd ever met (so much for wanting to explore that friendship!). At the time I didn't agree with her, but in the last couple of weeks I've changed my mind. I guess this one just one more thing that I need to get use to. The kids and I are a little exhausted from our last week of school. Getting up so early is new to all of us, and the 8:00 - 2:30 school day is still a little rough on Brandon. Next week he gets homework! We'll see how that all goes. For now Brandon will just need to adjust. To learn how to be a first grader and be in school all day. Without sucking on his arm.

Brandon Plays Peek-A-Boo

5 years ago today I took this video with my camera. Brandon would stand up, giggle hysterically, and then fall back down behind the table again. Unbeknowst to his buddy Max, Brandon was playing peek-a-boo. This had happened once before when Brian and I were eating at Yoshinoya, but that had been about a month earlier. Max, the object of Brandon's game, was fairly oblivious to the fact Brandon was playing a game with him, but Brandon kept playing anyway. To Max, balancing was much more important. But that didn't stop Brandon.

I watch this video when I've had a bad day, or just need a giggle. And, Leanne, I always think of you and our friendship when I watch it.

video

**note the mullet on Brandon. I cut it off that evening. It grew in quickly, and we hadn't noticed it. But once we did man, it came right off!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Suburban Housewife

Mid-morning, around 10:00 am, I drove my SUV to the mall to get a gift for a birthday party tomorrow. I promised Caitlin she could play in the play area before we left. I was a little tired from my early mornings, so I stopped by Starbucks to get a cup of coffee. There I was, sitting in the play area in my capri sweats and Sketchers shoes, drinking my Starbucks coffee. Next to me was a bag from Williams-Sonoma, where I had purchased a baking sheet. Oh my gosh! How suburban housewife of me!!

The store at the mall didn't have the gift I was looking for. After Caitlin was done playing we headed over to Michael's, which did have the necklace kit I wanted. Next to it were several very cool toys on clearance (I picked up a full-sized Etch-A-Sketch for $2.99!), so I grabbed a few for future birthday parties. So suburban housewife of me.

Does the fact that the birthday party is at Chuck-E-Cheese's make me more suburban?


Do urban moms do it differently?

Second Day of School

In the blur of yesterday, I forgot to take a few pictures of school. Today I remembered to take my camera with me to school, and got a few pictures of the lineup. The don't capture the craziness of yesterday, but they do show the kids lining up. Trying to corral Caitlin in all this mess isn't fun, and the other kids don't watch where they're going. I'm trying to imagine doing this in the cold, snow and ice, but it's not happening! Maybe soon I can start trading off with my neighbor, and then I won't have to do this every single morning!




Thursday, August 20, 2009

On Entering First Grade

Brandon started first grade today! I'm so proud. I think he is, too. While he hasn't wished summer never happened, like a friend's little boy, he is happy to be back in school.

Yesterday was our last truly free day of the summer. I didn't sleep well on Monday night, probably because I knew I needed to wake early to take Caitlin in for her first day of school. So yesterday I wanted to sleep in! I'll be getting up at 6:00 daily, and getting the kids up before 7:00 am to get ready for school. The kids, of course, decided to be rise early, around 7:00 am. I heard them playing quietly in Caitlin's room. Still wanting to sleep, I softly shut the door to my room, and got another hour and half before the kids came in, hungry for breakfast! Amazing! We all went to the pool yesterday afternoon/evening to swim, and to wear them out! With Brian gone, I'm worn out by 6:00 pm. The pool was followed by Brandon's favorite dinner of Alfredo chicken with pasta, and some edamame on the side. The kids were asleep by 8:15.

We woke up bright and early. The late bell at school rings at 7:55 am. Bleah. And both kids have to get ready now. It's not usually an issue, but little Miss Independent, aka Caitlin, can make mountains out of molehills while getting dressed and during breakfast. We were out the door at 7:38, and still barley managed to get down to the lower playground, all the way in the back of the school, to line up by the time the bell rang. The hoards of kids and parents were hard to get through. I hope it settles down soon! Brandon was so happy to find his friends and get in line. I didn't expect any tears, from him or me, so I was quite surprised to feel some welling up in my eyes as Brandon headed off to his classroom. This is the last day of this stage -the end of raising my kids as I know. The end of having them home all time.

I know I'm not done raising them, by any means, but my role is changing. Brandon's life will be influenced by his friends, good or bad, and I'm going to have to learn to adapt my parenting style around that. Brian and I will have to be more vigilant about reinforcing our Godly and family values while not being too critical of his friends. We experienced a bit of this over the summer as Brandon was heavily influenced by a new friend, to the point of having nightmares because of this friend's obsession with all things shark, ghost, and skeletons, and an almost complete lack of parental supervision.

But for now, I'm just going to enjoy the first day of school. Caitlin went to her school, and I got to do the grocery shopping without yelling. The house was eerily quiet, but only for a while. I don't think I'll have any problem adapting to that part of my new life!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Take a Chill Pill

Recently I posted a few photos to Facebook. Nothing big, just a few photos of me and some friends from high school. Were we doing anything crazy? No! Not at all (unless you think sitting around a table in formal dresses is crazy. You may, who knows?). But yet the uproar, the furor, the "How could you?"!!!! It's been a little too much for me. I deleted the comments. Heck, I deleted the pictures. I can't take the comments anymore. Really, folks, those pictures are not that bad. You're just 12, or 15, or whatever. Seriously, I love, love, love to see old pictures of my friends. Pictures of them from their childhoods.

Apparently I'm the only one.

What is everyone so afraid of? Have you not reconciled with your past, people? Have you not accepted who you use to be? Is is totally different from who you are today? If yes, then I can accept that. But most of us are not all that different than who we were in the past. And, especially in this case, those pictures do not convey *anything* from any crazy sort of past that the people in the picture may have had. We're high school students! Doing nothing but being part of a stupid organization. Yearbook pictures have proven to be more offensive!!

And yet you, my Facebook friend, have chosen to get all riled up about it all. Calm down! Seriously. You're being weird.

As you can clearly see, this is bothering me.

So, I'm taking a break. Again, for my own sanity. Deleted the pics. Cleared my status. Checked my old friend's profiles, maybe for the last time (since I'll probably be deleted from their Facebook pages for this). And now I take a deep breath. Relax. Realize that I'm really okay - they are the weird ones. The ones who can't handle it.

Speaking of being bothered - then there are the ones who have deleted me from Facebook. Granted, they're not really friends of mine in life. Just acquaintances. Those whose names we don't remember year to year when our social circles change. But I still get offended when people request me as a friend on Facebook, then make the conscious choice to delete me. Do they think I won't know? Again, though - why does this bother me? I think it's the conscious choice aspect of it all. Even though I see these people regularly, we aren't friends, so it shouldn't bother me. But it does. And I haven't been able to change that part of my brain to think differently about the situation.

Relax.

Breathe.

Don't check things for a while. Lay low.

This is not, I repeat, not at all important! It's only Facebook.

First Day of Preschool

Caitlin, in her mind, became the biggest of big girls today. She has achieved a milestone - her first day of preschool!!!

Caitlin has wanted to go to preschool since Brandon went just two short years ago. She was only 19 months old, and so badly wanted to stay at the school with her big brother. Once she figured out that I'd let her play for a while after school either in the playground or in the gym, she was better. Still, dropping Brandon off was always a challenge with Caitlin in tow.

She's told me all about when she gets to go to school. All the time for the last two years! And today it finally happened. Brandon, Caitlin and I all managed to get up early, get dressed and have breakfast in plenty of time to leave at 8:15. We even managed to get in a few pictures:


Dancing with excitement! (She is wearing her 'dancy dance' shoes, so that could have something to do with it!)


Caitlin's About Me Poster for school


Playing on the circle rug, wondering why the kid behind her is crying



Monday, August 17, 2009

What You See When Chris Shows Up

He only had access to the company van when he was in Colorado. We certainly didn't mind, and were happy to see him. But this is what I saw outside my house when I came home from the store. I laughed out loud. Wonder what the neighbors were thinking?



Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chick Lit for Guys?

I know nothing about this book, but the title made me laugh out loud. Jane Austen for guys, anyone?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Unblogged Summer

Summer's almost over and I've barely written. School starts next week, and I don't know where summer went sometime between school getting out in May and now. It's been a strange summer. Different in many ways than what I've been use to. Different than what I might have thought it would be like, had I thought about it. This summer brought home the understanding of what other mothers meant when they said how different their summers were from their school years. Having small children at home at the time, I really didn't get what they meant Summers were relatively the same for me, only with less activity from the outside world. Now however, after having a stricter routine during the school year, I understand. But before I forget the point of this blog, I'll let you know what we've been up to.

School got out the end of May. I don't remember much about that time, since I got sick the last week of school. Thanks to many pharmaceuticals, I navigated my way through Brandon's end-of-the-year activities and successfully attended the ceremonies and parties that brought him out of kindergarten and into first grade. The weeks after that were a blur, since I spend the next two camped out on the couch, unable to get any pharmaceuticals to work on the horrible cold I had, and thus taking nothing to relieve the symptoms. To let you in on how sick I was, I took $300 out of the bank for grocery cash in mid-May. I forgot about it! Seriously - $300 that I forgot about. I don't forget about money. I only recently found it (2 months later), in an envelope in a drawer, along with the the bank receipt. Once I saw the date, bits and pieces of the month (the stuff I remember) came flooding back

We got new neighbors the last weekend of school. A little boy who is only one week older than Brandon moved in three houses down. They became instant friends. Mom works and Dad stays home with the boy/ Brandon and Caitlin love playing at his house, and the dad and I became acquaintances through our kids. It was nice to have someone to talk to on our street. Our town has excellent schools, and is known for having a lot of kids, but none of those kids seemed to live on our little isolated street. The whole neighbor thing has been a mixed blessing, though (with emphasis on "mixed"). The neighbor boy is a fairly unsupervised child and would come over to our house at the most random times - like, right after he'd eaten breakfast. I'd still be in my nightgown and the kids weren't even awake! His dad would call me, wondering if his son was at our house. Wondering??? If???? His parenting style was much much different than mine. I don't allow my kids to roam free. And there was always drama. Too much drama.

In late June and early July we took off for a couple of weeks back to California. We spent several wonderful days in south Lake Tahoe with our friends the S's, from our old 'hood back in S-town. Brandon and Emily played together like they'd never been apart, and Caitlin and Josh, only 6 weeks apart, started playing together, too. We swam in the pool, ate good food, and enjoyed being with friends we love and miss.

After Tahoe, we headed down to my parent's place in the central valley, and amazing did not melt in the hot temps. Both my brothers took time to come to my parents house while we were there. My sister had moved back home after her husband went to South Korea, so we saw her, too. I'm glad she was there, as she is moving to S. Korea in two days and I won't see her for a while!

The trip to my parent's house was followed by a trip to Brian's parent's house back in the bay area. At this point, we were expert packers! Brian's mom and sister organized a surprise open house, and we got to see many of our old friends. It was overwhelming. Wonderful, but overwhelming. I almost cried when it was all done! I wanted to let everyone know how much I appreciated their taking the time to come over, but didn't know how to approach that. If you're reading this........ now you know. And Donna and Jackie did it in their usual planning style - with panache! There were crafts, fun things, and even a little bounce house for the kiddos! Our friends were amazed! Thank you, Donna and Jackie! We had a great time!

Back at home, we continued our summer with visits to friends, the park, VBS, and all sorts of other fun stuff. Brandon and our neighbor boy played a lot. The boy's friend was always over. The novelty of having a friend close by took a while to wear off. The neighborhood drama escalated recently, and the dad was asked to move out of the house. I know very little about what's been going on. One neighbor told us about the events, and the mom told me the other night that he was gone. I'd been wondering when she'd say anything. My kids have had lots of questions about why the dad is gone. I'm trying to explain it all the best I can without making him out to be the bad guy. Our neighbor has been in some form of daycare for the last couple of weeks due to all of this. It's surprisingly calmer at our house without him here all the time, but we are glad to see him when he's home. School starts up on the 20th for Brandon, and the boys will be in the same class, which has made them both very happy.

The next big thing is coming up - school! Brandon is a bona-fide first grader and will be in school all day (7:50-2:30). We'll see how he likes it this year. Of course, this is the same kid who wondered why school was so short last year (he had half day kindergarten). Caitlin will be going to preschool in one week - next Tuesday. She is so excited! I can't buy school supplies for Brandon without her asking about her supplies. She even picked out her own lunchbox at the store. She didn't even ask. Just trotted over to the display. Guess she assumed that she got to pick one out since Brandon got to pick one out! I'm excited for her. She needs a little space to be on her own, learn on her own, and be a big girl without me around. I'm exited for me, too, since I'll get a few free hours to myself during the week. Only a few, though. I'm no longer in my Thursday MOPS group, and I've turned down other offers to help out with groups or events. I'm still protective of my few, precious hours. Maybe next year.

So there you have it. The Cliff Notes version of our summer. I'm hoping that my interest in blogging will come back. Right now I'm more interested in reading other blogs instead of writing in my own. I have a lot of drafts. A lot that may or may not be publish-worthy. But with a few free hours to myself, you might get a little peek back into our lives again soon!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Pain

Caitlin hurt her finger. Here she is, showing us her hurt finger.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Not Your Client

Dear ___________:
I'm writing this letter to let you know that I am not your client.

We are friends. I like hanging out and talking with you. In some cases, our children are friends. It's wonderful. You have a home based business. It's all fine and good. Really.  I don't mind coming to your parties. I might even buy some products, provided I need them, but there's no guarantee. I might not purchase a thing. But whatever I do, please stop pestering me! I'm not your bank account, your retirement fund, your additional income that you need every month. Purchasing the products you're pushing will only happen if I want it to happen. There have been changes afoot in our household, and I am trying out a lot of things right now. Detergents, cleaners, face products - it's all up for negotiation. On top of it all, your products are not cheap. No one is selling products on sale, or even for a good price! Until I try these things on my own, I haven't determined whether or not they're worth the price you/your company are asking me to pay. The price seems inflated to me. Probably because you're selling through a multi-level marketing design. It's not your fault, but it is now something you need to learn to deal with maturely and gracefully, knowing full well that you're trying to make money off of me (even if you truly believe your product is great!). You're not there, yet. I can no longer be around you without feeling the hard sell of a businesswoman rushing into our space.

But you know what's really bothering me? I liked you. We were friends. Our kids wanted to be together, and we made play dates. It was fun. I thought there was potential. But I was wrong. After a couple of months you made it pretty clear that the 15 minute drive to my house, or anywhere in between, was too much for you. Then silence. No answers. I didn't hear from you for a while. Months and months. No play dates. Nothing. Oh, but I hear from you now! You're always calling me - inviting me to open houses, or trying to get me to buy new products. I'm not sure I like the new way I'm fitting back into your life. Something smells.

So, thanks for the re-introduction to a product I was already familiar with. I like what I've purchased. Maybe I'll purchase more. But please remember this - I am not your client. I'm just someone you once knew.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Kids and Bedtime

What is it about little kids and their inability to stay in bed in the evening? We think Caitlin is nearing the end of her napping phase of life. However, the phase is not over yet. How do we know? If she doesn't nap, she breaks down in the evenings, right around dinner time. So fun. If she does nap, she's in a much better mood in the early evenings, but then is awake for.ev.er up in her room after we put her down for bed. It's so frustrating!!!

I took the kids to the park today for a play date (not that anyone we know ever shows up on these scheduled play dates, but that's another story altogether). We were, of course, the only ones there, so I made a point to run around and play with the kids. Always a good thing, and prevented me from being shown up the incredibly fit grandparents running after their grand kids. After our lunch there, we made a quick trip to Costco, and then home. The kids were great. We had fun, no whining, shared frozen yogurt, and got all the errands done. Around 2:30 the kids had to go up to their rooms to rest. Brandon doesn't nap, but is required to stay in his room for the allotted time so that I can have a little time to myself. Caitlin wanted me to lay down with her, and I obliged. She was out in 5 minutes. Only one song played while I was in her room. She was up at 3:45. She helped me do a few things outside, rode her bike up and down the street, and generally ran around. Come bedtime, though, she's up and about. AAHHH!! What else do I need to do to wear her out?

There are the excuses... "Mommy, I need a drink."
The facts....." I need to use the bathroom."
The delays...."Mommy, I need to show you something....."
The threats ... "Caitlin, if you get out of bed one more time I will need to give you a spanking!"
and the questions..... " Mommy, will it be a hard spanking?"

Of course, sweetie. Soft spankings never did anyone any good, now, did they?

I almost can't wait for school to start, since we'll all have to be up before 7:00 am, and the kids will need to being bed by 8:00. In all reality, part of me would like the put this off. I *hate* getting up early. I'll be up at 6:00 am. And I hate that. Did I mention how much I hate getting up early in the morning? But, even within all that early morning hate, I'm hoping with the sheer exhaustion of getting up early, Caitlin will be asleep at night sooner rather than later.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Overheard on our Walk this Evening

Brandon: Something stinks around here.
Caitlin: Yeah. Probably bunny poop!

Where do they come up with this stuff?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Poor Caitlin

Poor Caitlin. All she wanted all day was to swim in the little blow-up pool in our back yard. We were busy in the morning, so I told her she could do it after naps, when it was a little warmer (which, of course, led to her not napping at all!!!). We filled up the pool around 3:30, and she played for a whole 10 minutes before our new neighbor J came over. He had his friend N with him from his old neighborhood. Now our pool has 3 overly active, screaming first grade boys in it, and Caitlin is watching "Go Deigo, Go" on the television. Brian should be home at any time, which will be the point at which I send the other kids home and am alone with my own family. I cannot wait.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Home Again, Home Again

What is it about having a family that makes unpacking from the latest adventure such a challenge? We didn't travel light this time. We didn't have to. Plus, a store near my parent's house is going out of business, and my mom had been a frequent guest in the children's clothing department. We were warned up front! I think I've gotten through most of the laundry, but the piles and suitcases that litter my floor are horrible! Tackling the unpacking for three (four this time, for some reason) became monumental this time due to the fact that I haven't gotten more than a few hours of sleep each night since we returned. I hate when my insomnia kicks in! I lay in bed for hours, not asleep but too tired to get up and do anything. By the time I have the time to unpack, I'm almost too tired to start! Top it off with the fact that we now have a new neighborhood kid who comes by *all the time*, and I'm just not getting anything done.

Last night I think I slept. I woke up 6 or 7 times, but I think I was sleeping in between. Maybe I'll get back to a somewhat normal sleep pattern soon. I haven't slept well for a couple of years now. My goal today is to get the suitcases emptied and back in the basement. With as tired as I feel, that may not happen until the weekend!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Quiet

It is really amazing how quiet it can be at home when Brian takes our spastic, loud, overly-energetic daughter out of the house so I can pack for our vacation. Her noise, coupled with her brothers knack at aggravating her, is enough to make even the most sane parent check into the mental ward.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What Caitlin Found During Storytime

Wednesday is library day. Our "town" is little more than a housing development, so there's not a lot of infrastructure. The local elementary school opens up its library on Wednesdays for kids . There's a reading program in which children who read for a certain number of minutes/hours win prizes. If you're at the library at 5:00 pm, some local person reads a story. Brandon's really into this. He *loves* to listen to stories. For example, our church back in California had a bi-weekly story time at their coffee shop, and Brandon never understood why it was so short (it was an hour). Caitlin, however, is another story.

Caitlin likes reading, or having stories read to her. It's been a struggle to get her into books, but now she likes to sit with me and read. Brandon loved books from a very young age, and can sit for hours while you read. Caitlin has issues with sitting still for long periods of time. She grew weary of the book reading yesterday, about 20 minutes into it. I had stepped outside the library with another mom, and Caitlin decided to join us. A few minutes later she decided she needed to use the bathroom, which was down the hall. Two minutes later she ran out, skirt and underwear at her ankles, excited beyond belief. "Mommy, Mommy, come look!" she yelled with passion. I ran down to see what she'd found - and to cover her up! She ran (well, shuffled) into the bathroom to show me the great thing she'd found!!!!!

The urinal.

Caitlin was in the boy's bathroom. And she'd found the urinal.

And she wanted to sit in it. She almost showed me.

I made her use the stall. She was mad at me for a good hour.

*Sigh*

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Evening Antics

What a crazy evening we had yesterday! I'm sneaking in a few minutes to blog while the kids are still napping. Yes, Brandon fell asleep, too. I'll pay for this later, but right now I'm just trying to enjoy the moment.

We've actually had a crazy week, but that's another post. Caitlin and Brandon were having an awful time going to sleep last night. Brandon has been very good about not coming out of his bedroom, but I could still hear him. Caitlin, on the other hand, must be doing cheerleader moves in her room, since it sounds like a whole troop of girls is up there! Around 10 pm I heard a huge thud. Enough to make me hustle my rear off the couch and up the stairs! What could that noise be? Caitlin (of course it was Caitlin) had managed to topple her 4 and half foot dresser! Luckily she was not hurt. However, she was sufficiently scared. I vacillated between being the concerned and caring mom, holding her and rocking her and making sure she wasn't hurt, and the stern, pissed-off mom who'd already had enough 3 year-old antics earlier in the day to fill a book! Caitlin cried and cried, and refused at first to tell me how she pulled the dresser over. She's done this before by pulling out the drawers and scaling Mount Dresser, but only on her shorter, more stable dresser. This time she wanted to see what was in the top drawer of her taller dresser. I'd taken the furniture wall mounts off the dressers a few months ago when we had to rearrange the room for her new bed, as I thought she was done climbing dressers like a rock climber. I was wrong. Guess that earthquake kit needs to come out again! I thought I was done securing furniture to walls here in Colorado.

After Caitlin finally calmed down and got back into bed, I headed back downstairs to finish whatever I'd been working on. A few minutes later Brandon came down, saying he still couldn't sleep. Caitlin's crashing dresser had roused him from his semi-sleep state, and he couldn't get tired again. We've all been there. When I sent him back to his room, he burst into tears, saying that he could see the ghosts hiding in the corners waiting to get him as soon as he closed his eyes. Ghosts! Who is putting this into my boy's head? I asked him where he'd heard it, and he told me that our new neighbor boy (who is all of one week older than Brandon) told him about ghosts (he's also introduced Brandon to Jaws, all types of sharks, and SpongeBob, which doesn't thrill me). He's a nice kid, and I love, love, love the fact that a family with a child has moved on to our formerly childless street, but the stuff he is into is very different than what Brandon's been into. This boy has been influencing Brandon more than other friends he's made in school. It's a little crazy, and I don't like it. I realize I can't hand-pick my child's friends, but I'd like to. His dad (who is the stay-at-home parent in this case) doesn't keep a close eye on him, and he's frequently roaming the street. It's a safe street, but the kid's only 5! Back to Brandon - I had to go and lay down with him in order for him to go to sleep. It only took 5 minutes, but that's not our normal routine. Nor do I want to become our routine.

It was hard for me to drift off after all the evening activity. That, coupled with rising early for VBS this week has made all of us tired.With Brian gone for the week, the craziness of doing it all myself wears me out anyway! Only a week and two days left before we leave on our summer vacation. I'm looking forward to hanging with our friends and seeing family. I think I might be able to take a breather from this crazy home life.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Soap and Mirrors

It was my turn to pick the kids up from VBS today. J's dad and I have been taking turns. Our church is just over 12 miles away, one way, so the ride-sharing is much appreciated. Approximately 5 minutes after loading the kids up in the car and heading for home, Caitlin, she of small bladder control, busts out with "Mommy, I have to potty!" Really, Caitlin? You couldn't have told me this at church, where there are bathrooms?

Using my mommy radar, I keenly observed that we were driving by a Rite-Aid drugstore. Surely they have a bathroom there! Since the law frowns upon me leaving my kids in the car when I'm in the store, I unloaded Brandon, Caitlin, and J from the car and went into Rite-Aid. They have quite nice bathrooms at this one, I must say. No actual people shopping, but really nice bathrooms. Brandon has not wanted anything to do with the women's bathroom this year, so I've been letting him have a little freedom. He can use the men's bathroom and wait for me in the hall. After Caitlin was done, we washed hands and met the boys in the hall. Brandon then told me that J had hit the soap dispenser a lot, and so hard that there was soap on the mirrors. There was no one in the men's bathrooms, so I went in to check in out.

Soap. Everywhere.

Images of Brandon and J, in high school, riding in a convertible car entered my head. Brandon's driving slowly past rural houses while J is leaning out of the car hitting the mailboxes off their posts with a baseball bat. Lovely. Coming back to reality, I notice there is foam soap all over the walls, two mirrors, the sink and the floor. Foam soap! How hard to you have to hit the dispenser to get this stuff to fly? And why would you? Seriously, J? What is wrong with you? Hasn't anyone ever told you that this stuff is wrong?

After 10 minutes of mopping up soap and wiping down mirrors and cleaning up as best as one can when all you have is public bathroom paper towels , we finally left he store. I kept my head down and rushed out so that the security cameras wouldn't see my face. I was ashamed to have this kid under my watch. Why would he do that? My kids wouldn't, and they're pretty average kids. Is it because he's unsupervised? He hasn't lived next door for very long, and I can already see that he gets away with a lot. I just don't know. This is a bit crazy for me. I hope it doesn't get worse.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hailing

It was hailing outside. In June! Pea to marble sized hail fell for about 5 minutes. Brandon wasn't convinced that it didn't hurt, but we did manage to keep him from going outside. Amazingly, all the noise didn't wake Caitlin. She was probably pretty exhausted from the birthday party this morning. I did have to lay with her early on in her nap, as she is no longer a fan of napping through loud thunder and lightning storms (one of the storms the other day was right above our house, I think, and the thunder made the floors and windows shake).

I'm wondering if all the hail will melt today. The highs for the last two weeks have barely reached 70.


Boy with a mouth full of hail


video

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

News You Can Use

We've had a breakthrough in the P-4 household. While it may seem blase to some, the fact that Brandon requested a salami sandwich is big news in our house. Big. It was only a few short months ago (maybe six months ago) that Brandon actually ate a piece of salami at his Nana's house. From then, he's moved on to summer sausage and us buying salami for him at the store. I'm not even sure who this child is! He is eating so many things these days. I have to say, packing lunches has gotten a lot easier now that I can toss cheese, nuts, salami and crackers in to a lunchbox and go. It's also a boon for us, since so many places have banned peanuts and peanut butter from their facilities for those few kids with allergies. Now I have another alternative for Brandon's away from home lunches. Yay Brandon! Way to go with trying new things.