Finding the joy again

This is the first year in many when I haven’t felt completely overwhelmed by the idea of Christmas looming in the distance. There have always been elaborate check lists of things that need to be done, gifts that need to be purchased, events that need to be attended, etc. While we still have all of that, for some odd reason this year I am not stressed out about it. I’m not even really done with my Christmas shopping, but yet I haven’t put much energy into what is left outstanding on my lists.

I’m not sure what I did differently this year. I have started listening to Christmas music in the car, and I have been thoroughly enjoying watching the kids react to everything that is Christmas. I’m looking forward to my Mom arriving this Friday and even more so to having her around Christmas morning to watch the kids react to the completely overblown morning of opening presents and playing with new toys. I’m no longer looking at all things Christmas as an obligation, but rather as an exciting opportunity to witness pure joy from my kids.

I am not trying to have a perfect Christmas, but rather I am trying to enjoy Christmas. I will not be spending the entire Christmas day cooking in the kitchen for the house full of company we are expecting, but there will be good food to eat. We will not have a formal sit down dinner, because that is not what we enjoy. In fact the idea of a formal sit down dinner gives me chills and raises my heart rate, but the idea of people grabbing their own food and eating buffet style makes me happy. I think life is too short to suffer through a formal meal simply because it is what you think you should do. I also think it is a shame to miss all of the joy and excitement of Christmas because you need to cook a mountain of side dishes.

It is really nice to be anticipating Christmas rather than begrudging it. I hope this gift I’ve given myself lasts for the rest of my life. It is nice to be able to say that I like Christmas and really mean it.


It's a Jib Jab Life

Yes, I am wasting a bunch of time this fine morning.

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Snowball fight

I didn't spend too much time making the heads look right for this movie, but it is still pretty funny. Enjoy!

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The card

I decided to make Christmas cards after all. I spent the bulk of yesterday evening working on the outside photo portion, and then spent the bulk of tonight working on the inside. I think it turned out pretty well. T thinks that the inside verse is cheesy, but well he didn't make them so I'm discounting his opinion *pbbt*.

So I give you the oustide of the card (click to get a larger image):
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and the inside of the card:
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To card or not to card

T and I have been married for 10 years. We have sent out Christmas cards each and every one of those years. The first card was a photo card with a wedding picture of us on it. In the years after that and before we had kids I think there was one other photo card in the mix (a picture of us with our then dog). Since The Boy was born we have sent a photo card in some shape or form. I’ve made a few of the cards myself, taking a snapshot of The Boy and editing it to make it stand out in some way. The last two years I was organized enough to schedule photo shoots with a professional photographer, so we used cards from her. This year I haven’t given it much thought. I was living in bliss pretending that I wasn’t going to let the idea of Christmas cards haunt me, that we would just skip it this year. That was until I started getting Christmas cards in the mail.

Now I find myself daydreaming at work, wondering what fun idea I can come up with for homemade photo cards. I do have an ample supply of cardstock, and the 4x6 photo printer to draw from. I just need some inspiration. Sometimes I can just look through pictures of the kids and it will hit me, but not this year. I like making photo cards of the kids, but I can’t just send a random picture, I feel the need to show off my mad Photoshop skills. The card is a vehicle to show off my
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incredibly cute children, and to show that I do have some creativity crammed inside of my analytical head. So much self-imposed pressure wrapped up into a Christmas card *sigh*.

I asked T whether he cares if we send Christmas cards this year, and he answered with a resounding NO. I knew all along that the cards were my thing, but he confirmed it for me. Part of me does want to skip the whole rigmarole, but another part loves getting cards from friends and family and wants to keep up the tradition. I tend to get really wrapped up in my work, the house, the kids, T, and I forget to take the time to tend to my old friendships. Sometimes the card at Christmas is the only contact we have with some of our friends, and I guess I like holding onto the past. Even though life has changed and we’ve grown apart from some friends, I still do wish them well, and want to remember them around the holidays. I guess I’ve just answered for myself; to card it is…now to find some inspiration quickly.


Extended Calves

I've never liked that term. I am the proud owner of big old muscular calves. Even if managed to shrink from my current size 6 frame I would still be the proud owner of big old muscular calves. It is a blessing and a curse. For the most part I don't mind my calves, they are what they are, and I don't put much thought into wishing they were smaller. The one exception is when I see someone wearing big tall boots. I get a little twinge of envy. I start remembering the shopping trip with my two girlfriends to find me a pair of tall boots.
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I didn't buy any boots that day. I must have tried on at least 10 pairs of boots, but none of them fit over my monstrous calves. I was deflated. I wanted my slut boots, but the gods were telling me to go back home and forget about it.

Oh sure I could have just ordered a nice pair of Extended Calf boots, because at that point I couldn't find any such animal in the stores. I didn't want to buy boots by mail order, I wanted to try them on first. It was a huge buzz kill. I wanted those boots, was convinced I needed them, but was left with a horrible taste in my mouth when I couldn't find any that fit.

Now it is at least 6 or maybe 7 years later and I still don't have any slut boots. I still want some. I think I've gotten over the extended calf name now, and can live with the fact that I can't fit into normal boots. What I really want to know is do the rest of you really have calves that are so tiny??? I mean my calves aren't that big. Do you have trouble standing for long periods of time? I mean obviously I must need that chunk of muscle for something, so what is my genetic advantage doing for me? It must be an advantage right?


Angel on the treadmill

It is winter here in the frozen north. We've gotten enough snow this week that I have traded in my morning outdoor runs for morning treadmill runs. Truth be told I've been intermingling treadmill runs in my routine for about a month, because sometimes it is just too cold to run outside...and dark. I used to just settle for watching the local news while on the treadmill, it is okay but they repeat themselves every 15 minutes or so which gets old.

A while back I was flipping through channels and settled on Angel on TNT. I had one brief stint in time of watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so I wasn't unfamiliar with Angel. I decided it was worth a shot, and now I am hooked. I now spend less time slurping my pre-run coffee and checking email because I want to get down to the treadmill so I can see more of Angel. It seems to be on at 5 AM and 6 AM each and every weekday morning. I typically catch the end of the 5 AM show, and the beginning of the 6 AM show. This is okay, but it leaves me with big blanks in the happenings of the show. Thankfully they do a good job of recapping previous shows at the beginning of episodes, but I still have to piece together many details. I also have to endure really long commercial breaks, which isn't ideal.

So what is a girl to do? I could buy Angel seasons on DVD, but I don't think I would want to watch them multiple times. I think the better solution is to get a netflix subscription so I can rent Angel seasons, and then other shows when I'm done with Angel...I should start with Buffy I suppose....Charmed looks interesting to fill this treadmill viewing need too. The other option would be to get a second DVR so I can watch recorded shows in the basement, so many choices to make and so much of my cheapness to set in and stop all of them...I predict more parts of shows with plenty of commercials in my future.


We interrupt this show

My kids lead very sheltered lives. They watch the majority of their TV shows from recordings on our DVR, PBS kids live, sometimes Playhouse Disney live, and very occasionally Noggin live. All of these formats share the common thread of no commercials during the actual shows. They all have their own little versions of commercials in between shows, but there are typically no show interruptions to contend with.

This holiday season we've been letting the kids watch Christmas special shows on Live network television, with *gasp* commercials. As soon as a commercial comes on The Girl screams "I don't like this show," and is quite upset, assuming we have changed the channel without her approval. The Boy has caught on, he used to protest similarly, now he just says "it's just a commercial."


Excuses, Who needs excuses?

I have been absent from this blog. I blame work. I blame the kids. I blame everything else in my life, oh and I blame myself. I have no good excuses, just the fact that work has stepped up to an entirely new level of busy in the past few months. I have very little downtime at work. I've had to stop (mostly) surfing my message board addictions, and forget about posting on them. After the kids are asleep for the night I find that I have no witty banter left in me, and I never feel much like just writing something for the sake of filling up space (no offence to all of you NoBloPo folks but frankly your posts every single frick'n day of November were not always up to your usual standards...not that I had time to read all of them). I decided that while everyone else was posting every day of November I would post very few days of November, you know to balance things out. Okay I didn't really think that through, but in hindsight it sounds probable.

I will try to post more this month, but I've also decided to try to make my default (meaning that I can do that distance on autopilot) 4 mile runs turn into default 5 mile runs this winter and if I have to pick one goal I think the running one will win.


Rookie mistakes

The Boy started preschool this year. It has been an interesting time. The first few weeks he was completely thrilled with school, asking every day if it was a school day. We were excited because he seemed to be flourishing. Then he started not wanting to go to school. T came home one day (after picking The Boy and his carpool buddy up from preschool) and told me that the teachers were concerned because The Boy had been “sad” that day. I picked him up the next time, and his main teacher expressed the same concern to me. There was talk of a special program The Boy could participate in, a program that involved being pulled out of his class for ten minutes a time, to work on his “self-esteem.”

My knee jerk reaction was to be appalled by the program. The whole point of him being in a big group preschool was for him to get used to a group of kids his age. His self esteem is fine. We talked about it for a while and decided that my knee jerk reaction was right for him. We didn’t sign the permission slip and there has been no mention of it since. There has, however, been mention of the teacher with the “mean voice” from The Boy. It seems that one of the teachers is a bit too forceful for our sensitive little guy to handle. He is afraid of her. I was so impressed that he was able to articulate his fears to me that I made the mistake of focusing on them way too much. I think what I effectively did was to validate his fears and enforce them. I’m such a rookie.

We had a week of The Boy refusing to ride with his carpool (to get from daycare to preschool), and now we are at a point of asking our DCP to help physically force him into the carpool vehicle. At school he is fine. He has a great time. When we pick him up he is all smiles and will profess that he loves school…until it is preschool day again. Tomorrow is another preschool day, and my guess is that he will tell me that he wants to stay at daycare instead of going to school. I will ignore and redirect and tell me that he will have lots of fun at preschool, remind him of all of the fun crafts they do there, and grit my teeth and hope that today is the day he remembers how fun school is.

Rookie mistakes, how many more do you think I can make this year?


Super Why the costume

I just had to share the great success we had with the Super Why costume. T's Mom made the costume basically from scratch, and without a pattern. We couldn't find green pajamas, though after reading the comments on my Super Why post we might have been able to find a solution...the unitards would be perfect but then $50 is A LOT for a part of a Halloween costume no? My handiwork was limited to scrounging a SuperWhy graphic from the PBS kids website, and printing it onto iron on paper (T ironed it on because I got performance anxiety). The Boy had a long sleeved blue shirt already so it became the under layer, otherwise the costume is all thanks to T's fabulous Mom. We love you!

So without further ado, here is The Boy modeling his Super Why costume at his daycare Halloween party last night:
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If you are looking for Super Why costume ideas please see this post, that I have added after getting many comments here and emails about this subject.

And well because she is so darn cute as a cowgirl (She insists Jessie from Toy Story 2):
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A traveling Mom

It is my last night away from home this week. I miss my own bed, my kids, my husband, and just being able to change into comfy yoga pants upon finishing my work day.

Sometimes I let myself slip into the mode of a non traveling working Mom, but then I am jolted back to reality with a 3 night (really 4 nights away from the kids) trip. It is on these trips, these lonely nights in hotel rooms, that I start to consider looking for another job. Certainly there are good things about my job, but how do I get past the fact that the travel is ever present? It is like a threat that is constantly hanging over my head. I live in fear of the next project that will take me away from my children for several nights in many different stretches. It is part of my job. It is part of my life, but it is a part of my life that can sometimes take long vacations. When I'm on vacation from traveling I become the normal working Mom who just has to juggle the normal working mom stuff, and I really like my life. I like working. I like being with my kids in the morning and the evening (well sometimes those mornings can still be a bit hectic and drive me a little crazy). Then a trip appears on my calendar, and the dread sets in.

My husband is fabulous, he never complains about my travel, or the fact that he has to shoulder all of the childcare while I am gone. Sometimes I wish he would complain just a little bit though. I wish he didn't make it so easy for me to travel. I don't prep things for him. I don't make a list of things that need to be done, I don't set out clothing for the kids. I know he can handle it, and that the kids will be fed and happy (though they might not get vegetables with dinner). I just take care of me, and go. I call each night to check in with him and talk to the kids, sometimes we Skype with the webcams, sometimes we just talk. I can see them at home just having a normal evening, a normal evening that I want to be part of. I'm not missing any milestones. I'm not scarring my children for life. I am just missing the day-to-day. You simply cannot connect with a four year old and a two year old over the phone the same way you can in person. Even with the benefit of the webcam it isn't the same. I am not there. I cannot kiss their heads, smooth The Boy's soft soft hair with my hand, cuddle with The Girl, rock her before bed, pretend to sit on her when she scurries into her bedroom and climbs up into the rocking chair in the dark all the while giggling and waiting for me to say "where is she? Why is this seat so lumpy? Oh there she is!", come back into The Boy's room to give him one more big squish. I miss the normal stuff.

I know I am not the only traveling Mom out there. I'd like to be a beacon of hope to other traveling Moms, or at least get to the point that the prospect of travel doesn't fill me with dread. I don't know how to get there though. Is it possible to travel for work frequently without letting it get you down? How do all of those traveling Dad's cope? Is it just too different to compare?


Searching for inspiration

I’ve ready many blog posts in this spirit, and since I am struggling for inspiration lately I thought I would create one of my own. I was reading through the keywords that brought people to my blog, and wanted to share a few with you.

Babysitter calculator – Also babysitting rate calculator, babysitting calculator, how much to pay a babysitter, babysitter pay calculator, baby sitter rate calculator, babysitter rate calculator, how much to pay a babysitter per hour…I could go on for a few more paragraphs though my absolute favorite is: what to pay a one time babysitter – is that like a one night stand, it sounds kind of dirty.

Johnny and the sprites songs – see also Johnny and the sprites theme song or “Johnny and the sprites” theme song, and perhaps goofy sprites, Johnny and the sprites minnie show, Johnny and the sprites pictures, and my favorite: Johnny and the sprites horrible. I think the bounce rate was pretty high for most of those searches. Sorry, I guess my Johnny and the Sprites hatred isn’t shared by everyone.

“b cup” padded – hmmm I only wish I could still claim to be that size.

“leave the door open” pee – um okay, see also: blog modesty pee – 100% bounce rate…I guess I wasn’t exactly what that searcher had in mind…though I have no idea what you’d be looking for with that search. There was also: peeing with the door open – you too?

Are hot tubs trashy? – Well not necessarily but I suppose if you filled one with cigarette butts as my kids like to do they can be.

Drain hot tub when going on vacation – but then how will you attract a good housesitter?

How hot can hottub water be for a 10 month old baby? – I say just leave the baby out of the hot tub; he will probably just pee in it anyway.

Biting siblings 4 years old – there is no better activity

How to cook beef jerky fast – I think you just go to the store and buy it, aside from that I say just don’t bother

Slim-fast running – If you can keep down a can of slim-fast while running I admire you, I’m pretty sure it would make me vomit.

The best treadmilling shoes – just in case you don’t know, ‘treadmilling’ is not a real word.

www .you tub .com – Is this a spin-off from YouTube? I don’t want to think about the target audience of YouTub.

Okay there are many more, but I’ve grown bored with this activity.


Super Why!

Move over Tyrone, Tasha, Uniqua, Austin, and Pablo, you’ve been replaced as the most beloved in our DVR line-up. Super Whyatt (not my spelling error) has come to town, and The Boy is in love with him. He has figured out how to run the DVR on his own, and can make Super Why appear on a whim. We have had to correct him several times, insisting that he must get permission from us before he watches a television show. It is a little cute, a little disturbing, and a little weird for me to see him so obsessed with something. He has never been one to fixate on one thing for a prolonged period (well he has held on rather strongly to the notion that if he asks for something for Christmas it will appear under our tree Christmas morning…boy is he going to be disappointed when he doesn’t get the 5000 things he has asked for already).

T’s Mom is busy making The Boy a Super Why costume for Halloween, which has me hunting for plain green knit pajamas (which apparently don’t exist). The Boy is adamant that the costume be green with a BLUE cape, and that he have a green mask for over his eyes. He even made himself a “super computer” at daycare last week. An old cigar box with buttons (as in buttons from clothing) glued inside did the trick for him. He also begged his daycare provider to give him some letters so he could spell Super Why. Our DCP is not big on doing letter drills with the kids, since her daycare is modeled after a Waldorf style of play centered activities, but she did end up digging up some letters after he prodded her for a few days. He promptly found a “W” and a “Y” and told her that he just needed an “H” so he could spell Super Why. This is the same boy who got mad at me just a few months ago when I tried to get him to say the alphabet. He is now walking around saying “Ta ta, teeee, wuh, wuh, double-u.”

I have to say that I really believe that most of this is coming from just watching Super Why (albeit every single day). He did start preschool this year, but as far as I can tell they do not do any sort of letter drills just yet. It is shocking that a PBS show can really teach kids when they are ready for it (The Girl is not as big on the show…and would prefer to be watching The Backyardigans or Curious George, or anything else). Of course he has been playing on starfall occasionally for a few months, so perhaps the Super Why is just reinforcing things he has seen before…in a much more fun way. I guess it is okay for him to be focused on reading right now, even if it wasn’t my intent to force it upon him so soon. I really do want him to just be a kid, and to learn through play before classroom learning comes and takes the fun out of everything. I’m all at once happy that he is making such progress and sad that my little boy is getting sucked into the world of phonics.


Comfortably numb

I know that when the kids are behaving horribly it only makes matters worse when I get angry. If I get angry, they sense it, and their behavior gets worse. I know this yet, sometimes I find myself in that cycle of increasing anger anyway. When your children wake you up at 4:30 AM, and you are all over tired and miserable it is hard to behave rationally. The children are crabby, and more prone to horrible behavior, and I am less likely to deal with the horrible behavior in a good way.

It is on days like those when I want to be the one who leaves for work first, the one who doesn’t have to get the kids from a state of pajamas and empty tummies, to one of daycare appropriate clothing and at least partially filled tummies. I want to be the one who doesn’t have to fight with the children to get them into the car. I want to be the one who can calmly tell me later “you shouldn’t let it get to you so much.” I want to be the one who thinks first about his need to get to work, and how much work he needs to accomplish this day, rather than about the hundreds of little things that need to be done for the children and for the household. I want to be the one who calls home at 5:30 PM and asks if I’ve already picked up the kids from daycare (daycare that closes at 5:30 PM). I want to be the one who can work from 7 AM until 6 PM with no thought of how my children got from their beds to daycare and back home again. I want to be the one whose job comes first, whose job is more important, and who’s simply not able to leave work after working for 8 hours. I want to be the one who can come home and eat dinner and then sit on the couch reading a book until one of the children or I make him engage the family in some way. I want to be the one who the children scream “Not you, only Mommy can do it” at when I try to help them. I want to be the one who can turn off all things family while I’m at work. I want to be the one who doesn’t have to worry about how all of that yelling in the morning is shaping our children negatively. I want to disengage at will.

I want all of it, or at least I would want it, until I had it for five minutes.

PS. To lighten the mood a bit, I just have to post a shout out to my Mom. Happy 60th Birthday Mom! I hope you are having a fabulous time in Vegas with my dear brother and his dear wife, can't wait to see you next month!


Sharing the cuteness

Upper left: The Boy on his first day of school
Upper right: The Girl demonstrates her shirt over her head skills
Bottom row: Hanging at the zoo
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Give me a boost(er seat)

The Boy is four years old, and just maybe a pound or two shy of 40 pounds. Our current carseat situation includes a grand total of four carseats (make that five with the one we purchased yesterday evening). We have a pair of Britax Marathons, and a pair of Evenflo Triumph Vs that remain in our vehicles. This pairing has worked well for us since The Girl outgrew her infant bucket seat. We purchased the Marathons because they allow for 5-point harness usage up to 60 pounds.

We had intended to continue using this pairing of carseats until The Girl reached the height/and or weight limit for the Triumph seats, but we now have a snag in that plan. The Boy began preschool last week. He needs to get from daycare to preschool and then from preschool to home two days per week. We were very thankful that another of his daycare mates is in his preschool class, as this meant we could come up with a carpool arrangement. The snag in the carseat paring comes in when we concluded that it just isn’t possible to fit even the tiny portable low-back booster (our fifth carseat) between the two carseats in my 2000 Honda CRV. There isn’t even a shoulder belt in that position so even if we could fit the carseat there it wouldn’t be safe.

We’ve decided to buy The Boy a booster seat to use in my car from here on out. When his buddy is in the car with him, he will ride in the Marathon (which will otherwise become The Girl’s), and she will ride in the booster seat. When he is in the car with his sister he will ride in the booster seat. As we were contemplating this carseat switcheroo I started seeing the memory You Tube video of the little boy who died when his seatbelt failed in my head, but I had to squash it. I just can’t see spending the money on another Marathon at this point. A big part of me really looks forward to The Boy being able to easily fasten his own seat belt in the booster seat…one less kid to strap in sounds downright heavenly to me. Does it make me a bad Mom to not want to deal with a 5-point harness anymore?
We are looking at the Britax Parkway, anyone have it or another you could tell me about?


Sizing it up

I was recently shopping for some fall clothing for my kids (at Target). The Girl needed some new pants and a few long-sleeved shirts that don't scream "this is a hand-me-down from my brother can't you tell!" The Boy needed a new fall jacket, and a few pairs of pants. I had good luck finding the items for The Girl, she is a tall 2 year old with a long torso, so she is generally wearing size 2T (only if it sports an adjustable waistband) for pants and a 3T for shirts.

The Boy is a little trickier to shop for though. He has the same micro waist his sister has so adjustable waistbands are a necessity. He is almost too tall for 4T pants now, but I guess we will just make him wear high-waters this fall. I am at a loss for what size to buy him. I do occasionally see 5T sized clothes, but not always. I've ventured over to the "boys" section and see size 4 and size 5 clothing, but when comparing to the T series clothes they seem much bigger and baggier (which translates to very sloppy looking 4 year old). Does it make sense that a 5T sized shirt would look like it fits The Boy well, but a size 4/5 shirt looks like he is borrowing one of my old shirts for the day? Is this a result of style, do I just have to get used to my cute little boy swimming in his clothing before he can even demand such a thing?

I found this website, which gives a great summary of the size ranges for kids clothing. I think I will take The Boy's measurements to see where he falls.



I wrote this post several months ago, but never published it, then came back to it again a few months later and still didn't publish it. I decided that today is a fitting day to finally take these thoughts out of my computer and share them with you.

As I was driving to work one morning a few weeks ago I was flipping between radio stations searching for decent music. I stumbled upon a station playing a compilation song. Perhaps this is a local phenomenon, but I’d guess not. I couldn’t tell you the song it was put to because I didn’t listen for very long. It was some sort of tribute to the US troops fighting the war in Iraq or other various places. It was a touching song, with snippets from people who called in to offer their support and well wishes. I felt like vomiting. I changed the station settling on a Jewel song which wasn’t much of an improvement. Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against offering words of support to our troops, but I don’t want to hear a tacky radio compilation of poor voice quality recordings intermingled with music. It reminded me of my drive back from Denver after September 11th, 2001. I’d been flying to San Francisco the morning of September 11th, and when they grounded all air traffic we were forced to divert to Denver. I won’t go into details, but I ended up managing to borrow a car from my company’s Denver sales office to get me back home. I didn’t want to wait out the air traffic nightmare to get me home.

Along my long drive home I flipped endlessly between radio stations, and it seemed that compilation songs were everywhere. I finally stopped at a Target en route to buy some CDs so I had other options. I don’t think I was ever bothered by compilation songs before that drive home, but now whenever I hear one I go right back to that trip. I’m not sure why it stirs up such a negative response from me; the trip back wasn’t all that horrible. I did have an intense longing to get back home as quickly as possible. I think every single person who had my cell phone number (and even some who didn’t have it before that day) called me on September 11th to make sure I was safe. They all knew I was a frequent flier and wanted to make sure that by some crazy coincidence I wasn’t on one of the ill-fated flights. I felt tremendously loved; family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances called to check on me. I think many people felt an urge to just hunker down with their families after such a tragedy, and that was certainly the case for me. I needed to get back home as quickly as possible, driving all the way from Denver to Lincoln, Nebraska in one evening, and continuing home the next morning.

I wasn’t one to want to sit and watch the news coverage of the tragedy for hours upon hours though. Mostly I wanted to be home, to feel grounded, and return to some sort of normalcy. Listening to the compilation songs was only making me think more about the tragic events, and was bringing me down. Some people need to deal with catastrophes by learning all that they can about why it happened. I need to move on quickly so I don’t bog myself down with depressing details. That may sound callous, but that is how I function. I guess I am the same way with the war in Iraq. I catch my updates on The Daily Show, but aside from that I mostly tune it out. I know I am guilty of a “not my problem” mentality. There is a group of people who periodically hold up “bring the troops home” signs along my drive home from work. They stand on the sides of a busy intersection with “honk for peace” signs as well. I never honk. I try to avert my eyes. It isn’t that I don’t want peace, or that I don’t want the troops to come home, because I do. I just don’t want to think about it any more than I have to.

Before the 2004 presidential election I got all fired up wanting to get rid of Bush, but it didn’t happen. Our country is now in far worse shape then it was even in 2004. I tell myself that if thinking about it didn’t help, not thinking about it isn’t going make it worse and at least I am spared the mental anguish along the way. I’ll keep flipping away from compilation songs because listening to them isn’t the answer. Somehow we managed to get in this position as a country, and I can’t help but feel that it is because so many other people just don’t want to think about it either. The songs might provide some comfort to the families who have members serving in the armed forces, but they aren’t changing the status quo. Spreading democracy through warfare makes about as much sense as chopping off an arm to cure a hangnail, but there we are. Perhaps one day we will wake up and realize that it isn’t the responsibility of the United States to save the rest of the countries of the world from themselves. 4000 years of fighting isn’t going to end because we say “don’t you want to be like us?” I would say that generally people don’t like it when you occupy their country and tell them you know what is best for them. I can also attest to the fact that I don’t enjoy being encouraged to live in fear of what might happen. The more we fear, the more likely we are to have something to be afraid of.

I’m not sure why I felt compelled to write this post, it has been sitting in my drafts for quite a while unpublished. I think my desire to post it is fueled by the fact that I want to wake up from my slumber, but I’m still rubbing the sleep from my eyes. I listened to part of the interim report on the progress in Iraq yesterday. I was most struck by the tone our president used before opening up to questions from reporters. Most of all it seems our president wants us to be afraid, afraid of terrorists, afraid for the future of Iraq, afraid of Iran, afraid, afraid, and afraid. His presidency has been one built almost entirely on fear. This presidency is a sharp contrast from other presidencies in dark times for our country. I think FDR was quite wise when he gave his inaugural address:

I am certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the
Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present
situation of our people impel. This is preeminently the time to speak the truth,
the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing
conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has
endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm
belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning,
unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into
advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and
vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which
is essential to victory.

While our president certainly does a good job of pointing out who were are supposed to fear, he is lacking the frankness and honesty required to overcome the fear. It seems as though we are supposed to behave as obedient children, doing as we are told, not questioning the great patriarch who knows better than we do. The only way this strategy can be effective is if we as a country are all too afraid to speak out against it. I’m not going to live in fear anymore. It isn’t healthy. It isn’t in our country’s best interest to remain fearful long-term, this does nothing but fuel hate, resentment, and greed.


A fish tale

As we felt summer coming to an end a few weeks back, T decided that The Boy really needed to have the opportunity to use the fishing pole he received for his fourth birthday. The problem all along has been that T doesn't fish, so we kept saying it was up to one of The Boy's Grandfathers to take him fishing. Well as you know, life often gets in the way, and it just didn't happen. T somehow remembered that this little rite of passage needed to take place and took his Dad and The Boy fishing after dinner on Labor Day. The Boy caught 4 fish on his first outing. Beginners luck?

Saturday we decided to take both kids fishing at one of the local lakes. Grandpa came along since he has the requisite fishing license (T really doesn't fish), and seems to like hanging out with us. The Boy caught 11 fish, and had a blast (all very tiny fish that were returned to the water in relative health). The Girl and I found a nearby playground after about 10 minutes of fishing.
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It is so fun to watch my kids experience things for the first time, even if they are things like fishing that I don't particularly enjoy doing. I definitely have fond memories of fishing with my Dad as a kid, and I'm happy that my kids will get to fish with their Grandfathers.
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and with their Dad
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Some breathing room

I got home from an overnight business trip just after the kids were in bed last night. T had just come downstairs when I walked in the door. He indicated that the kids knew I was home, because as he was rocking The Girl she said “Mommy’s Home!” when she heard the door open. He told her that maybe I would come up and check on her before she fell asleep. I made my way upstairs to unpack, and as soon as I flicked on the bedroom light, I heard a chorus of “Mommy” from the kids’ respective bedrooms. I finished unpacking and went into The Boy’s room first, knowing that he would be the easier to deal with. I gave him a hug and a kiss told him that I’d missed him, and said goodnight. He actually let me leave his room with no calls for one more cuddle. I went into The Girl’s room next, and she popped up and demanded to be rocked, which of course I agreed to. As I sat in the glider rocking her, The Boy appeared in her room and told me that he needed me to tell him a story. I told him that he’d already read stories with T and that he needed to go to sleep, but he persisted. He didn’t want to read a book; he wanted me to tell him a story about Him and his sister. I agreed, and quickly made up a story about the two of them, and their wild adventures. At the conclusion of the story I put The Girl down in her crib, and walked The Boy back to his bedroom, and they both went to sleep.

I went back downstairs after they were in bed, and chatted with T for a few minutes. We caught up on the kids, work, and household stuff I’d missed. It felt so good to be home. Most of my major work deadlines of late have been met, and for the first time in a long time I didn’t feel like I should be doing something more productive with my time. It felt great for about 2 hours. Now I’m bored.


Too busy to blog

I've been slammed at work for the past few weeks, so that is my lame excuse for being neglectful here. I had to travel for work last week (all of last week, got back yesterday afternoon after leaving the previous Monday), and didn't have regular internet access during that time. Now I'm faced with another looming work deadline, so I need to make myself scarce again. I'll try to pop in when I can, but I don't expect to post anything of substance until next week...and I have another deadline next week.


We've hit the potty jackpot

For my long time readers you may remember that we had a bit of trouble potty training The Boy. Eventually it worked, but there was much frustration on my part before it did. The Girl is just 2 years and 3 months old and she is already basically potty trained. I credit daycare for this feat, because we certainly didn't initiate the process. The Boy was over 3.5 before training did anything, so I just assumed we had another year of diapers ahead of us. I even recently purchased a mega pack of Kirkland diapers from Costco, but I'm not sure we will need them all. The Girl has been in her new underwear all weekend, and has remained accident free.

Way to go honey, and thanks for taking it upon yourself to potty train, your parents are too lazy to help you in that department. I think that perhaps you are trying to make up for being so ornery your first 4 months of life, and your parents greatly appreciate it!


Hello treadmill my old friend

Forgive this post, but as I was running on the treadmill this fine morning I started composing a sad and lame little version of the awesome Simon and Garfunkel tune The Sound of Silence. The background is that I was running on my incredibly loud treadmill early in the morning, and my children woke up in the middle of my run. If you can finish it with treadmill running appropriate lyrics for the last two verses of the song I will bow down to you. I started watching the local news after I got these three verses down:

Hello treadmill, my old friend,
I’ve come to run on you again,
Because my husband who is trav-ling,
Left our kids while they were sleeping,
And the addiction that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of loudness.

In restless dreams I ran alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone,
neath the halo of a closet light,
I turned my shoes to the hard and fake
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of
A red L-E-D
That split the dawn
And touched the sound of loudness.

And in the dim light I saw
Two other people, maybe more.
Children waking without screaming,
Children whining without listening,
Children disturbing runs that mommies couldn’t share
And they both dared
Disturb the sound of loudness.


The Telephone Game

Here’s a fun little link-sharing Meme, courtesy of Fracas, that could devolve rather quickly into something a little less than wholesome:

Remember when we were kids and at every opportunity, some adult would have us play that silly Telephone game? You know… the one where the lead person comes up with a sentence or statement, whispers it into the ear of the next person in line, and the sentence is passed from person to person until it reaches the end of the line. The last person then repeats the sentence out loud, the first person announces what it actually was, and everyone gets to laugh about how goofy it got by being passed from ear to ear and being altered because of mispronunciations and hearing ability.

Of course I realize that the game was simply a means for adults to keep us in line while we were waiting for something or killing time. Haven’t we even now as adults, tried to use it on our own kids?

Being the silly kind of fracas that I am, I’ve decided to create an internet version of the game, and use it as an opportunity for link-getting. Everyone wants links, and yet lots of people I know, prefer to get their links in a non-obvious kind of way. We’ve all done the “copy this list and create a post and you’ll get links” type of tag…at least once, but most of us don’t want to fill our blogs with those posts. It may get links, but eventually will chase readers away.

This is a fun way to give your readers something entertaining to read and get a few links too.

If you’ve been tagged, check the last entry on the list. Copy this entire post, add your name and link to the end of the list, copy the sentence in the previous person’s entry and change ONE word in it to try and change the meaning of the sentence for your entry. Name and link only ONE person to tag and then post the whole thing as a new entry in your own blog. Please make sure to transfer all the links to your post otherwise you aren’t providing fair linkage to the people before you. Although this will take longer to get around, by tagging only one person you will avoid making mass enemies by having to tag many people, and it will also guarantee only one true version of the game is circulating out there. Fracas, the creator, will attempt to keep tabs on the game and periodically report on it.
Please try not to tag someone you see is already on the list. If you’re on the list, have been tagged again by someone who didn’t pay attention to the instructions and you don’t want to do another turn, please leave a comment at this post over at Fracas, and Fracas will take your turn for you in order to keep the list going.

1. Fracas - http://fracas.wordpress.com/
writes:Never continue dating anyone who is rude to the waiter.

2. Mark @ Blogitude - http://www.blogitude.com/
writes:Never continue dating anyone who is nude to the waiter.

3. Wiggy - @ http://damewigginsoflee.wordpress.com/
Forever continue dating anyone who is nude to the waiter.

4. Froggy @ The Road Less Traveled - http://froglette79.wordpress.com/
Forever continue dating anyone who is nude under the waiter.

5. InTheFastLane@ That's Life - http://thatslifev2.blogspot.com/
Forever continue dating anyone who is nude under the water.

6. Treadmillista @ Just Treadmilling Around - http://treadmillinginplace.blogspot.com/
Forever continue dating everyone who is nude under the water

I Tag...Christine @ Watch me! no, watch me! - http://watchmenowatchme.blogspot.com/


And modesty has left the building

The other Moms of kids old enough to open doorknobs can likely relate to this...I hope. It has been at least 3 years since I have been able to pee in privacy. Oh sure at first I made the cursory attempt to shut the bathroom door while I peed, but after hundreds of screams of MOMMY I NEEEEED you with pounding on the door and me having to get off of the toilet to open the door, I stopped shutting the door much less locking it. Occasionally I shut the door now, only to have a toddler or preschooler burst in on me aghast that I would shut them out of the room I'm in. It used to bother me, but now peeing with the door open has become my new normal. It is so extreme now that even when the kids are in bed I leave the door open while peeing.

T walked in on me peeing a few weeks ago (after the kids were in bed), and gave me a load of crap about it. Not only is it not his new normal, but he has never given in to the whole peeing with the door open idea. He still very much shuts doors when he uses the bathroom, a commendable trait I suppose. I have noticed that the kids don't pound on the door when he is in the bathroom, there is no DAAAADY I NEEED YOU. They give him his space, his privacy, they leave him alone. I know there have been knocks on the door when he is using the bathroom, but he mostly ignores them until he is done. Perhaps I need to try his approach, because the whole peeing with the door open isn't exactly my cup of tea. Any bets as to how this little experiment will turn out?


How much to pay a babysitter

I stumbled upon a babysitting rate calculator a while back. Mostly out of curiosity I entered the information which fits our household and our normal babysitter. I was given the rate of $5.75 per hour, which is in the ballpark of what we've paid in the past. I usually feel like an idiot when it comes time to pay our babysitter, because we have never really discussed her rate. Why is it that I trust this girl to watch my kids, but yet feel uncomfortable asking her how much she expects to be paid? Of course as someone who babysat plenty as a teen, I don't think I ever gave parents a set rate, just accepted whatever they gave me. I was likely underpaid then, when I made $2.00 an hour for watching FOUR kids, the youngest of whom was in diapers.

Anyway, I am posting this mainly because I'm curious to see how accurate the calculator is for other areas. Is it in the ballpark for you?


How the podcast ruined my run

A few weeks back I discovered that I could download free podcasts from Itunes. It didn't seem all that exciting at first, but when I realized that I could replace the old tired music on my little Ipod Shuffle with podcasts for my runs I got a little thrill. So this morning I set out for my 10 miler armed with a water bottle, my cell phone, a baseball cap, and my magenta Shuffle filled with podcasts. The first mile was filled with music, but then I found a podcast and got engrossed. I made it through mile 6 or so on that first podcast (Manic Mommies if you are interested), and then Wait Wait Don't Tell Me came on. Ahhh, what a great show that is! I was so engrossed in listening to the shows that I forgot to worry about all of the aches and pains that can sometimes accompany a run. I also forgot to pay attention to my pace. My first mile was done in a respectable 9:15, but the rest of the run was downhill from there. I had only one other sub 10:00 minute mile today because I was running like I wasn't even trying. Oh well, I think I usually run my long runs too fast, so perhaps this was good for me. If nothing else it felt like the fastest 10 miler I've ever done...even if it was more than 10 minutes slower than I would have liked.

If you have any good podcasts to pass along please do so, my weekend long runs will be ever so grateful for new things to divert my attention from the fact that my feet are continually pounding against the pavement for miles on end.


Remodel: DONE!

I’ve been a little lazy about posting the final before and after pictures, but without further ado here they are (click on the images to see them full size):

The kitchen
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The dining room and entry way
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The living room
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The office
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And the bathroom (I never took a before picture, for reference there was carpet, ghastly wallpaper, and lots of open space for a former half bathroom)
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We are very happy with the outcome, and we were happy with our contractor. The project moved along quickly, we were well informed along the way, and when there was a big snag at the end they came through and made everything right. Looking at the before and after pictures really allows us to see just how different our house is now. We love our house now, and we would never have said that before. Now to buy some furniture, hang things on the walls, and just get comfortable in the space again.


Mashed potato tacos

I'm not quite sure what this says about me, but I found a link to this recipe on one of the message boards I frequent and I cannot stop thinking about making it. Not only have I decided that it is perfectly acceptable for T and the kids to eat omelets for dinner while I eat a vat of guacamole with chips (I added some lettuce and some tomatoes so I feel like it was actually a fairly healthy meal for me), but now I am dreaming of eating mashed potato tacos. No, I am not pregnant. Mashed potatoes, cheese, sour cream, french fried onions, taco shells, what more could you ask for? Of course I was thinking that perhaps it might taste even better with cream cheese instead of sour cream. I might end up declaring myself too lazy and just eating the entire can of french fried onions though, so I should resist the urge to buy the ingredients.


It could have been me

Yesterday started out as any Wednesday does in my world, nothing out of the ordinary occurred. I went through my day, going to work, picking up the kids from daycare, having dinner, etc, and then I got a phone call from T. He had taken The Girl to the hardware store with him, The Boy and I were home putzing around in the yard when the phone rang. T asked me if I was watching TV, if I had heard the news, what news I said. The bridge on 35W over the river collapsed. What? It collapsed? I instantly forgot about the lawn watering we were attempting and took The Boy inside. Turned on the TV and then sat there horrified by what I was seeing. When T had said the bridge over the river, I had thought immediately of the bridge over the Minnesota River which is much closer to our house, but no it was the bridge over the Mississippi. How could this happen? Just 10-15 miles from our house this huge tragedy took place, and was unfolding before our eyes.

Now I can’t stop myself from watching/reading/listening to any coverage I can find. Seeing Matt Lauer covering the story in Minneapolis live this morning struck a chord with me. This National story feels so personal to me. That bridge hasn’t been part of my daily commute for many years, but as a born and bred Minnesotan, someone who attended the University of Minnesota, and lived so very near to that bridge at one point in my life, it just feels like my world has been violated. I can’t even count how many times I have driven over that bridge, it was part of my daily commute for many years, but in the recent years I’ve only traveled over it a few times per month. I am so thankful that none of my friends or family members were on the bridge yesterday evening, but that isn’t allowing me to move on.

I am angry that there was prior evidence of fatigue stress on the bridge structure that wasn’t addressed. As a mechanical engineer I can’t help but go back to my statics and dynamics courses where I learned exactly what fatigue stress can do. I’m not ready to blame yet though, we don’t know enough. Nobody wanted this to happen, and I have to believe that if the bridge inspectors and engineers really felt it was a safety hazard it would have been fixed immediately regardless of budget constraints.

Mostly I just can’t get this image of me in my car, with my two kids strapped into their car seats behind me, as we plunge into the water out of my head. I know I have to stop thinking this way for my mental health, but there it is right now. What would I have done? Could I have saved both of my children? This immense feeling of dread has taken over my head today, and my thoughts are with everyone who has lost a loved one on the bridge, or is waiting for news about a missing family member or friend. I feel guilty for going about my normal routines today, guilty that my life hasn’t been directly affected, but also happy that it wasn’t us…and some more guilt for being so happy about that.

Edited to add a link to a pretty good editorial on the subject: Nick Coleman: Public anger will follow our Sorrow


Can I have one?

Last night just before bedtime The Boy emerged from our bedroom holding something in his hand. He held it up to T and asked, “Can I have one?” T looked at it and said “no, you should really try to avoid touching those for the rest of your life.” The Boy was confused, I piped in to tell him that it was mine, and that it wasn’t candy. I walked away as T was telling him that it was a feminine hygiene product, I’m guessing there were more follow-up questions.


Just Beachy

We had a fairly low-key weekend planned, so when The Boy started asking if we could go to the beach we decided we could swing such a trip. We decided to go on Sunday because by the time we thought about it on Saturday it had already slipped a little too close to nap time for our comfort. So Sunday morning we followed roughly our normal routine of me getting up with the kids, feeding them breakfast, and lounging around until I felt ready to go for my run. I ran my 7 miles, came home and showered, and the packing began.

What exactly do you need to pack for a less than 5 mile trip to a local lake? Good question. You need to pack much more than you would initially guess. You need to bring towels, sunscreen, swimsuits (which you change into at home), extra clothes for after swimming, sunglasses, and toys (which you raid from the sandbox and bathtub). You also need to pack a lunch so you don’t have to worry about the availability of concession stands at the lake. Beyond that you mostly just need to gather everybody into the car to head to the lake.

We arrived at the lake, staked out a spot on the beach (which turned out to be just a little too far from the water…we learned this only after the sun had sufficiently baked the sand and we had to walk back to our beach towels), slathered the kid in sunscreen, and found our way to the water. The kids had a fantastic time, so the $5 parking fee was well worth the expense.

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The Boy qualitatively measures the viscosity of the wet sand

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The Girl examines something in the sand

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The Girl’s favorite lake activity (sitting in the water)

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The Girl a little closer in to the camera

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I am quite good at capturing The Boy not looking at the camera

The best part of the trip was that on our way home The Boy said, “can we go to the beach again another day?” When we got home he found a few toys that NEED to accompany us on the next trip to the beach as well. I’m glad we resisted the urge to just stay home yesterday; sometimes the memory building stuff is worth the hassle. I do have to take a moment to say that I didn’t wear sunscreen, and today my back hurts like mad. Apparently my farmer’s tan from running didn’t prepare my glaring white back for that much direct sun exposure. Ouch.


Four years old (plus a month or so)

I apologize for taking so long to write this my incredible boy. You recently turned four, and you are a “big boy now.” You gave up your paci with very little fuss, you gave your “singing Mickey” to your little sister, you stopped wearing pull-ups to bed, and you stopped whining almost entirely (okay I made that last part up). Sometimes it feels like you have been in my life forever, and at other times I think you were surely my tiny baby just minutes ago. Watching you age and grow is one of my biggest joys. You are constantly learning, constantly questioning, and constantly challenging me (in a mostly good way). You are always finding new ways to entertain yourself, and the things your active imagination comes up with continue to astound me.

I am going to refrain from getting all sappy and doing a whole retrospective of the past four years, and no it isn’t because I am lazy (well not entirely). I’d like to focus on you right now, rather than what you have been in the past.
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The Boy - 8 weeks old

Your favorite toys continue to be your cars, your trucks, your trains, and well basically anything with wheels. You develop elaborate scenarios for your cars, and you practically jump for joy when you can coerce your father and me into playing with you. I like to watch you playing; I like to overhear your conversations, because it gives me a window into how your mind works. I hope it takes a long time for you to move those conversations into your head, because I will truly miss them.
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The Boy and I when he was tiny - ahhh

Your favorite food right now must be corn dogs. I have neglected to tell you that your favorite mini corn dogs are actually veggie dogs, and I don’t think I will share that tidbit of information with you for a very long time. It makes me feel slightly better that you aren’t getting a load of nitrates with each bite. You also continue to love broccoli just like I do, which is nice because now when I serve it for dinner there are two of us who will eat it. Perhaps you could convince your little sister that broccoli, and heck any other vegetable, is actually quite delicious because when I tell her she just isn’t buying it. You also love fruit in almost any form. I love that your eyes light up when I pull out the frozen grapes. Of course that isn’t to say that you don’t enjoy your share of sweets, but I prefer to focus on the healthy stuff for the purposes of this post.
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Some early eating

Your favorite color is pink, but red is a close second. When asked you will say that red is your favorite color, but when it is time to choose a balloon color you always choose pink. I love that you haven’t bought into the boy/girl color schemes yet. I fear you will become corrupted as the years go by, but for now it is pretty cool that you like pink.
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Notice the pink balloon

You love playing with water. Squirting the hose in the backyard has become a special little treat for you. You are good at watering big areas of dirt so that they become muddy; you are also great at watering the weeds that make up our backyard. Filling up the swimming pool gives you great pleasure; it is much more fun to fill it up slowly while taking breaks to water random things in the lawn than it is just to fill it up. When the pool is full you have no desire to get into it, but would rather dump the water out onto the grass using various buckets and watering cans. The joy on your face as you do this is incredible to see.
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The Boy in his pool

Most of all you seem to love the attention of your parents in almost any form. You definitely let us know when we aren’t paying enough attention to you, and you do your best to correct that problem when it arises. I hope you never stop asking me for one more cuddle before bed, but I know that you will eventually. For now I will live in the moment without worrying about what you may do years from now. You truly are a gift, and I am honored that you want to spend so much time with me.

I love you!


I'm not cool enough to go to BlogHer

For the past few weeks I have started to look at blogging as though it were junior high. I read some really fabulous blogs that so many other people also love as well. Blogs like Mom101, Suburban Turmoil, Chicky Chicky Baby, Motherhood Uncensored, and a bunch of others all fall into what I would call the stratosphere of "Mommy Blogs." I would liken them to the "popular girls" that I went to junior high with, of course they actually seem like nice people which is more than I can say about those junior high girls. I would love to believe that none of the women I've mentioned above ever kept logs of the clothing worn by their classmates (you know to mock them with when it was revealed that they wore the same outfit more than once in the span of a week...they would be horrified by how often I wear the same clothes now), or asked a non-popular boy to a dance only to back out by telling him that "I was only kidding, you are an outsider and I would never go out with you." Dreadful people those junior high girls.

I remember the first day of junior high like it was yesterday. I had a new pink outfit on, and the pink high heeled shoes that I though made me look so adult. As soon as I sat down for 7th grade orientation I knew I was not cool. The rules had changed in the span of one summer, and nobody gave me the memo. Cute was out, Guess jeans were in. I had never heard of Guess jeans, and my parents could not afford to help me rectify the situation. My clothing had dictated my place in the junior high social order. I found a nice group of friends in our lower social class, and became mostly content with my lot in life, but those popular girls were always there as a reminder that I wasn't good enough. They took every opportunity to remind us that we were less than them, and it worked. I can look back now and see that they were using their own insecurities to protect their places, but it was still shitty.

That social order has stayed with me at least somewhat throughout the rest of my life. High school was more tolerable than junior high was, but there was still a stratification of the cliques. I was part of the "nerd girl" clique, and that was fine by me, but it didn't stop me from wishing one of the jockish popular boys would ask me out. I went to college in my hometown, and was greeted there by the same jerks from junior high and high school who were under the assumption that this was a bigger high school. Thankfully I transferred to a different school for my junior and senior years where I got to start fresh. My first job after college had me falling into a similar kind of role. I did my work, didn't draw too much attention to myself, and stayed employed. Eventually though I started to grow tired of my lot in life, and I started exploring other opportunities. That feeling that I was less than stuck with me, and it has taken many years for me to know that I'm just selling myself short by allowing myself to feel that way. It really is a cop out, an excuse for not excelling at what I'm doing.

I am in no way inferring that all of the cool kids I mentioned in the first paragraph are like those junior high girls, only that I allow myself to feel like I am in a lower class. I had brief thoughts of planning a trip to BlogHer, but I couldn't talk my buddy PDX Mama into it so I stopped thinking about it. Unless I had someone to help me screw up my courage I just didn't think I could do it. Now, I'm a little bit mad at myself for not just following through and going. I hope you all have fun, perhaps next year I will get over my hangups and just join you already.


Ideas wanted

So I may have mentioned before that I was given the opportunity to do something different for work. I told you to email me to find out what it was, and well, nobody did…guess I know where I rate! Anyway, it turns out that the different thing isn’t as easy to launch as I thought it would be, mostly because actual work keeps getting in the way and I find I have very little time for it. Another road block is that it is really hard to come up with ideas for a work related blog. There I’ve said it; my idea was to launch a work blog to help us filter more people to our actual website. I had lots of great ideas in the plan I pitched to my boss, but have I mentioned that it is hard? The goal is really only to start generating a buzz about what we do, and since we are a tiny company our advertising budget is almost non-existent. My thought was that I enjoy blogging as a hobby (can I call it that?), so why not extend it into the realm of work. Can you say na├»ve?

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I’m really struggling with a way to just give you a link to the other blog (perhaps if you googled the words in the picture above you might be able to find it), but I still have this insane idea that my blog is a private thing and that my coworkers know nothing about it. The fact that I’ve shown several of them my house remodeling photos from this blog doesn’t even wave this belief. So should I just give you the link? I mean attracting a bunch of my friends to my work blog isn’t exactly my intent, but I do want to drive traffic to the site. I am supposed to present my idea to the entire company at our annual meeting next month, and it would be nice to show that we have had more than 4 visits to the site by then. Do any of you have any experience with a professional blog? Do you have any ideas about ways to drive quality traffic to my other blog that you would be willing to share?


Oh I'd never let MY kids do that...

Okay fess up. What horrible things do you allow your kids to do, that in your pre-kid days you swore up and down that you would never allow? For me it has to be the huge bins filled with toys. I remember going to friends' houses who had kids and being absolutely disgusted by the vast quantity of cheap crappy toys that resided in the toy bins. I remember telling T that "we won't get happy meal toys for our kids, because there is no need to have all of those stupid little crappy toys all over the place." Ha!

Well we don't get happy meals for our kids, actually we only very rarely eat fast food as a family (I'm fairly sure that T on occasion eats fast food for lunch), but we do have vast quantities of little crappy toys scattered all throughout our house. We have two Rubbermaid bins full, we have a little car shaped storage bin device in The Boy's room, and we have an entire series of bins in The Girl's room all filled with crap. Oh, some of it isn't really crap, but the net effect in the house is that it looks like we never weed through our children's toys (which admittedly we don't do all that often). Turns out it is easier to have bins filled with crap if you want to be able to see your floors on occasion.

So what is your biggest back-track parenting wise? I'm tagging a few of my friends just to see if they will play along. Tell me PDX Mama, Christine, Kate, Jennifer, Lawyer Mama, and whomever else wants to play along, have you let your houses become disorganized toy stores too? If not, what do you do that you told yourself you would never do?

When I get a moment I will add pictures to this post, although I'd guess you can all pretty easily get a mental picture of the toy craziness.



Sometimes we accidentally on purpose don’t turn on the baby monitor, but other times we really do just forget to turn it on. One night last week such a thing occurred, and when we realized our mistake we heard the following exchange (the kids were supposed to be sleeping and they do not share a room):

The Boy: *The Girl’s name* *The Girl’s name* look at this picture
The Girl: A baby
The Boy: It’s me!
The Boy: That is me as a baby, look Mommy is holding me
The Girl: My mommy!
The Boy: No, she is both of our Mommy
The Boy: This is Arizona Grandma holding me when I was a baby, and Arizona Grandpa
The Girl: Where’s me?
The Boy: Look, I’m growing up in this picture
The Girl: but where’s me?
The Boy: Daddy is holding me when I was a baby
The Girl: Where’s me?

DH and I have a little discussion and decide that The Boy is showing The Girl the photo album my Mom (Arizona Grandma) gave The Boy for Christmas a few years back. It is filled with pictures of The Boy as a baby, and as a one-year-old, pictures with his Arizona Grandparents and pictures of DH and me. We decide we need to break up this little interlude before The Girl realizes that we have very few pictures of her in albums.

I arrive upstairs and as The Boy hears me walking up the stairs he quickly shuffles back into his own room. I was just helping *The Girl’s name*, he tells me. Helping her do what, I question? I was just helping her. Okay. The scene in The Girl’s room is comical; all of the toys from her storage bins are either in her crib or on the floor just outside of her crib. Presumably The Boy had been helping her gather all of her toys as she directed him from inside her crib. We all giggle a little, clean up, and bed time is enforced. While we certainly don’t want to encourage these little events, I still get a smile on my face when I think about it. Sometimes I could just eat them up. They are so sweet when they aren’t whining or torturing each other.


New batteries please

The Fisher Price Aquarium (I had a picture of it here), get your minds out of the gutter! I'm sitting here listening to the horrid sound of the FP crib aquarium through the muffled sound of the baby monitor, and it is making me cringe. Eventually the monitor will declare the aquarium chirps and bubbles to be "background noise" and it will go back to quiet, but for now I'm stuck listening to the wacky sound of the aquarium when it is low on batteries. Funny that is just gets slow then speeds up again, almost like you are playing with the speed setting on a turntable...do people still remember those?

4 D batteries lie in wait, but we can't disturb the evening routine once it has begun...perhaps tomorrow night she will have an aquarium that actually emits some light and has recognizable tunes, but for now we suffer.

I swear that aquarium was the best baby gift we registered for and received...if only they made a plug in version so we didn't have to keep paying it with batteries. FP Aquarium = baby crack = toddler crack = preschoolers just like to turn it on and off again repeatedly when they somehow manage to climb into their little sisters' cribs.



T and I had the bulk of last week off from work. Our kids' daycare was closed for the week so we took the opportunity to have a week off as a family. We didn't plan much, so the week ended up being a hodge-podge of activity. I have to be honest here and say that dropping them off at daycare this morning was perhaps the highlight of the past week. I love them so much, but they absolutely exhaust me.

How is it that I can long to be with them when I am working, but when I am with them want nothing more than to run away? Of course there are plenty of happy times scattered in there, but then The Boy won't nap for a solid week and my sense of balance is thrown out of whack. All I can think about is the lack of naps, and how cranky and whiny my children are.

It was a nice feeling to pick them up this evening though. I did miss them while I was at work, but the break from them was very much needed. So there you have it...I am a crappy crappy Mom who likes being away from her children.


Remodel: Week 9

I just finished my morning workout, and everyone else is still asleep so I thought I would use this opportunity to post the latest remodel pictures. Word has it that they will be done next week! I plan to post the before and after pictures when it is completely done, but if you are itching to see what it was like before, just click here.

Some kitchen views, with a little help from The Girl:

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The Bathroom (the grout was sealed yesterday so we aren’t allowed to walk on the floor)
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The dining room
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A break to pick her nose
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The new slide in dual fuel range
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So there you have it, some minor details remain, and carpet for the living room and office will go a long way to making it feel done I’m sure.


A Sunday in Pictures

I just uploaded pictures from our digital camera, and realized that all of the pictures were taken yesterday. The pictures give the illusion that we had a really fun day, so I thought I would use this opportunity to tell you about it.

A little snack to curb some early afternoon fussies, yes that is highly processed cheese like product:
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Hanging out in the swimming pool in our backyard…you’ll notice neither kid is all that interested in getting inside of the swimming pool. They do love taking all of the water out of the pool and spreading it all around the yard though.
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After an attempt at nap from some and an actual nap from others we decided to walk over to the Japanese Garden…a great free escape for us, less than a mile from our house:
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I tried my best to get a picture with all 3 of my loves looking at the camera, but you take what you can get
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The Girl looking blissful as she runs away from us and back to us over and over again
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Some scenery
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And some wildlife
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A killer goose
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Fish and geese swarming when a nice group of twenty something girls gave us a piece of bread to feed them with
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And more scenery
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And one last attempt at a picture of my three
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Too bad I didn’t get a picture of The Boy making me carry him for the last few blocks home. We had a good time, but the mile plus of walking definitely took its toll on him. The Girl was in the jogging stroller begging to walk.