Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Skipp'n Town

I'm leaving, on a jet plane...don't know when I'll be back again...

OK, well, really I'll be back Sunday evening. But I leave tomorrow for my first real grown-ups only trip since having my boys. By myself. I've only been away from Jackson a handful of times overnight, including two hospital stays for Holden. And I've never been away from Holden. I will miss my boys, I know, but I think I need this trip. I think I've earned this trip.

I'm heading back "home" to Seattle for a girl's weekend. I'll be spending a couple of days with my wonderful, awesome dear friend TaShawna, and her gorgeous family. And also catching up with a few other nears and dears on Thursday night. Then Friday I head out on a weekend cruise with all the gals I used to work with at RealNetworks a blue moon ago (or three years ago to be exact). There are 10 of us heading out to sea on Friday, returning to dock on Sunday morning. It is going to be a quick trip that will surely fly by in a moment, but I know it is going to feel so good to be back "home" in the company of my long lost girlfriends.

And I know come Sunday morning I'll be jonesing for my hubby and for my boys. A perfect little get away with a perfect little welcome home come Sunday evening. A special thanks and shout out to my Mama who is helping Shawn out with the boys while I'm gone. She is the best.

Bon Voyage!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Birthday Bliss

We celebrated Jackson's fourth (yes, 4th...how can that be???) on Saturday. We are a few days early in our celebration (his actual birthday is May 5th), but I'm going away this coming weekend so I wanted to make sure Jackson's party came off without a hitch before I left town. Despite unbelievably frigid weather, and moving the party from the park to our house, the day was a huge success. Thirteen awesome kiddos and their parents filled our house with lots of noise, laughter and good times. The birthday boy rocked his construction themed party, complete with a dump truck birthday cake as I promised him. I don't think the smile left his face the entire party. I think everyone had a great time. I KNOW the birthday boy did!

Happy Birthday Big Boy - you rock!
(and I promise a more appropriately mushy post on your actual birthday next week)

birthday pictures:

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Train Obsession


I have a knee jerk reaction when I see trains. I want to scream and yell "LOOK- A Train!!" Even when I'm by myself just driving in solitude, listening to my own music, enjoying the mellowness of the drive; if I see a train I have to stop myself from screaming aloud: "Train! Train! Look, it's a train!"

I wasn't always this way of course. I never gave trains much of a thought as a young girl growing up in Lubbock, Texas. The only true recollection I have of even noticing trains is from long road trips with my sisters. We would make a game of counting the number of cars on a train as we zoomed past each other on the long open stretch of highway. Then we were on to Backseat Bingo or Alphabet Roadsigns, not giving the passing train another thought. That was the extent of my acknowledgment of trains.

I suppose I did give a great deal of thought to trains in the spring of 1997. That was when my girlfriend Ruth and I backpacked across Europe. You give a LOT of thought to trains when you are trying to get from one eastern European country to the next, especially the time of day that train travels. We preferred traveling at night so we could maximize our day time hours touring ancient cities and enjoying local cuisine and brew. And once we boarded a train we rushed to find an empty car and then spread our belongings out as quickly as possible, pretending to snooze every time someone walked by looking for a car to bunk in. We didn't like sharing if we could help it. But time tables and cars all to ourselves were the extent of my passion with trains during that spring. I was more focused on seeing the sites than seeing the trains.

But alas I have now given birth and am raising (along with Shawn of course) two little boys who, stereotypical as it may be, adore trains. Love trains. Worship trains. Can barely control their excitement upon seeing a train. It is that kind of love they have for trains. Especially Jackson who has had the privilege of riding many a train in his short little life. And seeing as how a train track separates our housing development from the older, quainter side of downtown, we pass over or under train tracks several times a day. The sheer joy on their faces at seeing a train cannot be described. It is utter elation. Like my own eyes gazing upon a pair of sparkley diamond earrings or a perfectly made chocolate cupcake. And the times we have stopped what we are doing or the conversation we are having so we can look at or listen to a train cannot be counted. I find myself lifting my boys up high to see a train whiz by if we are within vision. Just to see the joy and wonder on their faces.

And so now, as a Mama of two boys, I find myself joining in their elation upon seeing a train. Even if I am by myself enjoying a rare moment of solitude as I am driving. I will find myself starting to exclaim "Look boys, a tra...!" But I will stop short because there's something a little off about a woman in her mid-thirties, driving all by herself, screaming ecstatically about a rusty old coal train passing on a bridge overhead.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity-Jog!

Shawn made it home today -hooray! And I survived without strangling my children, thanks mostly to my mom who stopped me before I did any real damage (I'm KIDDING!). But anyway, Shawn's flight from Buffalo to Chicago was running late so he missed his connecting flight. Total bummer. But he made another flight 3 hours later. Jackson and I greeted him when he arrived at DIA. Jackson's face was elated and he kept hugging and kissing Daddy. Save some room for me, too, little man! Holden stayed home with Grammy but about ran off the back steps when he saw Daddy pull into the garage. He kept squealing "Dada!" over and over. Too precious. We all missed Dada a great deal, but probably me most of all.

Shawn got the boys construction truck cutlery (I'll have to take a picture to really explain them - too cute). And he got me a high heel cake server. Again, a picture can only do it justice. What a sweety to remember us all.

As a side note the boys and I planted a lot of Springy/Summery plants and flowers today. I'm determined to grow my own salsa this summer so I filled my window boxes with peppers, herbs and a couple of tomato plants. Surely something will grow, right?!@? Wish me luck. Mostly, though, the boys chased the two rabbits, Star and Buck, who scamper in and out of our back yard throughout the summer season. They were babies last year but are now big fat rabbits. The boys chased them for over an hour this morning squealing "RABBIT!" as they scampered under the fence and through my garden. Unfortunately they also like to feast on some of my decorative grasses so we'll have to see how long this game of tag lasts before I whip out some sort of deterrent (for the rabbits not the boys).

Welcome home honey pie. I missed you!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Bring on the Straightjacket

Dearest Hubby,
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

So Shawn's been gone since Thursday morning, driving father in law to Buffalo (they arrived there safely yesterday - hooray!). I've hung in there with the boys. I've done my best. The tantrums seem a bit louder and a bit longer. The bedtime seems more tedious than usual. Meals are bland and usually involve vast quantities of cheese and past. As I said, I've done my best . But I'm done. D.O.N.E. Done. I know I'm with these two (darling) boys every day all day long but I so look forward to a little reprieve in the evenings when Shawn gets home. And weekends are so our time to be a family...and again, for me to get a little reprieve. I'm on day four. He gets home Wednesday. Deep breaths.

I cracked yesterday -- called my mom and begged her to come up a day early. I was on my last straw with my almost four year old and my 18 month old is getting a cold so he's been waking at night the past few nights. I was close to tears when I rang Mom, I admit it. She was due to arrive tomorrow and be with us for two weeks. But she very kindly agreed to coming up today, a day early. I really need it. She won't arrive until late this evening but I'll shouting from the roof tops when she arrives!

I don't know how single moms (or dads) do it. Or moms whose hubbies travel a lot (I have a few friends who's hubbies travel and those amazing women are my heroes after this week). Especially those who have young children who are with them all day and all night. God love 'em. It's not a job I want to take on by myself. That's for certain.

How can two children, both under 4 feet tall and under 4 years of age, drive me this nutso? I dunno, but they've done it. I can hardly wait until Mom drives up my driveway this evening. And if this little adventure has taught me anything it is to appreciate my hubby even more than hopefully I already do. There are already too many ways for me to count how much I love my hubby. But now I can add a few more to the list.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Buffalo Bound





Grandpa, aka Carl, aka "Dad" to Shawn, aka my father in law, is bound for Buffalo as I type this. He is moving to live with Aunt Wendy and cousins Brandon and Arianna. It is a good move for him and for Wendy and the kids, and we are excited for his new adventures. But selfishly we will miss him a great deal.

My boys love their Grandpa. Each of them has a piece of Grandpa in their room decor -- Jackson has Grandpa's Lionel trains (yes, originals!) up in his bedroom, and Holden has one of Grandpa's beautifully painted landscape pictures up in his room. Every night before Holden goes to bed he says goodnight to Grandpa's painting. I'm sure now that Grandpa is quite a bit further away from us, saying goodnight to his painting will be even more heartfelt.

Good luck Grandpa. We already miss you!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Guppy

Jackson finished his "Guppy" level swim lessons today. He made some strides from his previous life as a Minnow. He can now put his head under water, understands water safety, and can "bob to the stairs." Though his teacher did quite politely ask that he repeat this level so he can complete the other areas of expertise before moving onto the next level ;-)

As much as J loves the bath, and splashing around at our neighborhood pool, I don't think Olympic swimming is in his future. There is a trust level he has to work out between himself, the water and his teacher. He'll get there eventually, I know it. He's a determined little fish. All in all, though, my goal in putting him in lessons is to give him a comfort level in the water, and an overall respect for the water while he is in it. I'm super proud of him and can't wait to see him progress. My little Guppy.







Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Mama


This beautiful woman holding onto my eldest son (and my hands) is my mother Susie. Mama to me. Today is her birthday and I wish her all the happiness and joy in the world on this day, and always. She will be visiting us next week so we will do our major celebrating then. But I can't let the day pass without extending an extra smoosh of love her way. My sisters and I are the luckiest gals in the world to have a mother as caring, attentive, giving and understanding as her. Our children are even luckier to have her as their Grammy.

Happy Birthday Mama. I love you.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Virtual Age

My sister Debbie sent this to me:

http://www.peterrussell.com/Odds/RealAge.php

You can figure out what your "virtual age" is based on how healthy (or not!) your lifestyle is. It asks questions about weight, diet, medical history, exercise, stress levels, overall life happiness, etc. It was a fun little quiz to take. I'm happy to report that I am the age of a 16 year old and will live to be 92. I didn't quite believe it because let's face it, children age you. So I took it again being a little more conservative and my age was 18. I knew I still felt like a teenager! Shawn then asked if he has to put up with me that long. So I happily helped him fill out his virtual age and he is the age of a 34.6 year old and will live to be 82. Looks like he won't have to put up with me that long after all. By the way, for anyone who might read my blog and not know our ages, I'm a fresh young 34 year old, and hubby is ancient at 35.

What's your virtual age??!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

More Jacksonisms to Remember

The Scene: In my car, on the way to swimming lessons

Jackson: Mommy, um, Mommy, um, do Mommy's have penises?

(and the scene from "Kindergarten Cop" with the kid who's Dad is a gynecologist comes back to me...)

Me: No Buddy. Mommy's have vaginas. Boys have penises, girls have vaginas. Does that make sense?

Jackson: Yep.

And inside I'm praying to God he doesn't mention penises or vaginas to his swimming teacher


**********************

The Scene: Leaving the Safeway with the boys yesterday afternoon. A family with like 8 children in private school uniforms are climbing into a minivan parked next to us. It should be stated that I made a silent pact with myself years ago that I would never own a minivan. Nothing against anyone who drives one - in fact I have three separate great friends who drive minivans - it's just a personal thing for me. I don't know why. I don't have to explain it. I'm only having two kids so I don't know why I need a minivan. Seriously, get off my back about it honey! Er, I mean, I just don't want a minivan. OK?

Jackson: MOMMY! Did you see that? Did you see that?? We should get a car like that! That car's door opens by itself! Did you see it!? What is that?

Me: That's a minivan buddy.

Jackson: A van! Can we get a minivan?

Me: No.

Jackson: Pleeeeeaaaase????!!

Me: No.

Jackson: (acquiescing) Oh alright, I'll just get a toy one.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Things that are not my children

Still experimenting with the camera and some new Photoshop tricks from Pioneer Woman's blog. By the way, I love this camera honey.

Moss on Rock
who knew you could have moss in Colorado?

Bits of Spring
Hooray my perennials survived!

Columbines Before Bloom
can't wait until they bloom

Freak Spring Snow Storm
seriously, let's move on Mother Nature!

Saint Frank
and his beautiful friend

Hank
our resident Gargoyle

Birdhouse
From Fremont Market in Seattle

Painted Rocks
Sometimes I let the boys gather and paint rocks
then toss them back into the landscaping in our backyard

Busy

I read somewhere that the average toddler walks the length of three football fields each day. I don't know if I remember that quote exactly, or maybe I just dreamed it. My memory is mush. But by the looks of this past Saturday, it seems pretty accurate.








Allison


This is my niece Allison at her gymnastics meet on Saturday. She qualified for Nationals in three events - including getting a first place in tumbling! That makes her the state champion in that event. We are so proud of her. Congrats Allison!! We can't wait to see how you do this summer! (and ps I still remember all too well playing tea party with you when you were just two years old -- you wore a diaper and a fancy hat...and that was all)

Way to go girl!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Crack Don

Jackson: Mommy, do you know what Crack Don is?

When Jack said this to me this morning I panicked. Crack Don? Oh Lord, what is he learning at that school of his?? Crack Don! Is that new slang the kids are tossing around? That sounds to me like the head of a crack den or something like that. Like the head honcho of the crack heads! What in the world does my three-almost-four year old know about crack? Is it too early to have the "just say no to drugs!" convo with him? I hadn't planned on that until he was at least six, maybe five. I should have a year to prepare for discussing Crack Dons! What do I say?!?!?

Me: Um, no honey, what is a Crack Don?

Jackson: It's when you wake up really early in the morning. At the crack of dawn!

And an audible rush of air escaped from my lungs. Now that crack don I know quite a bit about. Jackson has been waking at the crack of dawn since he was born. This morning's 6am wake up was no exception. Whew, drug conversation avoided, at least for now.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Conversation with my toddler

When I take my morning shower (and I refuse to go a day without a shower no matter how needy my boys may be), I usually bring Holden upstairs with me and lock our gate over the stairs. I close all the doors to accessible potties (drowning hazards) and allow Holden to play by himself either in my room/bathroom or in the playroom down the hall while I grab a shower. Jackson is old enough to hang out downstairs watching PBS Kids by himself, or he can come upstairs and play in the playroom as well.

I discovered this morning that I also need to close the door to Jackson's room while Holden is unsupervised. I discovered him hovering on the ladder of Jackson's loft bed this morning. He had made it half way up the bunk and was trying to figure out his next move. He was also giggling uncontrollably, obviously quite proud of his feat. It was such a lovely idea for a loft bed when we bought it. Now, well, it is proving to be the hazard I suspected it would become. So I add to the list to lock the gate, close doors to potties and the door to Jackson's bedroom when I grab my shower.

After my discovery of Holden hovering precariously on the ladder of Jackson's bed I opted to bring him into the bathroom while I got ready. He practically climbed into the shower with me, so I stripped off his jammies and diaper and let him play at the foot of the tub while I showered. The water sprinkled over his sweet little face as he laughed and splashed and played with his toy duck. Then I bundled us both up in thick towels and bathrobes and headed into his room to lotion him up and get him ready for the day. This is how our conversation went from there:

me: Holden, you want to get your diaper on and get dressed?

H: Yeah!

me: Do you want to take Jackson to swimming lessons with me? (as if he had a choice in the matter)

H: Yeah!

me: Do you want to go meet Daddy for lunch after swimming lessons?

H: Yeah!

me: Then come home for nap time?

H: (and he pauses, then shakes head "no" furiously)


...Taking after his big brother starts young.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

More Photoshop Fun


I've been playing around a lot with Photoshop lately. Just trying to learn a little bit of it on my own. I hope to sneak a class in one of these days. The different functionalities are, well, fun! I could waste the boys' entire quiet/nap time playing around on this! Actually, we've had Photoshop for about 6 years. One of our friends in Seattle used to work for Adobe so we got a screaming deal on it. We've neither one really used it very much. But at last its getting its due.

I showed Shawn this one (above) and he commented that he couldn't understand why Andy Warhol's art was considered so unique - all he had to do was use Photoshop. He was kidding.