Saturday, January 31, 2009

A day like today...

It has been a difficult time around our house lately. I don't know how else to explain it, but as it goes, sometimes being a parent is just really hard. Really. I am guessing the boys are feeling the stress of our lives in general -- see previous posts with all the goings on -- and they act out on it. Especially Jackson. I don't often like to post "down in the dumps" types of posts, but it has just been a crummy day...

J is such a spirited child. I'm learning that is the proper, positive "label" to give him so that I don't put out negative words like, oh, being a general pain in the ass. I mean that with love. But he is a very persistent, demanding, and dramatic child (no idea where he gets that from, ahem...). And during times of change or stress this part of him really shines. Lots of tantrums and yelling and feet stomping. He's only four! Shawn and I look at each other exasperated, bewildered, unsure of what the "right" thing to do is. We love this child, unconditionally, but that doesn't mean we have to love his behavior, or even like it all that much. And as smart as I think Shawn and I are, we are often at a loss as to how to cope with this behavior. It is definitely unique. HE is definitely unique. It is the thing we love the most about him. It is also the thing we find most challenging.

So it is 7:00 on a Saturday evening. Our boys are both in bed. It is all we could think to do with them after a day of tantrums and emotions and fits. Shawn and I are exhausted from a day of refereeing and combat. It wasn't a fun day. Some days are just like that I suppose. And I wrack my brain, search through my "parenting books," looking for answers. Love them they say. Love them unconditionally, and they will turn out fine. Yes, I suppose this is true. I hope it is. I pray it is. Because sometimes the love part is all we know how to do.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Kids in the Tub

I haven't posted pictures of the kids in awhile. I've been too wrapped up in, well, life, I guess. I was editing some other pictures today and stumbled upon these of the kids in the tub a week or so ago. Nothing fancy. But who doesn't love a good kids in the tub shot?? Besides, my boys are cute, gotta show 'em off.

By the way, the last picture is red because Jackson specifically asked that I make it such, as red is his favorite color. I kinda like it. Hey, the kid's got an eye!





Friday, January 23, 2009

Kindergarten Here We Come!

OK, so he's not starting Kindergarten until the fall, but we found out today that Jackson made the lottery cut for a fantabulous (yes, I made that up) public magnet school in our little town. It is very unique in its teaching style, and very engaging. There is tremendous parent involvement, teamwork is a school motto, and lots of "field study" (that could be anything from digging a hole in the dirt in the playground to explore what is found, to camping trips and field trips). The children are encouraged to ask questions, explore their thoughts, and work as a team. This school is all working together as a crew. I'm so ecstatic that he got in, and that Holden will be grandfathered in now as well. It's about as "granola" as we could get in our small town. And we are totally jazzed. Now I have to prepare myself to let him go to Kindergarten, and full day Kindergarten at that. At least I have7 months to prepare myself before the first day of school!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

'sup

There is much going on in our house. The Hope For Kyra Benefit and Silent Auction is on Monday. Yikes! And it has sold out! I'm heads down working out the final details, along with of course the amazing team of ladies in our neighborhood. I'm thrilled we are going to be able to have such a great turn out supporting Kyra. She continues to be in our thoughts and prayers daily.

And to add to the stress level of our lives, we have decided to move. No, not out of town, just to a slightly bigger house. We have been busily tidying up our house, make minor improvements, and just getting it ready to list. It goes up next week. We are super excited to look for a bigger house. We have needed it since, well, since we moved into this house. It is a good time to buy (though not the best time to sell...) so we are trying to take advantage of that. My key requirements are bedrooms for everybody, including one for guests (no more couch for our mamas!), and no oak cabinets. ha ha. Shawn's big requirements are a finished basement, and a three car garage. I guess he thinks he's getting a Ferrari or something for that third space. Either way, it should be a very exciting next few months. Stay tuned...

And the boys. Well, they have been such troupers with all the goings on. I've been so heads down in the auction, that they have played more than their fair share of the Wii. But thank goodness that they are at least entertained and having fun. I did sneak in a picnic today - can you imagine, a picnic in January in Colorado??! Yup, we are having some crazzzy weather here!. And Grammy will be here tomorrow to help me out so I can focus on the event. Once again, we are so lucky to have family near enough that we can count on them when we are in need.

This post isn't funny or irreverent or really that exciting, but it's what's happening in our little neck of the woods. We'll catch up more soon!

Oh, yes, and if you haven't had a chance to check out my photography blog, I've gone commercial! I'm adding a dash more stress to our days by starting my own photography business. I don't know where it will take me, but I'm excited to follow this passion of mine. I've had lots of great feedback from the photo shoots I've already gotten under my belt, and I look forward to more bookings. I love telling a family's love story via photographs.

Check it out: http://cribtalesphotos.blogspot.com/

peace out!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

History in the making


Barack Obama was sworn in as our 44th President today. I'm so proud to be an American, and that a new and different and inspiring administration is now in office. It is time to see the promised changes come to fruition. I, and the rest of the world, await with baited breath. You'll look back on this day, boys, and know that this is the day things turned around for our country. I truly believe that. It won't be easy. This is the most depressed economy and nation we have seen by far in the last two, if not three, generations. We need this change now, more than ever.

Welcome President Obama. Don't let us down. We are counting on you, and the new administration, to bring that promised hope and change to our country, and to our earth.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Guest Blogger...my Dad

This is an email I got from my Dad. He sent it to all of his siblings, as well as his daughters. I felt like it was perfect to share in my blog, so I hope Dad doesn't mind. I'm proud of what he wrote. I'm proud of my family. I'm proud of the beliefs and sense of honor that they instilled in me. My Dad immigrated to America as a young teenager. The dream his father had for him, is the same dream I have for my own children - freedom, independence, prosperity, tolerance and acceptance of all people, religions, and ideals. My Grandpa paved the way for the life we in our family all enjoy today. We are blessed.

"While sitting and watching some of the festivities as well as MLK programs, my mind floated back many years to other Presidential Inaugurations. My mind took me back to the election of 1960 and the Legacy of John F. Kennedy. I can remember how excited this country was to see and witness how a man like JFK could be life-like! His dynamic personality as well as his empathy for ALL people was so evident.(A far cry from the president who will be leaving office tomorrow!)

As my mind wandered to days of the past, one person kept popping up in my mind......Yes..........OUR DAD!
I could envision him and witness his pride in our new President. I know he would have been glued to the T.V.(or even been standing in Washington D.C.).

Then, I realized .............today is January 19th..........HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He would have been 92 years old today. And I bet he would be just an avid reader as well as a caregiver to those who needed help. We should all be proud to come from that background. I wonder where we would be in our lives if not for our DAD!

I can still hear his loud laughter as well as his speaking style. When we were in church on Christmas Eve, I saw so many images of our dad......layreading and leading the prayers.

Please say a little prayer for our dad, as well as a prayer for our new President, Barack Obama.
I love you all,
JIM"

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tigger Babe

This afternoon the boys and I were reading books. Jackson brought over a photo book of him when he was a baby. He pointed to a shot of himself when he was about 4 months old, wearing a Tigger costume. It was his first Halloween. Jackson spotted a toy in the picture he didn't recognize (because yes, this kid has a mental catalog of every toy he has ever owned, so don't try and toss or donate an old toy because he will figure it out). I told him he didn't recognize it because it wasn't his toy, it was a toy from daycare. He looked at me confused. Daycare? What's that??

I explained to him that as an infant, when we still lived in Seattle, he had gone to daycare and Mommy and Daddy had both gone to offices to work (and by work I mean get paid for work, because what I do every day now as a full time mama, is work, just non-paid work...unless you count kisses, in which case, I'm rich. I digress...). That from the ages of 4 months to 11 months, he had gone every morning to the warm, cheery house of one Ms. Sharon Stone (no, not that Sharon Stone), owner of Teddy Bear Lane Daycare. We then proceeded to have a lengthy discussion about daycare, Ms. Sharon, and the other children who were there as well - Sam and Lena. The whole discussion really took me back to those early days. I didn't like dropping my baby off at daycare every day. Yes, he was very well cared for, nurtured, loved, by Ms. Sharon. She was like a surrogate aunt to Jackson. And yes, I had a good job, which paid well, and even afforded me flexibility to stop by during the occasional lunch break and nurse my little boy if I got to missing him too much. But it wasn't enough. I wanted desperately to be with my baby boy all the time. I was his mama. I should be there for him. I was miserable.

Over the next several months, Shawn and I really began to question a lot about our lifestyle in the city. Seattle was (is) a very expensive city. We had a mortgage on a tiny cottage of a house. Daycare, especially a really good one, was spendy as well. We had no family nearby to help us out in an emergency, or even just for the sake of having family close by. Visits from the grandparents were confined to once a year. Not to mention aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. We were really feeling that emptiness.

So all this combined was the catalyst for our move to Colorado. Just before Jackson turned a year, we both resigned from our jobs, left Ms. Sharon and all the wonderful toys, sold our house on the first day it was on the market (oh, those were the days!), and hired a moving company. We were off. Colorado bound. The suburbs were in our future. Colorado gave us close proximity to Shawn's family, and good career opportunities for him as well. And it was close enough to my family in Texas that a plane reservation was not required for a visit. In retrospect, it was a hasty, crazy, unplanned move. We were wing'n it. Shawn didn't even have a job lined up once we arrived, though he remedied that very soon after we arrived and got settled. I did, however, full time mama. And I relished it. Loved it. And, I admit it, found it extremely challenging. I still do. That little baby, in his wee little Tigger costume (so appropriate because that kid came out of the womb jumping), had the power to essentially move mountains for us. And he did.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Vintage Wednesday

Holden at 8 months.

I was searching for some older pictures and came across this sweet little man. Oh boy, I miss this age so much. But I also relish 27 months as well. Every age brings new challenges and new delights, and I welcome them all. Their baby time is so finite, and I forget how tiny they once were. Especially with my "baby" because at the age of 2, yeah, he's still such a baby to me.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What's on our bedside table


We received some fantastic books at Christmas this year. The boys have their favorites, but these four are the sure-fire-bed-time-winners that appeal to both of them, and to Shawn and me as well!


Be Glad Your Nose Is on Your Face: And Other Poems: Some of the Best of Jack Prelutsky
by Jack Prelutsky (Author), Brandon Dorman (Illustrator)

This book is full of silly and nonsensical poems. Dragons, Gloopy Gloppers, and Seattle rain are amongst the favorite topics covered. The illustrations are fantastic, and the words are complex. I like that. Though Jackson can even read some of the more simplified poems. The book is divided by topics, but honestly, we don't get far from the gross stuff very often. I should also mention, Jack Prelutsky wasNamed the first Children’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation in 2006. Cool.


Dirt on My Shirt
by Jeff Foxworthy and Steve Bjorkman

Yup, a book about dirt. That wins in our house. More funny, silly poems. Not necessarily as "complex" as the previous book of poems, but definitely fun, funny, and funnier. Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed

So apparently there is a love/hate relationship parents have with Berkely Breathed. I didn't realize this until I looked up this book online to steal the image. Berkely is a top notch illustrator, and a deep and moving storyteller. This is such a beautiful book on so many levels. It is gorgeously illustrated, that is a given. The story line is about friendship, tolerance, and understanding. At first I realized it was a bit heavy; but I also realized it opened the door for a deeper discussion with the boys. Holden adores this book, and honestly doesn't need to go beyond how fun the pictures are of these two unlikely friends. Jackson, however, had a lot of questions. I welcomed them. We were able to have a discussion about what death is, what true friends do for one another, and acceptance of all types friendships. I'm sure my youngest will develop these same questions as he gets older, and I'll welcome them, too. I truly love this book, love reading it to the boys, and love to see their reaction to it.


Curious George and the Firefighters
by Anna Grossnickle Hines and H.A. and Margret Rey

Curious George. At a fire station. Need I say more??!



ps -sorry for the "look inside" tags. I stole, er, I mean
borrowed these images from Amazon. :-)

pps - have I mentioned that Jackson is reading?! He
is. It is so awesome to watch him learn. He sounds out words, mostly in his head, and can read quite a bit from his library of books. His love of reading is further nurtured by the wonderful gifts of books he receives from our family, especially Nana, Aunt Kimi & Uncle Bob, and Grammy. Ms. Char even sent him home with a book from school to borrow because he loved reading it so much.

ppps - I know there are weird fonts going on in this post and believe me, it is driving me insane. I can't seem to fix them. I'll wait for my smart, gorgeous, sexy, husband to come home and tell me what I did wrong.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

grahams

The Scene:
The boys are eating a snack and watching a movie.
I'm cleaning.

I hear crying from Holden. Seems Jackson got the graham cracker Holden was coveting (you know, the one that is completely whole without any chips or broken off pieces...the graham cracker holy grail).

Overheard:
J: "Oh Holden, come on, don't cry over a graham cracker!" total exasperation.

And the tears continue until I retrieve Holden an unbroken, untainted graham. Sigh. It's the little things like this that make me a crazed mama, but also make me laugh. He's 4. What's he going to come up with when he's 8? Or 18?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

My Guy

Happy 36th Birthday to my guy. I love you shmoop. I hope this is a wonderful year for you!

36 reasons I love you:

1. you support our family 100%, allowing me to be an at-home-mama
2. you fix all of our computer problems
3. you believe in me
4. you love our boys more than anything else in the world
5. you are good to your Mother
6. you trust people
7. you are dead sexy, with the cutest ass ever
8. you are not a complainer
9. you drove a Chevy Lumina when I first met you
10. you know how to snowboard
11. you love peanut butter
12. you are a good friend to your pals
13. you are an amazing friend to me
14. you have a (slightly) higher credit score than me
15. you are careful with our money and you plan for our future
16. but you still buy frivolous things for me because you know I will like them
17. you helped me find my passion for photography
18. you play with our boys even when you have just had a long, exhausting day
19. you love coffee
20. you are the most selfless person I know
21. you do all the icky yard work I don't like, and you take out the garbage
22. you recycle, too
23. you want the best for me, our children, and our family
24. you gave me two beautiful boys
25. you want the best from this life
26. you protect us fiercely
27. I love your laugh
28. you are addicted (slightly) to the Batman game on the Wii
29. you love to eat as much as I do
30. you never hog the covers...or complain when I do
31. you are a great dancer, unbeknown to most people who know us
32. you call me every night to tell me you are on your way home from work
33. you still make me feel all twitterpaited
34. you are supportive of everything I do
35. you are gentle and strong and kind
36. You are the love of my life. Happy Birthday Honey, to the moon and back. xox

Monday, January 05, 2009

Sunday, January 04, 2009

winter blahs

The holidays are winding down, and Jackson is still sick. Blah. We're all feeling the winter blues. We've loved having Daddy home with us off and on over the past few weeks, and we'll miss him when he heads back into the office tomorrow. I'll be focusing my attention to the Hope For Kyra benefit, which is in three weeks (!), and to getting Jackson enrolled for Kindergarten for next year (SOB!). I'm working on a little photography venture of my own that I'll go into more details about at a later date. And I'll also be reeling in Mr. I'm-two-now-what-are-you-going-to-do-about-it, and hoping he doesn't catch his brother's illness.

Can it really be 2009 already????

Friday, January 02, 2009

Pants

While watching Sesame Street this morning, my eldest son pondered the following question...

"How come nobody but the people are wearing pants??"

Indeed.

24 hour recap

We started the new year off with a bang - a big party with good friends in our neighborhood. 10 adults and 10 children. It was a wonderful way to welcome in the new year, good food, great friends, lots of laughs...

We ended the first day of the new year with Jackson in the ER for a bad case of the croup. Poor kid has been plagued by bouts of croup since he was an infant. We were at Sky Ridge for four hours, and after a hearty dose of epinephrine in the neb, a shot, and chest x-rays, they finally sent us home. Jackson and I watched the entire Sponge Bob Square Pants movie in our little ER room. Hearing him laugh out loud after a miserable day of not breathing well was worth the fart jokes that are sure to be repeated by my sponge of a child. Jackson also got to eat a double popsicle the doctor gave him - and didn't have to share. He was such a trouper and I was really super proud of him. At one point he started to gather up our stuff and told me "let's go home to Daddy and Holden now." Poor guy.

But his breathing stablized. His 104 degree temp came down. And his x-rays were clean. They sent us home. He snuggled with us on the couch and was asleep in seconds when we finally got him in bed around 10:00. He only woke once in the night, calling out for Daddy, who laid down with him the rest of the night.

Now he is happily playing Batman on the Wii. And he will be getting the Wall-e movie this afternoon for being so brave at the hospital. I'm thinking I didn't stress the healthy part of my new year's wish well enough. Here's to a happy, healthy new year.