Tuesday, March 31, 2009

At my leisure...

As I sit here at my desk, leisurely perusing my favorite blogs and checking out Facebook, my almost fiver year old son is slaving away. I gave him a stack of old bills and my shredder, and he has been happily shredding documents for the past half hour. Not to fret, it is a fool-proof shredder, so no worries of shredded fingers or the like. But the best part of the deal is he keeps exclaiming out loud, to no one in particular, "This is FUN!" I dare not tell him that what he is doing is actual "work." He has an entire years worth of bills to shred. So I'm thinking he should be busy for at least another half hour or so. And in return I get a garbage bag (or 2) of packing shreds, and an hour of peace and quiet (except for the incessant whir and squeal of the shredder).

Is it child abuse to make your son slave over a hot shredder all afternoon? Especially when he thinks it is so much fun??!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spring has Sprung

Last weekend the temps soared high into the 70's, and we happily took advantage of them, and the amazing parks we have here in Castle Rock. What a gorgeous day with my gorgeous family. Feel'n blessed.

Three guys I love
Practicing his Spidey-ness
This Dad is remarkable
These boys are remarkable
More of Spidey
Best Buds
And yes, more Spidey -- see the trend...
Sweet Pea in all his sweetness


Monday, March 23, 2009

Call me Email


Last night I decided to try reading a chapter book to Jackson. Nearing the big five, I think he's ready for something more in depth (I know I am). Problem is, I have packed up most of the boys' books, and I don't have a large selection of chapter books to choose from until we hit the library later this week. I DID, however, find a children's version of "Moby Dick" that must have been Shawn's when he was a child. It is very much "kidded down" to a kid level, and I skimmed through it quickly and decided it was ok. It's a good read, definitely grabbing his attention. He is very excited about chapters, and what is going to happen in each chapter -- mainly looking to see if this is the chapter Moby Dick actually shows up in. I think he's in for a long haul because as of chapter 6, there is no Moby Dick yet. Though we have had a whale killing (sorry PETA) so that satiated him some. He's a boy, there is a built in gene that seeks out gore, so this book really isn't phasing him too much in that category.

Overall he seems truly captivated by the story; and doesn't seem bothered that pictures are few and far between. He was curious about whale blubber being used to light lanterns, and the fact that there was no electricity long, long ago. He really seems to "get" what is going on in the story. Since I haven't read "Moby Dick" all the way through in decades, I am hoping the ending isn't as gruesome as I fear it might be. But I'm committed to finishing the book with him, and I love love love that he is showing such a strong interest in a book that is less pictures and more words!

The few pictures that are scattered throughout the book are more sketches than anything. They are all fairly similar -- grungy men, waiting on a big ship, looking for whales. Specifically, Moby Dick. But the highlight of the evening came when Jackson stopped me to ask if one of the sketches was Email. Email? I was confused. Until I realized he was referring to Ishmael. Ishmael. Email. This boy is still very much grounded in the 21st century I would say. No whale oil lanterns for him on his birthday this year!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I'm no athlete

This isn't a poignant post boys. I just thought I would put it out there to you two that there is absolutely nothing athletic about your mama. If either of you has inherited even an ounce of athleticism (and I'm fairly sure I see many Saturday morning's spent on a ball field in my future), then know flat out you got it from your Dad. Dad who was a BMX nationally ranked champ. Dad who played football on into his college years. Dad who ran track like a speed demon. Dad who even now can ride his bike for hours on end without asking "can we go home now?" Dad who never ever even talks about his past in the arena of sports. Dad who rarely even watches "the game" when it is on because he'd rather spend that time playing with you two crazy kids. Dad. That's where you're gonna get your muscles from. Though, I should add, I was the ping pong champion of the 10th grade 1st period PE class, along side my best pal Brandy. So yeah, I guess if you have any ping pong abilities you DID get those from me.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Making do

Times are tight. At least that is what the media is screaming in my ear. And yes, I do agree it is. We've gotten ourselves into a big fat financial mess over the past 4+ years or so, as a country I mean, and there are lots and lots of fingers to point and blame to place. But fixing things I guess has to start at home. Since our "home" is about to expand by two fold (square footage wise, not children wise), I suppose that means we are going to be buckling our belts even more so than usual.

And so with all the changes that are going to be happening to us in the next few months, I've been trying really hard to stretch our good old, hard earned (by Shawn) American dollar to the fullest extent. I think of us as fairly frugal family, but there are definitely areas we can cut back on. Am I getting rid of my cell phone? Heck no. But we cut our landline years ago and that saves us quite a bit, as well as cutting telemarketing calls in half - if not more. I am turning off lights more and more, every time I leave a room. I like natural light better anyway. I have been opening the windows during the day so that we won't use the A/C. And at night, since it is still cooler, I have lowered the thermostat a few degrees and snuggled down deeper in our blankets. I've also been trying to extend my grocery shopping trips to every 10 days instead of every 7. Using up all of our pantry before I go fill it with more. This has lead to some interesting meals towards the end of that week and a half time period. We had pancakes for dinner last night. And everyone loved it. For lunch yesterday I had a mish-mash chopped salad of tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, squeeze of lime juice and a sprinkle of Parmesan. Know what? It was DELICIOUS! And the boys' lunches have been bits of this and that - apples, carrots, grapes, chicken nuggets, a slice of cheese -- and they have loved that as well. We haven't seemed to miss not having a full pantry of food. It has actually been sort of "fun" to see what meals I can come up with towards the end. Almost like a game.

I'm scrounging for free newspapers and boxes for the move . Reading Craig's List looking for any "new" furniture items we might need in the new house. Insisting to Shawn that we don't have to paint the new house right away. We can "live with" the current colors and see what changes we want to make. All the little things, I hope, will start to add up.

I know we are not as hard up as so many families during this economic crisis. We have seen this economy affect many of our friends and loved ones. We know how very fortunate we have been. Shawn has a good, secure job (we hope). I'm making a little extra on the side doing photography. Our boys are small, so for now, they are not too expensive to keep (ha ha). I'll potty train Holden this summer so we will at last be done paying for landfill-bombs. I'm just holding tight to some promised changes that are due to come our way as a country in the next year or so. And in the mean time, we are making do, just like everyone else I suppose.

I'm curious what changes you are making to get through this recession, if any? Pass along any tips you have that save time, money, or both!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Luck of the Irish

I'm not Irish. I'm not Catholic. I don't even really know a whole lot about Saint Patrick and what he did. I have read that he wasn't even Irish. He was captured as a slave from Britain and taken to Ireland. And there were some snakes and burned books involved somehow. I don't like either of those. And what Leprechauns and shamrocks have to do with today is really beyond me as well. Maybe I'm ignorant (no need to respond to that, it was rhetorical), but I would surmise if you asked a group of 100 individuals what St. Patrick's day is truly about, from a historical and religious perspective, 98 of them would be as clueless as I am. I do know you are supposed to drink green beer today. I'm plum out of that, so I'm having a diet coke instead.

So I really don't know what today is all about. But I will tell you this, my son is ecstatic about it. Yesterday at school there seems to have been some chaos brought on by a mischievous Leprechaun running loose in the Pre-K classrooms. Apparently while the children were out on the playground, the little green guy came to their room, messed it up and left a trail of Lucky Charms behind. Ms. Char was pretty peeved about the mess, but when she realized the children of her class were not responsible, they all decided to follow the trail of marshmallow cereal (which I'm sure originated in Dublin). The cereal lead them all to a mound of chocolate gold coins, left behind by a silly little Leprechaun! One coin for each child. What luck!

Jackson has now repeated this story to anyone who will listen. He's told me and his father twice. He's really mystified by the whole experience. So this morning while he and I were eating breakfast, he noticed no less than 5 mini-rainbows sparkling on our kitchen walls. No doubt they were caused by light reflecting on the walls at just the right moment. But it certainly gave him pause. And me, too, to be honest. He was certain a Leprechaun was hiding somewhere in the house. Well I dare not ruin his complete and utter awe, so though I am not Irish or Catholic or have any intimate knowledge of today's holiday, I secretly scrounged up some gold coins left over from some party the boys attended, and discreetly sprinkled them beside the back porch door.

Well you can imagine Jackson's surprise at discovering the treats by the door a few moments later. He was certain a Leprechaun had indeed made his way from school to our house to continue his mayhem. Within moments of discovering the chocolate coins by the door, the light must have shifted and the rainbows were gone. I admit a little awe from me went with it. I have never noticed rainbows on our walls before. I suppose because I'm not usually looking for them. Or because I don't have the imagination of a child. But three years in this house and never a rainbow have I seen. Until today. What luck!

But the real question that remains is, can I blame my messy house on that rascally Leprechaun??!

Friday, March 13, 2009

"Back in my day..."

Another list. I'm full of them. I think it's unusual to think about the things that are or will be every-day items for my boys, but were not always around in my lifetime. Or at least not commonly so. I may be 35 years young, but there are countless innovations that have come along in my lifetime. It fascinates me more to think about what is going to come around in their lifetime that their futre children will make fun of.

  • cellular phones / mobile phones
  • heck, cordless phones!
  • answering machines, voicemail, texting, blogging
  • oh yeah, computers in general
  • printers (obviously)
  • the Internet
  • crayola markers
  • fruit snacks
  • box drinks
  • hybrid vehicles
  • vcr's and dvd's
  • cd's
  • tapes (my boys are saying "huh?" right about now)
  • 8 tracks (more huh?)
  • battery operated toys
  • Transformers
  • cheese sticks
  • Entire stores dedicated to home improvement (Home Depot, Lowes)
  • More than 3 channels on the TV
  • Owning more than one TV per household
  • HBO
  • Walkman
  • iPods
  • glue guns
  • Target
  • Sugarfree gum
  • Sugar Free Kool-Aid
  • Peanut M&M's
  • Pizza Delivery
  • Home Video Game Systems ("in my day it was called Atari and it was the Wii of my generation...)
  • $4.00 cups of coffee
  • Carseats for children
I'll probably think of more, and will add to my list. Feel free to add more in the comments section!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What makes mama roll

So yeah, pretty much the point of me blogging is so that my boys have something to look back on to remember their childhood. To know what our day to day life was like. To see what a spaz their mom was (is). To know how lucky we were (are) to be their mama and daddy. And because I can't come to grips with pre-made baby books, and scrapbooking just didn't work out for me. So here it is. Their past.

So boys, today I give you a little summary of all things that I currently love, adore, can't live without. Because that's how your mama rolls.

  1. You two boys
  2. Your Daddy
  3. Taking pictures
  4. Daydreaming about our new house (still no word on our offer...groan)
  5. Quiet time
  6. The sound of your sweet voices when you are giggling together in secrecy
  7. Watching you play together
  8. Fiber One Bars - Peanut Butter
  9. Watching "The Office" and "30 Rock" with Daddy, after you two are in bed
  10. Reading books with you two
  11. Jackson reading books to all of us, and Holden chiming in with the words he knows
  12. Hearing people say good things about you two boys
  13. Toile
  14. The color green, and pink
  15. Aquaphor Lotion
  16. Singing songs while we are all driving in the car
  17. Going to the park
  18. Crisp air that hints at Spring
  19. Open windows, for #18
  20. Photoshop
  21. Babies
  22. My babies
  23. Talking to one of my sisters...never often enough
  24. My awesome parents
  25. Reading blogs, especially those related to photography
  26. Waking up next to the love of my life (except the nights he sleeps on the couch because one of us is snoring)
  27. Making something old and un-useful, new and useful
  28. Baking cookies for you boys
  29. Holding your hands
  30. Big Blue Eyes
  31. Big Brown Eyes
  32. Watching you play, run, jump, move, breath, love, hug, dance
  33. Kisses from any of my 3 favorite guys
  34. Remembering where I came from
  35. Remembering where I've been
  36. Looking forward to where I'm going
  37. Being in the moment
  38. Tomatoes, Basil and fresh mozzarella
  39. Reading
  40. Turning up the music really loud and dancing with you two boys
  41. Having friends
  42. My computer
  43. Crisp, white paint
  44. Slightly weathered, black painted furniture
  45. Singing really loudly
  46. Snuggling with you two boys
  47. When Holden sleeps late (sorry Jackson, you never do)
  48. Hearing Jackson playing quietly in the morning so Daddy and I can sleep in
  49. French Fries are my favorite food EVER
  50. I also love fruit
  51. You two boys. Did I already mention that?

Saturday, March 07, 2009

And it started to snow...

When Shawn and I bought our very first home together, in Seattle (yes, I am talking about Seattle-my-beloved-city again) it snowed the day we found the home we wanted. It was probably the only reason we got that house. Houses in Seattle, especially in the early 2000's (or is it the early millennium?) went fast. VERY fast. They probably still do. And it wasn't unusual for there to be multiple, above price offers. Even bidding wars. But we got lucky. It was a snowy Sunday in Seattle. No one was out looking (the city shuts down when it flurries). And we snapped up that cute little 1930's cottage as fast as we could. The very next day 7 other offers came in. But we had already secured it. It was ours. And we loved that house to pieces. Well, not literally, last I saw it it was still standing, and not in pieces.

Fast forward three years later. When we bought our current house here in Colorado (and yes, I love Colorado, and I don't give it enough props), it was a snowy day. Not unusual in Colorado, of course, but it stood out to me then, and now, that it was snowing that day. We couldn't get a great view of the yard because of the snow. But we snapped up that cute little house as well. It wasn't as crazy of a housing market back in '06, but we wanted the house badly, and we were thrilled when we got it.

Alrighty, so fast forward again, three years. We have outgrown our cute little house. And we put it on the market in the crummiest housing market in decades. Decades. And it sold in 30 days! Hooray! We are still in the midst of inspection and appraiser and such, but the contract is signed, and I'm thinking as positively as I can that it is a done deal.

And so today we went house hunting for our long term, "dream house." We want the house that we are going to have until the boys are grown and out of the nest. That's a long, long time, but I'm sure it will fly faster than I can imagine. We actually started looking at houses last month, just shortly before we listed ours. We wanted to give our agent an idea of what we wanted, but not get to anxious in case our house took a long while to sell (not unusual in this over saturated market -- there are 5 versions of our exact house on the market right now!). And we found a house we loved. And it has been stuck in our head for the past 6 weeks. We have dreamt about it and driven passed it and obsessed over it. And today we went back to see it, along with a few others that we didn't see last time. Despite it's flaws (it's not the cleanest house on the block, and the paint colors are driving Shawn batty), it is still the house we have dreamed of and we want it. And as we looked over the beautiful walk out basement, it began to snow. And we knew, we knew, this was definitely it.

By the time we got to the other 3 houses on our list, the snow had stopped. It was brief. And I feel, it was just for us. It was our sign.

So we'll put an offer in this evening. We'll probably obsess about it for the next 48 hours or so, until we know it is ours. And then we'll obsess over inspection and all that jazz. But I have to feel strongly in my heart that this is going to work out. Because that house is ours. It just has to be. And we can't discount that falling snow. Our sure sign that it was meant to be. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Holden


Just 'cause I think he's so darn cute! And he's doing something weird with his tongue.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Help! I need somebody, help!

Every parent has been in the situation when their child / children have completely and utterly lost it. Tantrum of epic proportions. Nothing can be done to soothe. You just have to roll with the punches. Oh, yours hasn't done this? Well let me go get your crown! I kid. Because I know it's not possible. Every kid has done this. Maybe it was as an infant - waiting impatiently for a meal or a diaper change. Or as a toddler, upset because the fun day at the park has been rudely interrupted by nap time. Or a sensitive four year old who thinks the chopping knives at the Hibachi restaurant are far too loud as he cowers in the corner crying. It happens. And as parents we cope the best we can. Sometimes anger gets the better of us. We cry and throw a mini-tantrum. Or sanity rules and we remember to offer choices, soft words of encouragement, and the healing sounds of white noise. I don't know. We just muddle through it, because that is all we can do.

But you know what really irks me? When the tantrum is going big and strong and all in the world of the child is not right?? When someone, more specifically a stranger or near-stranger, tries to "help." I know they mean well. I get it. They are trying to help sooth the child because no one likes to hear a child crying. But honestly, if I, as the kid's Mom, can't bring him back down, I promise you that you are not going to be able to do so. Don't even try. Don't offer gum or candy (my 2 year old doesn't chew gum - ok?!). Don't try and tickle him to bring on a laugh - I promise you he will just cry harder. Don't try to tickle him a 2nd or 3rd time either, it's not working. Don't play peekaboo - again, crying harder. DON'T offer to hold my child. Seriously, he's not going to want to be held by a practical stranger. Don't try and show him your fancy knives or your trick ketchup bottle -- this is directed squarely at the Hibachi chef. And please don't offer to call someone to help me out. Yes, this really happened. A stranger on a Seattle street corner asked me if I needed him to call someone for help, when Jackson, as an infant, was tired and hungry and having a fit, and I was trying to make my way to a private spot to nurse him. Now who did that stranger think he was going to call?? A wet nurse? Salma Hayek? Odd. Very odd. Or did I not look like the child's mother? Was the leaking breastmilk not a big, fat clue on that one?

I suppose I'm sounding a bit sensitive. That's how I am. That's probably why my boys are a tad on the sensitive side. But I'm also sure I'm not alone. Every parent has had the screaming, tantrum throwing child. And every parent has also received plenty of unsolicited advice and offers of help. So maybe I can use this as a way to get the word out that "help" for a tantrum-having, over the edge youth is to turn your head and pretend it isn't happening. Or at the very least, offer a sympathetic "I've totally been there, it does get better" smile and then turn away.