7.30.2007

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.

Click for larger image
The Boy qualitatively measures the viscosity of the wet sand

Click for larger image
The Girl examines something in the sand

Click for larger image
The Girl’s favorite lake activity (sitting in the water)

Click for larger image
The Girl a little closer in to the camera

Click for larger image
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.

7.27.2007

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.
Click for larger image
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.
Click for larger image
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.
Click for larger image
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.
Click for larger image
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.
Click for larger image
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!

7.25.2007

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.

7.24.2007

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?

Click for larger image

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?

7.15.2007

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.

7.10.2007

Overheard

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.

7.09.2007

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.

7.08.2007

Vacation

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.

7.04.2007

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:

Click for larger image
Click for larger image
Click for larger image
Click for larger image
Click for larger image
Click for larger image
Click for larger image

The Bathroom (the grout was sealed yesterday so we aren’t allowed to walk on the floor)
Click for larger image
Click for larger image
Click for larger image
Click for larger image
Click for larger image
The dining room
Click for larger image
A break to pick her nose
Click for larger image
The new slide in dual fuel range
Click for larger image

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.

7.02.2007

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:
Click for larger image

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.
Click for larger image
Click for larger image
Click for larger image

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:
Click for larger image
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
Click for larger image
The Girl looking blissful as she runs away from us and back to us over and over again
Click for larger image
Click for larger image

Some scenery
Click for larger image
And some wildlife
Click for larger image
A killer goose
Click for larger image
Fish and geese swarming when a nice group of twenty something girls gave us a piece of bread to feed them with
Click for larger image
Click for larger image

And more scenery
Click for larger image
Click for larger image
And one last attempt at a picture of my three
Click for larger image

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.

7.01.2007

Remodling isn't all bad

We've been without a kitchen for 8 weeks now. You would think we would be going absolutely crazy, but I've got to say that we aren't. In fact, at the family reunion we attended yesterday I found myself telling other people how it was actually kind of nice not to have to do dishes. *gasp* Not only are we using all paper plates, but we have paper bowls, paper/plastic cups, and plastic utensils. Oh sure we have a wet bar sink to wash things in, and sometimes we have to use an avoidable reusable dish, but we can't even be bothered to wash silverware. We have taken this lack of kitchen thing to the extreme. I did breakdown and buy the "Earthware" paper plates the other day because the waste we are producing was starting to get to me a bit though.

Another unintended benefit is that you can't hear the kids screaming on the second floor if you hunker down in the office in the basement. Oh, of course we do have a baby monitor for such occasions, but what fun is it to hide in the office if you can hear the kids screaming? This way I can pretend that they are sleeping. Not that I am doing that right now or anything...

The bad part of this plan is that The Boy can get out of bed on his own and will wander around the house looking for me. He has also figured out that if he goes into The Girl's room and talks "to her" we can hear him on the monitor (assuming it is on). This of course makes The Girl scream, but at least we can't hear it.

Soon enough we will be back to living on the main floor, where it is almost impossible to avoid the screaming sounds that filter down from the second floor. At least we had a short reprieve.