Friday, August 29, 2008

The Two Mr. Noodles

"Mommy, how come there is one Mrs. Noodle but two Mr. Noodles?"

Seems like a pretty innocent question, huh? But it gave me pause when my eldest son asked me that today. The boys were watching an "Elmo's World" dvd in the car as we drove to playgroup. There are, in fact, two Mr. Noodles' on the show. I knew this. I didn't think he realized it though. The original "Mr. Noodle" from "Elmo's World" was portrayed by the late, great actor Michael Jeter, who passed away a number of years ago. Sesame Street, it seems, did a simple replacement of Jeter with another actor who wore the same exact costume to portray the much loved character of the oft times befuddled Mr. Noodle. I suppose it only made sense. How do you expect a simple children's show to explain the death of a beloved character? Though I have no doubt that at some point Sesame Street has in fact poignantly dealt with the topic of death on their show, it is just the sort of show that it is. But as far as I can tell they didn't address it with Mr. Noodle, and I presume they just assumed most children wouldn't notice the change. They underestimated the astuteness of my son.

I suppose I could have used this as a learning opportunity. To sort of explain the concept of life and death to my son. But I realized very quickly that I was ill prepared for that kind of discussion. Though my son's great-Granny passed away last year, he was entirely too young to grasp what was happening at the time. I do, however, think at the age of four he could tackle this topic. But not today. Not while driving along I-25 on the way to a playgroup. Not by myself without Shawn there to help with that deep of a discussion. I wasn't ready, plain and simple.

So I asked my son why he thought there were two Mr. Noodles in the first place. He told me they looked different. I said they are different, certainly. Perhaps they are brothers? Or friends who have the same name? Like he and his pal Jackson George have the same name. But yes, there are two Mr. Noodles, and they are not the same person. He seemed satisfied with that answer. For now anyway. I don't know if I missed a great learning opportunity or not. I could have gone for miles on that discussion. But, as I said, I wasn't ready for it just yet. But it has got me thinking, and I hope I can be prepared for the next time a discussion as important as that comes along.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Obama Babies


VERY big day today...I hope one that my boys will look back on and say "I was a part of that!"

Lisa and I got the wild idea (it was totally Lisa's idea but I was on board from the word go!) to take the kids down to the Democratic National Convention in downtown Denver to check out the action. How often do live in the city where a national political convention is being held, and better yet, it is your political party hosting the event!? If you are a Texas girl like me, well, that never happens. So we put all our worries aside with regards to traveling to the hustle and bustle of downtown with 3 small children (Allie stayed home with her Mimi), and threw caution to the wind. The boys were all three ecstatic to ride the train. Lisa and I were, I think, relieved that there was a train available for us to take rather than trying to drive into the madness of it all.

The train dropped us in the center of all the action. Well, I should say, the center of the action at around 9:30 in the morning. Delegates were noticeable by their badges and campaign gear. Onlookers like us were at the ready with cameras poised. News crews and journalists milled about throughout the downtown area. Guys trying to make a buck sold t-shirts and memorabilia on every corner. Political messages and protests were certainly a part of it all as well. The police presence gave me pause -- pleased that they were there to protect, concerned that they were necessary in the first place. But such are the times we are in. There was definitely an exciting charge in the air, even that early in the morning. I felt giddy just getting to be a part of it all in some small way. And I'm thrilled my boys will have the photographic evidence to show that they were a part of American history in the making.

After taking in the sights, purchasing I heart Obama t-shirts and banners for our "Obama babies!" (as many people called out as we passed), trying to get our picture on MSNBC, and showing the boys the big boat mast that sits behind Union Station, we decided it was time to head out. The streams of people already heading to Invesco field were visible from the train as we sped back to our quiet suburban life.

The boys are now napping and won't likely remember a whole lot about what we experienced today, but as for me, I will be glued to my TV later this evening to watch Obama speak from Invesco field, knowing I was just there myself. You could feel the change in the air this morning, I swear it. The very change that Obama speak of so eloquently. The times, they are a chang'n... indeed.
The train ride downtown, so exciting!





On every corner...
Rock'n the vote
Big Blue Bear peering into the Convention Center





Obama babies!

Hustle and Bustle
Pink ladies for peace
MSNBC




Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dinos on the loose!

Two posts in one day, I know, I'm crazzzzzy!!!

This post is for Clover, a blogger I recently found who's blog I enjoy reading. If she lived down the street from me we would be friends, I just know it! I love the WWW because it allows me to "meet" people from all over the world that I otherwise wouldn't know, who might just end up a friend. I actually have a few "cyber friends" who have become real life friends - Kim and Julie in Seattle, LeeAnn, Kelly and Nikki in Colorado, Deb who visits Colorado enough that I get to hang with her and her family every now and again at the zoo. And many more who I love and know but haven't even met face to face - Heather, Liz, BJ, Jenn, the list could go on and on. I'm popular that way.

Anyway Clover, this is for you! Last week you asked on your blog what to do with kids clothes that are too stained to donate. Well with two boys I definitely have this issue. Half of J's hand-me-downs to H are stained, and since H hates, hates, hates a bib, he continues this stain trend on a daily basis. So walla! I cut apart one stained shirt (the unstained part) and sewed it onto another stained shirt to hide that stain! Sure I wouldn't do this to all the stained clothes, who has the time, but I especially loved this dino shirt when it was Jackson's so I love that I get to use it again for Holden. My sisters, who are the bargain hunters of the century, would be so proud! As would my Grandma Broome who used to sneak Sweet-N-Low packets from the Country Club.



Vintage Wednesday


Today's vintage shot...Shawn and I, a self portrait, taken on Canon Beach, Oregon, the weekend after he proposed to me, August 2000.

Shawn's original plan was to propose to me during our little weekend getaway to Canon Beach, but apparently, according to him, once he had that ring in his possession he couldn't wait. He proposed to me on a Saturday afternoon, in the tiny apartment we shared in Seattle, while I was sitting on our garage sale couch. I think he may have even knelt down on one knee, but I can't remember. It was all sort of a blur after he said the words "will you marry me?" But I know I said yes immediately, and that I cried. I love happy tears. I wouldn't have had it any other way. The following weekend we celebrated our engagement with our pre-planned trip to Oregon. It was a perfect little getaway.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Imagine the hormones!

Living now in a house surrounded by dudes, and only dudes, it is hard to imagine I once lived in a house of all women. My folks split up when I was around 8 or so (though Dad has never lived more than a few miles away from us so I never thought of myself as being from a "broken home" in any way, shape, or form), so that left the house with all women, all the time. My mom, my older sister Debbie, my little sister Kimi, and moi! We even had a couple of female dogs over the years. Our hamster may have been female, too, for all I know.

As one could imagine -- and not to play into stereotypes too much...but, there were lots of tears and tantrums and hormonal highs and lows in our house over the years. Lots of fighting about who could borrow who's blouse or shoes or overalls or earrings. And as a middle child, I also admit a bit of brattiness that I never got my own room to myself until Debbie moved out - I was always sharing with one of my sisters. I'm sure I made my unhappiness about this well known. But there was also a lot of talking and laughing in our house, too. Debbie's husband Ed -- before Kimi and I were married ourselves -- often commented that he could never get a word in edgewise when we were all together. He still can't. Also, being in an all women house, there was also a lot of running around the house half naked. There was never any discussion about whether pink was an appropriate color for anything. None of us ever really smelled very badly. None of us had big, gargantuan branded tennis shoes or WWF action figures or Archie Comic Books or matchbox cars. Certainly our house had its own brand of chaos- it still does when we all get together, but it was all girls all the time, and we liked it that way just fine.

Mom, Me, Kimi, Debbie - Texas, August 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

With friends like these...

...who needs a bakery...?


These gorgeous folks are our neighbors, Lisa and Tyler, and their beautiful kiddos, Jackson and Allison. Oh heck, I've blogged about them and our crazy adventures together numerous times. We are so fortunate that they moved in next door to us a year and a half ago -- is it really just that long? It feels like we've been friends forever and ever. We just love their family to pieces and pieces. We have a world in common with them and our kiddos are all close in age. In fact, we both have Jacksons in our houses, who happen to be best buds, so middle names are a necessity when we are all together -which is easily 3-5 times a week! They rock!

So my point is, you know you have good neighbors/friends when you can call them up at 8:45PM, after the kids are all in bed, and ask if they have any leftover birthday cupcakes you could snag from them. That's what Shawn and I did last night. And they happily obliged. And included a bottle of white wine as well leftover from Saturday's big birthday bash for their little princess (no, the wine was not for the birthday girl). I've never bummed cupcakes off of anyone before, but that's just the kind of friends Lisa and Tyler are. No need to borrow a cup of sugar, just ask for the cake already made!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Summer Storm

We had one heck of a summer storm this evening - complete with a couple of tornadoes! Earlier today we were at the park playing with the boys and two ominous looking clouds started to move towards each other. Shawn mentioned they looked like tornado clouds but I just laughed it off. About an hour later the rain and hail and thunder and lightening converged upon us, and when checking out the hail in the front yard, we caught site of the first tornado, which dissipated after a minute or so. I quickly ran and grabbed my camera in time to snap a shot of the second one forming. Both were far enough away not to worry us too much, but we had our plan to hit the crawl space under our stairs if the need arose.

The boys got a big kick out of watching it all. So did I.





Saturday, August 23, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

Little fishies




Summer is quickly evaporating, right before my eyes. It was actually cool here the other evening. Lest we forget, here are my little fishies swimming in OP's pool in Texas. Our pool doesn't allow water wings/floaties, so it was so fun for Jackson to try them out in the comfort of a private pool. He had so much more confidence with those little orange beauties on, swimming around unassisted and full of excitement for his new found talent. It bums me out he can't use them at our pool. Holden tried on Jackson's usual life vest (our pool does allow that), and though he wasn't a swimming fool, he loved jumping into me and toddling around the pool's edge, eating apples off of OP and Cracker's apple tree. It was a blast watching my boys have so much fun in that pool - I have years and years of summer memories swimming in Dad's backyard, drinking Crystal Light lemonade and eating potato chips.

Enjoy the last bit of summer, it is quickly turning to fall...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Super Heroes

I made these capes. Thank you Mom for teaching me how to sew. Even when I cursed and cried.







Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Vintage Wednesday

The beginning of Jackson's love affair with trains, Christmas 2005.

This was our first Christmas in Colorado and Jackson received this wondrous train set. We were living in an apartment, just starting our house searching journey, and this train table overtook our dining area. Notice how tiny our tree is in the back ground! Notice how shiny and new the trains are? They have been so well loved in the past 3 years that they are almost too worn to be played with any longer. Tracks are mismatched or broken. Trains have lost wheels or their attachment magnets. Buildings are crumbling. They weren't poor quality, they were just really well loved.

Over the past year or so, Jackson has upgraded to GeoTrax, the mature child's train set. This wooden set relished to a lidded container on a shelf. But Holden pulls these wooden trains out now and again and has a go at them. And I often notice Jackson gravitating back over to them when H has them out, building a simple track or pulling a stray car around the bed. Their pull is magnetic (both literally and figuratively).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

USA!

In honor of the '08 Olympics in Beijing, I signed J up for gymnastics today! I decided to stop into Omega to check their class schedule since we were nearby (not like anything in this little town is too far away!). We ran into one of J's buddies from preschool and found out she and another boy from his school would be in the Tuesday 9:30 class, so we signed him up on the spot. The teacher even let Jack participate in a freebie trial class today! It was so fun to watch him in action. He did fantastic, even mastering walking on the high balance beam without help from Mr. Matt, his instructor. I'm looking forward to watching him take off in this. I think it is a good fit. I asked him afterwards what his favorite part was and he said it was Mr. Matt. Ah, a teacher's pet in the works...just like his mama.

As a side note, I made the cutest stink'n superhero capes for the boys yesterday during their naps (yes, you heard me right, they both napped!). I'll snap a picture of them as soon as I can get the boys to stop flying long enough to pose for me. On second thought, I'll just get a shot mid-flight if I can. I'm so pleased with how they turned out!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Let's Do This Thing!

A couple of times a year I need a little ass kicking to get myself motivated and back on track. I admit that sometimes I find myself getting lazy as a parent, as a wife, as a friend and as a daughter. I let the house slide. I let the kids watch too much TV. I forget that I have a husband. I don't call my friends or family enough to catch up. I eat too much. Drink too much red wine and/or Diet Coke. Don't exercise enough. My pants get too tight. You know the drill.

I am not sure what it is that snaps me back, but now and again I need it. I think for me, this time, it was being back home in Texas and helping my mom out after her surgery. She healed amazingly well and is probably already doing way too much for herself now that I'm back home again (Mom, sit down and put your feet up!), but she does have Debbie there to whip her into shape, too. In combination with that, when I'm in Texas I eat entirely too much. Entirely. Lubbock is a restaurant mecca for some reason and there are not enough meals in a day to eat all the yumminess it has to offer. And of course, while I was there, my kids were kind of unruly and crazy and over stimulated.

So I'm home again. Settling into life. Gearing up for Jackson's school year (pre-K baby!). Getting ready to watch my baby turn 2 in a few months. Fielding Halloween costume ideas from both boys. That sort of drill. And I'm finding myself needing a butt kicking. And I'm giving it to myself. I'm back at the gym. Putting more into my work outs. Watching my diet a bit more - hello fiber! Planning more activities and crafts and outings for the kids. Reminding myself that I can have time for them, Shawn and myself as well. I'm a stay at home mother and though it isn't a paying job, it is a job. A full time job. And I have to remind myself of that fact. What I do is not a joke or a punchline. It is my career choice, at least for now. And I love, love, love what I do.

So I begin. I've planned our meals for the week. I browsed my "Best Life Diet" book and found some meals that will make us all happy and hopefully work on my waistline as well. I grocery shopped (happily running into Gidget and her crew at the store and catching up briefly with her). I've got nice healthy snacks planned for the kids - popcorn, smoothies, homemade fruit popsicles. I've got a list of things I want to accomplish this week, including making super hero capes for each of the boys. I have a gaggle of birthday gifts to buy, wrap and in most cases ship. I have to get Jackson's school supplies. Return some school clothes I bought him last week that do not fit (bring on the 5Ts!). Paint the futon in the playroom. Call the Grange about maybe doing a kids craft class there sometimes this fall. And a host of other things for them, Shawn and myself. All the little things that make up my day.

So bring on the ass kicking. I'm ready for it and ready to do this thing!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Priceless

  • Our first overnighter for Shawn and I, together, without our boys
  • Enormous, comfy bed at Inverness Hotel...mid day nap included
  • Furniture browsing without yappy kiddos in our wake (at last we have upgraded to a King bed!)
  • Bang Bang Shrimp, a good Cabernet and a filet to die for at Bonefish
  • Amos Lee at The Gothic Theater (Oh my heavens I love Amos Lee and would like very much to have coffee with him and tell him how much I love him and maybe he would stay at our house awhile and sing us all to sleep - a girl can dream, right?!?)
  • Snagging great seats and a great view at a standing room only venue (I'm too old to stand for hours in black high heeled boots - but I'm not too old to wear black high heel boots!)
  • A surprising delight in the opening act - Priscilla Ahn
  • Our car didn't get towed even though we illegally parked at a Starbuck's (heck, we've bought enough lattes to pay for that parking)
  • Going to bed at 1:00 AM
  • Sleeping until 9:30 AM
  • Brunch, oh the brunch, at the Inverness hotel...five words: all you can eat buffet (and not a chintzy one!), plus views of the golf course. I don't play golf but I can appreciate a view. And did I mention I ate 4 different types of dessert as well as eggs Benedict and bagels and lox?!?!? Not at the same time of course. I had dessert (all 4 of them) after my meal.
  • 24 hours of peace and quiet and adult conversation and amazing food and even more amazing music...

Friday, August 15, 2008

a few more Texas delights

Just work'n through some shots and posting the ones that delight me. I'm bummed -- I kept my camera on "green" most of the trip because I was too preoccupied with the boys to think about aperture and shutter speed. As a result, most of my shots are dark or grainy or both. Bummer. Lesson learned -- trust myself more than the camera. Next time I'll switch it back to manual mode and shoot from the hip (no pun intended...or maybe yes, the pun was intended).

Taking in the Science Spectrum - a true "must do" if you ever find yourself in the vicinity of Lubbock, Texas. This was just the toddler area. It is 3 floors of amazingness for kids infant through, well, adulthood. Debbie and I had just as much fun as the kids I think!


My Dad bought this John Deere ride on tractor toy for my sister and I when we were very young. He fixed it up and painted it and we played on it for years and years and years. Imagine my son's delight when he discovered it, dusty and off its chain (not slang, the chain was truly off the gears) tucked away in Grammy's garage. I imagine it hadn't seen much light in the past few years - my nieces probably aren't big into John Deere, though I may be wrong.
Early in the morning, before the sun got too hot, I filled an old bucket with soapy water and the boys got down to cleaning it up. I got the chain back on and gave it a little WD40 action, and they were off. It was probably the highlight of the trip for both of my John Deere tractor lov'n boys.

This is my dollhouse from when I was a little girl - my Dad built it for me and my mom picked out all the tiny, sweet furnishings. It is in pretty darn good shape considering it is well over 20 years old and I have 3 sweet nieces who like to play with it now and again. I pulled it down and let the boys play with it during our stay. They loved it and had fun alternating playing the Daddy, the Mommy and the baby. I adore this dollhouse, and it makes me happy that my boys actually got some fun out of it as well.

I like the angle of this picture of my nieces. They are such great kids.

Jackson, post photography session meltdown.