Sunday, November 30, 2008

Holiday catch up

It is snowing today. It is lovely and white and fluffy. It started Friday evening and has come and gone intermittently. The boys played in it with Daddy yesterday while I finished holiday decorating. I admit I restrained myself a bit this year - just too busy to go into the full glory that my baby sister Kimi undoubtedly does (though her life/schedule seems far busier than mine does with work and school!)! Plus I knew tiny fingers would be tempted to pull the lot down as soon as my back was turned. Though I admit thus far they have been really good about admiring and not touching (too much). Jackson has commented several times now how "beautiful!" it all is. I will also add that the boys helped with the tree for a good 6 minutes. It was a glorious but brief Norman Rockwell moment. Then they begged me to turn off the holiday tunes and crank up the "Sleeping Beauty" DVD. I obliged.

Oh yes, and one final holiday decorating note: I succumbed to a fake Christmas tree this year. We are truly, truly suburbanites now! I feel guilty for this. I vowed as an adult that I would always have a real Christmas tree. I love the smell and look of a real tree, and I've actually read it is environmentally responsible buying a real tree since more trees get planted for each tree cut down, and tree farms grow them for that specific reason. But now I understand the "beauty" of a fake tree -- you buy it once, it lasts forever; considerably less mess; no need to figure out how to recycle it after the New Year; and most importantly - pre-lit! So our lovely 7.5 foot, pre-lit pine sits in our family room, decorated to the hilt in sparkly silver and red, and I have a pine candle burning to affect the smell of a real tree. It'll do.

Ah yes, lest I forget, Thanksgiving was lovely. We went to Aunt Janis and Uncle Al's house in Roxborough Park for the afternoon. Nana was there as well. The boys had the run of the house, and I'm sure there was more squealing and laughter and stomping feet than that house has had in a long while. The boys were on very good behaviour, fueled I'm sure by matchbox cars and new Superman jammies from Nana. The meal was delicious, the company was relaxed and enjoyable, and the views from their house were spectacular. We even had 3 deer visit on the deck for a drink from the birdbath. Much to be thankful for this year, to be certain.

And finally, today Jackson and I are going to see The Nutcracker Ballet for the first time. I'm excited for him to take it all in. It should be a very child-friendly ballet, and I think the music and costumes and dancing will entrance him as much as it will me. I only wish we weren't being blanketed with snow right this minute because I do NOT like driving on snow. Plus we can't take the train as planned since the walk to the theater from the station would be too long and cold. But I'm so looking forward to seeing how he reacts to it all. Plus there is a promise of hot chocolate before the show begins. Can't beat that!

Let the Holiday season begin!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gobble Gobble: A lesson in political correctness

I have no idea if it is politically correct to make Pilgrim and Native American costumes for your kids at Thanksgiving. It used to be fine to do. One of my earliest memories is making a pilgrim apron in Mrs. Hudson's Kindergarten class. I guess I'm not so much worried about the Pilgrims, there are not a lot of them around anymore. But more I'm concerned I'm not supposed to make Native American headdresses, or allow the boys to wear them? I dunno. I like to think I'm a fairly PC kinda gal. But nonetheless, the kids and I made Thanksgiving "hats" yesterday and also hand print turkeys. Remember those? So cute! Jackson wasn't so much into the hats, but Holden wore the feather headdress all day long, and even tried to wear it for nap today.

Apologies if this post doth offend. We had fun, so sue me.

Holden, checking himself out in the mirror
Jackson, tolerating craft time
Holden, a darn cute little Pilgrim if you ask me!


Our big old messy mess.

Happy Thanksgiving one and all. Hope your day is filled with family, friends, good food, and lots and lots of thanks. Gobble gobble.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Smarty Pants


Just a warning - I'm going to brag on my child heavily in this post. If anyone is reading it and doesn't want to hear me go on and on about my eldest son, avert your eyes now...

Yesterday was my first parent-teacher conference of the year for Jackson. His school does two a year - one at the beginning, one at the end. He's only in Pre-K so how much pressure could there be? Well, a lot apparently. I was nervous heading to our appointment. But excited, too. School is a rather shut off topic with Jackson. I don't get a whole lot of info from him about his day, so I looked forward to hearing what Ms. Char had to say. I was also a tad nervous because, well, as awesome as Jackson is, he IS four years old. And a strong willed four year old at that. I didn't know what I'd get from it...

Well turns out I have very little to worry about. His teacher absolutely loves Jackson, and says he is so much fun to have in class. He is very, very smart (her words!) and we should be very proud of him (we are). He earned high marks on every task. She said repeatedly how smart he is. I beamed. Of course he has the occasional tantrum at school, but they are improving -- if tantrums can improve. And he's learning to control his body and his words. And he is learning that there are cause and effect for his actions. That is HUGE for him! But all in all, it was a terrific conference, and I almost felt like crying tears of happiness when I left. I'm so proud of my boy. He really does love school (just like his mama), and he flourishes there. We are so proud!

At bedtime I shared with him some of Ms. Char's comments -- the good and the not so good. That lead to a discussion about him going to Kindergarten next year and I almost had to pull him off the ceiling he got so excited. He cannot wait to go to "big kid school." And possibly even ride the bus. I'm not completely ready for him to grow up so fast, but what a fun ride it is watching him grow and learn and mature.

Way to go Mr. Smarty Pants! Daddy and I are so proud of you!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Family Photoshoot

OK, so I was going to save posting these pictures that I took of us for after Christmas -- since my family will more than likely be receiving copies as part of their gifts, but I couldn't wait. I was so pleased with how they turned out. And believe me, photographing my own family, with myself IN the pictures, was no easy task. The boys did great - all 3 of them! And they got to pick their favorite lunch spot as a treat for being so good. Much to mine and Shawn's chagrin, however, they chose McDonald's. Ah well, can't win 'em all!


Friday, November 21, 2008

Jammies


I love the boys in their jammies. So warm and snugly... and most importantly - ready for bed!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cabernet - 1994-2008

Dad and Diane lost their beloved dog Cab (Cabernet) today. This is a picture of him from earlier this summer. He was a faithful companion to them for many years, and he is preceded in death by his brother Nelson. I'm sure they are in doggy-Heaven right now running around and bickering up a storm.

Jackson learned an appreciation for dogs from his interactions with Cab this summer. Though once a fairly hyper pup, Cab calmed down a great deal in the past couple of years. And this past August he allowed the boys to get up close to him, licking their hands and tolerating their possibly-too-aggressive petting. Jackson hasn't been around a lot of dogs, and Shawn and I are not pet people in general, so the boys haven't been exposed to a lot of dogs. Jackson has been intimidated by them in the past. But half an hour with Cab this summer changed his tune. I wouldn't say he's begging us for a pet or anything, but he doesn't run screaming every time he sees a dog now. He learned to allow a dog to sniff his hand first, and give a gentle pat. He reminds me often that he is no longer scared of dogs anymore. All thanks to Cab's immense patience. That's something right there.

I explained to Jackson today that Cab had passed away. It was confusing to him, and saddening. I teared up just explaining it to him. He asked me if Cab would ever move again and I said no, he was no longer living, but Cab would live in his heart always as long as he remembered him. We talked about the gift Cab gave to Jackson - teaching him to not be afraid of dogs. And Jackson smiled at that memory. But there was definitely an understanding of loss in his eyes, and he told his Daddy he was sad about it before bed tonight.

I'm sure Dad and Di are feeling a tremendous loss tonight, and I give them all my love and virtual hugs. Thank you Cabernet for your many gifts. You will be missed.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Farewell to Bob

My boys love all things related to Bob the Builder. The machines named for the job they do - Lofty, Scoop, Roley, as well as Wendy, Bob's assistant, who secretly harbors a crush on Bob (see the Line Dancing episode and you'll see her crushing big time) and of course Bob himself - master builder, carpenter and Bob of all trades. He is a big hit in our house. And I had to throw him away today.

For Christmas 3 years ago Grammy gave Jackson the awesomest talking and singing Bob doll. He even dances. The boys have a lot of BTB toys and videos, but this talking /singing/dancing wonder has been tops, providing lots of laughter and spontaneous dancing and singing whenever he is turned on. But he slowly started running down a few months ago. We tried changing batteries to no avail. He was dying a slow, painful death. His version of "All Star" came out sounding like a demonic nightmare Bob. So he has sat on a shelf, not working, taking up valuable toy space, and disappointing the boys each time they pull him down from his shelf alongside teddy bears and Tad from Leapfrog and other various "friends," and they push down on his tool belt only to have the cruel reminder that singing/talking/dancing Bob has been replaced by demonic, geriatric looking Bob who barely warbles even a line of his infamous song. And they are then sad and in need of redirection to forget that their beloved Bob no longer has any life left in him.

Just this weekend we tried one last time to breath life back into Bob again. One more shot with fresh batteries. A jiggle here and there to try and get him back into "Yes we can!" shape. But nothing. He doesn't have a note or a move left in him. He is done for.

Seeing that toy space is at a premium in a house with very little storage room, I've been torn with what to do with Bob. I could put him back on his happy little shelf, but that would just bring sadness when the boys pull him down forgetting he doesn't work. I could store him in the crawl space, but would good would that do except take up even more room? I could donate him, but then some other child would be just as disappointed in the non-working-dancing-singing-talking Bob doll. So while cleaning the kitchen yesterday, I tossed him the garbage. The big garbage, in the garage, so the boys wouldn't see. That's is where I toss stale art projects as well (sorry boys!!), so that someone doesn't see them in the recycle bin and wonder why their masterpiece is being thrown out. But that is a guilt, er, I mean, story, for another day.

Twice now I've considered rescuing Bob. I feel guilty throwing away a beloved friend, and filling the landfills with yet another broken toy. But I have stayed my ground. Bob is gone. If the boys ask, I will tell them Bob had work to do in New Guinea or something like that. Then we can pull out a map and focus on New Guinea rather than the fate of Bob the Builder.

Bob the Builder. Beloved friend. We will miss you.

The Day Bob came to live with us - December 2005

Bob-squared, Halloween 2006


Friday, November 14, 2008

Like a Family

Whenever the four of us do something together - read books, watch a movie, go for a walk, etc - Jackson likes to add commentary that we are doing so: "Like a family!" He draws out the word family so that it sounds like "famileeeeeeeee!" He does so with great exuberance and a bit of drama. I have no idea where he got this from, but it tickles me every time. He's so enthusiastic about it, and actually, quite accurate. And it is precisely those quiet moments, when we are all together, like a family, that I hope my boys will remember and cherish. I know that I do. Because life is going by so extremely fast, as I often say, and it is these little moments that may slip through the cracks if we don't make a point to acknowledge them. So yes my sweet little man, whatever we are doing it is "Like a family!" because, yes indeed, we are a family. Always remember that.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Photoshoot

OK, so yes, I take incessant pictures of my children. So sue me. I love learning new tricks with my camera and trying new angles. These are just a few shots of the boys goofing off at the park yesterday. Oh jeez I love these boys.

My youngest, tolerating me with the camera again
Show off!
Holden has an odd fascination with hanging out on his tummy, even on concrete. Here he is examining a fall leaf he found
Jackson, preparing to take over his Dad's BMX crown

And as a side note, there's a gorgeous full moon out tonight...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Vintage

I don't have a vintage picture today. But I have vintage story... 9 years ago today Shawn picked me at my house on Queen Anne, pulling up in his sweet Chevy Lumina, for our first date. We had a drink at TS McHugh's with TaShawna and Darron (T introduced us), saw "A Game of Love and Chance" at the Seattle Rep, and then finished off the evening at McMenamins for a light supper and lots of laughs with Robb and Lisa Pike. I was hooked from the beginning, and showed him as much by making the first move and planting a smoocher on his lips at the end of our first date. We've been pretty much inseparable ever since.

We've weathered lots of ups and downs in the past 9 years together, including buying our first house together, and our second house together; having two healthy, beautiful children, and the loss of our first baby early in my pregnancy; we've moved more times than I can count, including our emotional cross country move to Colorado from Washington; we've changed jobs and careers; made and lost friends along the way; and a million other things in between. But at the end of the day I love that man to pieces and I look forward to our continued lifetime together. A game of love and chance, indeed.

Happy 9 years honey. I love you to the moon and back.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

More of Las Vegas!


Continued pictures from our Las Vegas trip...who knew there was so much to photograph there!?!?

View from our hotel room during the day

The Bellagio has a botanical garden conservatory that changes decor and design with the season. The theme for our visit was decidedly fallish, filled with enormous pumpkins, fall leaves, whimsical characters, and all shades of red, gold and yellow





Artist Dale Chihuly's amazing blown glass on the ceiling of the hotel
And apologies to Mom, this is the only picture of me in my fancy-pants, pink twirly sparkle dress! But thank you a million times over for watching the boys for us!

post vegas stress syndrome

(I have more pictures to post, but my children are getting up from their naps/quiet time so I'll have to continue this post later...)

Shell-shocked by the idea of being child-free for 72 hours
Harrah'sShawn, pondering life in sin city
Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace
Shawn and his mojo
Me, delighted by the pools at the Bellagio
Shawn and I, outside at the Bellagio pools (I have no idea why my arm seems to be atrophied and stuck to my leg)
Shawn at the pool
Us, looking rather suspicious if you ask me
View from our hotel room. yes, from our room!

We are back from our Las Vegas whirlwind. Tummies aflutter, we boarded our plane...and honestly, didn't really think too much of home after that! Oh sure, if we saw something that reminded us of the boys, we commented on it. We called home daily to check on the goings on. But mostly we just enjoyed some "us" time, basking in the warmth of the Vegas sun...or was it the neon? Never you mind, it was a great trip. With the exception of our awesome friend Lisa and Tyler having to miss out on the festivities due to an illness in their family.

Shawn and I ate well, drank well, played well, and slept well. Oh who am I kidding, we were both up at 6:30 AM every single morning because, well, old habits die hard. But we did nap every day. And we stayed out late every night (as late as two old-foggie 35 year olds can do). And we indulged in food and drink to the hilt. We gambled all of $15. Yes, you heard right, big spenders indeed. We stayed in a lake-view room at the Bellagio - a to die for experience. We treated the Bellagio as our own personal cruise ship, very rarely leaving the confines of our gorgeous hotel. We did step out to enjoy Wayne Brady's hilarious show at the Venetian. And we took in the fascinating "Bodies" exhibit at the Luxor. And we popped in and out of most of the hotels on the strip, but mostly that was just to confirm how awesome our hotel was. The Bellagio is the ultimate in lux accommodations, and I think I'm spoiled now to stay anywhere else!

But the best part of the trip was stepping foot into our own house Sunday evening, greeted by the delighted and exuberant faces of our two precious boys. Sometimes it is good to get away to be reminded of how awesome it is back home.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Las Vegas Bound


Shawn and I are leaving these two boys for the first time ever. We're heading for a much needed Las Vegas weekend getaway today. We've each been away from the boys for a few days before, but never together. I'm excited for the trip, but nervous and a little sad leaving my babies. Oh they will be fine, they will be with their two grandmothers, Grammy and Nana. I'm so grateful that our moms will both be here to help out. Grammy has been here for almost two weeks not, helping with birthday and Halloween, and giving me a chance to work on some projects of my own. She's been an immense help. And now she and Nana will be here to watch the boys full time. I know the boys will be fine. And I think once I'm on the plane sipping a cocktail I won't be giving it another thought either. But I've got butterflies right now in my tummy. I love these boys with all my heart and soul, and leaving them for 3 days is a bit like leaving and arm and half my heart behind. Hopefully Wayne Brady and the Bellagio view room, and some solo time with my partner in crime, will help me get past my nervous tummy!

(As a side note, Ty and Lisa, we will miss you guys so much on the trip. And be keeping Mimi in our thoughts.)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes We Can

History is made, boys, in your lifetime. I'm so proud to be an American today. I cried tears of joy listening to Barack Obama's acceptance speech last night. Because I knew that this was a poignant and significant moment. And that at last, after 8 years of shortcomings and lies and selfish agendas, we had a President who would be For The People. You boys. That is what it is all about.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day '08

This is it boys. The 2008 election. Mama's HOPEful that history is made today.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

4.5

Favorite Color - Red

Favorite Food - Fish Sticks (and hot dogs)

Favorite thing to play - Cars and Trucks and Bulldozers

Best Friend - Jackson George, and Avery, too

Favorite Drink - milk

Favorite Snack - Cookies and Fruit

Favorite Time of the Day - 100

Favorite Outside Play - Ride my bike

Favorite Music - Jack Johnson and Laurie Berkner

Favorite Holiday - Halloween, and Christmas, and Birthdays!

Favorite Movie - Star Wars (note from Mom: he just saw this movie for the first time this week!)

Favorite TV Show - Sid the Science Kid

Favorite Shirt - Lightening McQueen

Favorite Jammies - Batman and Spiderman

Favorite Book - Lightening McQueen

Favorite GeoTrax - Eric and Aero

Favorite Sport - I don't know

Favorite Instrument - Guitar

Favorite Animal -Giraffe, and Elephants! I like Elephants!

Tennis Shoes or Hiking Shoes - Hiking Shoes

Shorts or Jeans - Jeans

Bulldozer or Excavator - Excavator, because they are so cool!

What is on your Christmas list? A new GeoTrax train and track

Who do you love - Avery and Jackson George and Chase

"OK, that's enough guessing..."

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween '08

What is it about Halloween that brings out a total kid in me? The dressing up? The candy? The decorations? The parties? The pumpkins? The utter delight on my boys' faces as they dive into their candy on the morning of November 1st? Yes.

Pumpkin Guts
The pumpkin that soon shriveled in the ridiculously HOT late October Colorado sun
Cupcake decorating
Costume #1: Fireman Jack
Jackson at school, singing his Zoophonics song in full costume
Jackson and his very best school pal Avery
The costume parade (and seriously, these two are never separated!)
Ms Lisa dolled up and ready for some spiced wine, er, I mean good, wholesome trick or treating with the kids
The Two Jacksons gearing up for the night's festivities!
Itsy Bitsy Spider
Wall-E and Darth (Jackson-squared)

Itsy Bitsy, Mommy-witch, Wall-E
The neighborhood starting to come alive!
Wall-E!!!!!!!
Let's go, let's go, let's GO!!!!!!!
...and a good time was had by all...