Wednesday, December 31, 2008

December Moments

This month flew by so fast, I couldn't keep up. Here are a few glimpses of what we did...

We had a huge snow storm the weekend before Christmas with over a foot of snow:

Yes, I did send my kids out in the storm to shovel the driveway with their dad. Mostly they just ate snow, but at least they got some fresh air, right?

We made a homemade ginger bread house with stained-glass windows. In case anyone wonders, the excessive icing is indeed an indicator that I had a ridiculous amount of trouble getting the house to stick together. This little house was so much work and there were several times where I was ready to throw the thing in the trash and get the kit from a craft store. It was mostly fun, though. We may even do it again if I get enough distance between myself and the royal icing.

We made several different kinds of cookies:

Yes, that is my son's thumb in the cookies you may have eaten. I'm pretty sure his hands were washed...(I can only do so much domestication at a time.)
This is a favorite of mine - he does this little smirk sometimes and it is so adorable:

Of course there was also Christmas but in all the above domestication, I have somehow still neglected to get a good picture of my children in front of the Christmas tree. Here are a couple of shots from Christmas Eve to hold you over until I get it done. Or my tree dies - whichever comes first.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

No Bears?

This whole bug situation has seriously put me off schedule. I had the best intentions of sending out Christmas cards (on time ad everything...) but most of my time the past five weeks has been spent on my hands and knees looking for bugs - and unfortunately finding them. We pretty much consider the exterminator part of the family by now; he's been over so often. I'm still praying that we'll be bug-free some day. Soon, I hope! I really need to spend my time doing something other than vacuuming and bug-hunting. Of course, that's what I said last week and then as I was doing my parameter bug check, I suddenly found water on the floor of the basement. I guess, I should be more careful in the wording of my wishes. Oh and I also got to get two of my wisdom teeth extracted today; due to an unexpected infection. But hey - at least there are no bears eating my food, right Sarah?

I am truly sorry to those of you who didn't get a card this year. I will post a Christmas picture asap and consider sending out Valentine's cards instead. Whoever thought of adding the card-writing stress at the busiest time of the year should be punished. Maybe with a wisdom tooth extraction. Or a liquid diet for a few days. Or maybe I just need to figure out how to get my life organized. Do they have drugs for that?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Conversations from the Edge of Sanity

A few of the latest:

S: "Abira taught me a bad word that her mom sometimes says."
I pause and try desperately to think of a way to teach S that "we" don't use certain words - even if they sometimes slip out when mami's driving. Also praying that this will not be the day I hear my son use an actual swear word...):
Me: "Oh, yeah. Which one?" (Buying time...)
S: "Stupid."
Phew. Innocence maintained for a few more days at least.

S: "I think - I don't know this, but I think, that people used to put mummies in their house a long time ago."
Me: "Really? That sounds gross."
S: "Why - they were just dead people wrapped in bandages."
Me: "Well, I guess I wouldn't want to keep dead people in my house..." (I.e. How in the world will I explain this one?!)
S: "Well, they would be in those boxes that look like statues. So why would that be disgusting? "
Me: "Er...I'm not sure...It just seems like it might." (Do they have books that teach you how to deal with these questions?)
S: "Well, I don't know this. I just think it."

How am I supposed to respond to these comments when the part of my brain that deals with abstract issues works at half speed most days?

The following exchanges occurred within a few days of each other:

Me: "S, do you need to go potty before we leave?"
S: "No. And we don't call it potty at school. We call it the bathroom. Potty is a toddler word."

Followed by this one a few days later:

Me: "S, could you do me a huge favor and move that blue bin that's in front of my car?"
S: "What blue bin?"
Me: "You, know the blue bin that's right there...The big one."
S: "Oh. The recycling bin."

It's probably a sad state of affairs when I have to bring the level of my speech up to meet my five year old's...

Finally here's one with L from dinner a couple of weeks ago:

L: "Mami, I want Chocolate milk."
Me: "Eat your dinner first."
L: "I ate one bite pizza; now have chocolate milk."
Me: "No. You need to eat the whole thing; then you can have chocolate milk." (We do these negotiations very often...)
L: "Eat whole thing. Gah. Bad for me."

That's my little food critic. He has also announced that he wants to be a chef when he grows up - I'm still trying to figure out whether he likes to help me cook because he loves cooking or because he figures he can improve on whatever I make. Gah indeed.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Don't Blink

I shot this candid of S on Thanksgiving and every time I see it, the lyrics to Kenny Chesney's song "Don't Blink" play in my head. Part of the chorus goes:

Don't Blink - Just like that you're six years old and you take a nap
Wake up and you're twenty five...

This song always makes me a little teary eyed and seeing my baby look like such a big boy hammered it in. Time is going soooo fast. And it's not just seeing the kids grow. I honestly don't feel like it was that long ago that I was a kid, building fairy houses in the soccer field near our apartment complex. It seems like the years in between were just cliff notes of actual time.
My sister always laughs at my notorious bad memory because I often go blank at the "do you remember when...?" question. I can't remember a lot of events/ experiences we've had. It's not even that I can't recall details about them; most often I have no clue they even happened. I even do it about my age; I have to think aout it when people ask me how old I am and I always do a double take, when I realize it actually is 31.
I'm beginning to wonder if it's not bad memory at all. Maybe I did just lay down for a nap and suddenly woke up in my twenties...
Don't blink. No kidding!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bookworm 2.0

These days, I often find S with his nose in a book. I wish I could say his reading is caused by my amazing teaching/ mothering skills, but it's really all him; This summer something just clicked and he went from sounding out letters to sounding out words. Now he reads anything he can get his hands on; street signs, headlines and loads of books. The other day, we found S walking in the hallway while reading because he couldn't put his book down. It made me laugh so hard because it was like looking at myself. If I am in the middle of a great book, I am hard pressed to put it away as well. I have been known to brush my teeth while reading, eating, cleaning (yup!) and once or twice I have even tried to read while showering. (They were very good and I had to know, OK!) I am just so thrilled that S seems to have found the same love for books as I have. I treasure books and I am so excited that S seems to feel the same way. I love how books open so many worlds to you and how a genuinely good book is an adventure for the reader. Now I just need to figure out a way to keep him from reading the speed limit signs...
Seriously, though; If I have managed to pass on a love for books, I feel I have accomplished something great as a mother.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Happy Halloween

Yes, that's right. This is my halloween post, which is so overdue that no one wants to hear about Halloween anymore, but that's just too bad, because I need to post it for posterity. All complaints can be filed in the comment section - and I won't care anyway because I have spent the last 3 weeks cleaning out every single nook and cranny of my house, vacuuming, laundering every stitch of fabric at home, throwing away some of my favorite things and still finding carpet beetle larvae in places they weren't even supposed to be. I am so ridiculously tired and absolutely done with bugs. Every time I thought they were gone I'd find another one. Today we moved back into my in-laws home (we were here the first week as well) because the exterminator determined the first spraying wasn't doing to job and we needed to get the house fumigated. When the house is safe for the kids again, I get to back and clean again. I am at the point of exhausted numbness and thus take complete license to blog about whatever I want, whenever I want. Just wanted to get that out there...

Back to Halloween -
We went to the Halloween party at our church the Friday before Halloween and E took the kids to the party at the YMCA Saturday night. I was pretty much done with Halloween a week before the actual day but we ended up having a great day after all. The boys both had Halloween parties at their schools and we went trick or treating at night. Fun, fun.
Here are a few pictures from our week-long celebration:

From our church party: (S went as a power ranger and L was a lion)

Halloween parade at S's school: (S picked out a different costume from our costume bin)

S had a dentist appointment on Hallowen at grandpa's office were the staff traditionally gets dressed up:

Trick or treating Friday night:

And finally, we made Halloween cupcakes:

(The pictures are all low-quality and will be upgraded when I get home again!)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day Blues

I can't vote.
I am not on parole, in case you were wondering, just not an American citizen. That's an entirely different post, though, so back to the current one.
In previous years, I haven't really cared that much about politics, but as I have gotten older and had children and grown a social conscience, I suddenly feel more invested in who rules the country I live in. Thus, being terribly opinionated and not being able to vote has been rather trying. What is even more trying is the people who feel it their mission in life to tell me just how wrong my opinion is. I understand that if you vote for one party you are likely to disagree with what the other party stands for. However, it irks me beyond measure when people make it sound like voting for one party is the "righteous" thing to do and if you vote for the other party, you are pretty much headed for you-know-where in a very small hand basket.
Is it too much to ask for that we all extend a bit of kindness and maybe pass on the judgement bit? Having an opinion is great (I have many opinions - about many things), sharing your opinion is fine - we should certainly be courageous enough to speak up for what we believe in. But telling me that your opinion is the only one that is right and that having a differing opinion makes me less righteous, drives me batty. There are things in both political parties that don't mesh with my religion. Maybe, just maybe, I too found something religious to base my opinion on, even if it's not the same hot button issue that drives you. And then, having made that decision, I am willing to overlook some of the other things, that aren't as important to me right now. I still feel perfectly in sync with my God and my religion. I guess, I don't believe that to be right and religious we all must have the same hot button issues. But then again, I can't vote so what do I know?!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Dressers, Bugs and the Desperate Need for Lockdown in a Sterile Environment

Just in case some of you may have thought I didn't take my job as a public service announcer seriously, I have carefully studied a new topic, just for your benefit. As with most other things of this nature, this topic falls under the category of "things I didn't want to know about, EVER" but there you are--once again I am at your service...

This week's lesson is on carpet beetles. (WARNING: do NOT click on that link, until you are absolutely ready to meet our little friends. And don't do it while eating or sitting on your carpet.)
The little guys decided to move in and live of the carpet in our house. And thus we have spent the last four days ripping out carpets...and nails. And the staples that held the carpets in place. Which, honestly - if I ever meet the guy who over-zealously went amok with his staple gun...let's just say, it wouldn't be pretty. We were planning on removing the carets eventually; just not quite yet. Or in less than a week. The bugs turned out to be a really good motivator.
The exterminator is coming tomorrow, then we will launder all the clothes/ sheets, etc in our house and hopefully that will be the end of it. Though I wonder how long it will take me to stop shuddering every time I say/write/think of the word "bug"? Or until I stop checking every item of clothing I put on for bugs? Or the bed? GAAAAAH!!

Meanwhile, as I was all-consumed with these critters and their hopeful upcoming demise; fate(?) decided to remind me that it could be worse. I was pulling staples out of the floor right outside of L's room while he was playing with his trains when this loud crash sends me bolting in there to find that my child pulled his dresser down....
Miraculously (and I am not throwing that word out there casually) the dresser didn't crash on top of him. Only his right foot was caught slightly under the edge of the dresser and it didn't get hurt either.
Logically this doesn't make any sense. The height of the dresser combined with where L would have had to stand in order to pull it forwards down should have resulted in him being under the dresser. I know there is no way that he could be safe but for the intervention of God. And I am just so incredibly grateful that he is okay. Ironically, I have most of our other top heavy furniture bolted to the wall, I just kept procrastinating the boys' dresser because we are hoping to get them bunk bed and so would have to move it again. And it wasn't like they were climbing on it...
After I yanked the dresser up again and grabbed L, I sat there holding him and sobbing. I was in that space between scolding and just being grateful that he was okay and I said a couple of times - "you could have died!" (Mixed in with "if you ever do that again...") Then, when we sat down for lunch the little stinker adorably and calmly states: "I could have died." Yeah, thanks. Later, when I was telling my mom about the incident, I was crying - I was just so shaken up by the whole thing and still so disgusted about the bugs as well that thinking about it completely put me over the edge again. And L climbed up onto my lap, wiped my eyes with his little fist and said "it's okay, Mami. It's okay."

Do they still send people off to sanatoriums for their nerves?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Will CPS Get Involved if They Win the X-Games?

I have always been of the persuasion that kids should be allowed to play on the playground without me hovering over them every step of the way. First of all, they should be allowed to explore and learn. Second, I'm not very good at hovering - I get bored very easily. Third, I don't want my boys to be little scaredy-cats that girls will make fun of.
I am beginning to worry, however, that my method may have back-fired into creating future X-games participants.
A few weeks ago, L put a crack into the foundation of my laid-back playground beliefs when I turned around to find him on top of the tunnel slide; at the very top, approximately 10 feet above the ground. I'm sure you'll be happy to know, I got him down without any trouble and only one loud semi-swear from me as I bolted up the equipment towards him.
Yesterday we were at the park again and as I look over at my 2.5 year old child, he is going down one of those ladder-looking things that curve at the top. Head-first.
I had enough time to think "that's not gonna go well" and start running, but I was just too slow and he hit the ground face-first. After cleaning him up and comforting and all that I was left with an unsettling concern: I am not sure which is worse - the fact that the poor baby scraped up his face and got dirt/ wood chips in his mouth or the fact that he only cried for 45 seconds and then ran off again. I mean, I'm obviously happy he wasn't seriously hurt, but this kid has no fear and I don't know if I have the psyche to be an X-games mother. I may have to begin hovering after all...

Meanwhile, I am enjoying the one-on-one time I get to spend with L while S is at school. Today we were walking to the car and he began talking about how he could see the moon, which looked like a "triangle." (Half-moon) I wasn't sure what he was getting at, but he was saying something about "go up there" so I figured I'd try for an educational moment:

Me: "Well, when you are a bigger, you can become an astronaut and go to the moon in a rocket ship."
L: "When my am bigger, my can fly up there?"
Me: "Yes. Would you like to be an astronaut and fly in a rocket ship to the moon?"
L: "Yes. Go up there and find the missing pieces."

As we kept walking, I tried to explain to him that the moon will get smaller for a few more days and the it will be big again, but when the moon was hidden by some trees, all I got was a sigh and a "we'll never find the pieces" in the most despondent, adorable voice.

Is there any way you can not love this child? I mean, he wants to find the missing pieces and make the moon whole. How is that for a campaign promise?! (And I will do it in two weeks tops!)
I'd vote for that!

Friday, October 17, 2008

It's All Fun and Games...

Until you have to call the fire department!

Although that was pretty fun too, once the nice firemen (and one -woman) tested the CO2 levels in our house and told us we wouldn't be dying from a CO2 overdose today. Earlier in the day, our CO2 monitor began emitting that annoying loud beep that usually indicates it needs a battery change. I was heading out the door to get S from school and assumed it was the smoke detector, so it could wait till we got back. (Hey, there's a second smoke detector if the first one doesn't work. And I was going to change as soon as we got home! -ish...)
When we finally did get back after our busy afternoon out, the beeps were more frequent so I tracked them to the CO2 monitor, figuring a battery change would solve all our problems. Not so much. After a near-deaf experience, with the blasted thing going off right into my ear, it seemed that the batteries may not have been the problem after all and I was left with the choice of hoping it would resolve itself and calling 911, just in case we actually did have a CO2 problem. I would be lying if I didn't say I considered (for a very brief second) just to hope for the best and get to dinner, but I am not quite as lax about the welfare of my kids as I seem, so I called 911.
I have to say the fire men (fire people?!) were super nice and seemed to have understanding for the fact that I hadn't removed the stinking machine and read the instructions on the back as it was beeping at somewhere around 125dB. It turns out, the slow beeps were indicating a need for battery change and apparently the alarm is supposed to go off once you change them. You learn something new every day? Well at least you just learned this without four full grown fire men having to step over piles of unfolded laundry and toys to test the CO2 levels of your house. Feel free to thank me by sending cookies or something.

Just FYI, the fire people (seriously - what is the mixed gender word for fire men?!?) did say they preferred that people called if they were ever in doubt as CO2 is lethal and all. And now I feel like a public service announcement. Hope that was helpful!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Future Politician

I foolishly turned my back on an open container of humus while going to look at something S had made. I knew L wanted to "try some" (L-speak for "I want to eat it - a lot of it." Usually refers to other people's meals) but figured I could hold him off with an order to wait for me to get back. Riiiiight...You'd think that by now I had learned how unlikely that was. I was gone maybe 45 seconds and when I came back into the kitchen, the humus was on the floor.

Me: "L, did I tell you to wait for me?"
L: "Yeeees."
Me (getting more annoyed at the blatant lack of remorse): "L! Why are you choosing to be a bad listener? I told you.."
L (interrupts my rant): "I love you, mami."

And I'm disarmed. It was all I could do not to laugh out loud, forget trying to discipline him. I used to be so strong-willed. Sigh.

A few days ago, L and I were in the car and he was singing as usual. I obviously think he's the most adorable two-year old ever, only rivaled by his brother, so I rhetorically stated: "L, how cute are you?!" Completely confident, he replied: "Two and a half cute."
I'm not sure what his scale is, but I'm fairly certain two-and-a-half is pretty good in his world. And I'd have to agree. After all, he loves me.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Happy Reminders

There are several times a year, when I wonder where my sanity went when I agreed to live where we are now. For instance, when it's 96°F and what feels like 250% humidity or when it's negative 20°F with a windchill of 30.
Fortunately, there are times that remind me why we are here. One of these is Autumn - the leaves are breathtaking, the air is crisp, there is apple picking and -cider and homemade applesauce, pumpkins and that glorious darkness of dusk that carries the promise of a season of cozy blankets, hot chocolate and candlelight.
I like all the seasons, but I adore this time of year in the North East.

This past week, I was (again) reminded of another reason why we came to this particular part of the world - family!
We could have gone many places in the US, but chose this one for one reason only--although the apples do come in a close second. (Kidding!! Of course.) - the proximity of E's parents.

We figured it would be worth the humidity, windchill factors and ridiculous home prices because we would have family on the area - and the kids would have at least one set of grandparents close by to enjoy. And what a blessing it has been. Of course there have been times when we have seen sides of one another that wouldn't have been noticed with a distance between us - I'm certain my in-laws could have lived a happy life without knowing that I get extremely unpleasant when I don't get enough sleep, for example. I do feel that sacrificing a little of my pretend perfection is worth it for the closeness of family, the blessings of family celebrations, grandparent dates for the kids and their help with our house. This past week alone, my mother-in-law watched L while I went to work, L also had his Friday date with grandma (including, but not limited to: library class, lunch and visit to farm), the boys and E had dinner there on Sunday while I nursed my sinuses back to health, and on Monday S got to go on a date with Grandma - after L and I had lunch with them. Also, my father-in-law installed my new thermostat. And gave me a drill. (Still feeding my testosterone high! I totally love the drill. And might not shave my legs tonight. Ha!)

There are too many experiences to recount here, but we feel so blessed and so much richer for having chosen to live right here. Richer in a spiritual/ emotional sense of course - we are fairly certain that most other states would have been kinder to our actual finances...But rich, nevertheless. Now off to celebrate our choice with some apple cider - and my new drill!

Bonding with my inner Trucker

Yesterday I noticed a strange grinding noise every time I used the brakes on my car and ended up bringing it in for service. The dealership was fabulous in that they could have the car done quickly and even let me use a complimentary rental from Enterprise in the meantime - apparently that is part of our service plan. (The loaner, not the speed.) Enterprise made it very clear, however, that the plan only covered a small car, but since I wasn't planning on going anywhere, with many kids in the 24 hours I'd have the car for, that wouldn't be a problem.

As it turned out, the small car part wouldn't be a problem at all. When I got to the dealership, the only car left in Enterprise's lot was this little fellow:

Hello Dodge Ram...I have spent the past 24 hours bonding with my testosterone levels, which I truthfully think went up driving around in the car. I have a sudden understanding for why (some) men find these cars attractive. It was way too much fun to be in such a powerful car, with other drivers respectfully giving me the right of way. And gawking when they realized that the monster was being driven by a girl. Although some of that may have been them just wondering how in the world I was going to get into the driver's seat without a ladder. Yeah, I had fun, so much so, that it was sad to see him go tonight. The boys were bummed too - they got a kick out of the "giant red car." I wonder if there are any reviews that tout the Dodge Ram as the new family vehicle of the year?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Here's to Amazing Friends!

I haven't been able to shake the cold I complained about two weeks ago - it just won't go away and I have been working on a close to empty tank pretty much since then. However, in spite of that I feel so amazingly blessed today. One of my friends took L to the gym with her and then fed him lunch at her house so I could do my errands in peace and quiet - read: without red-faced sweating in an attempt to get my bouncy ball son to sit in the cart through Target and then giving up on all other errands, reasoning that my sanity is worth more than having food in the fridge. It is such a luxury to be able to walk through a store and make decisions about the things I am getting, instead of haphazardly tossing them into the cart while trying to entertain (again read: not strangle) the monkeys.
Then, while I was out, another friend called me and told me that she is bringing me dinner tonight. I don't know if she even know what a heaven-sent gift that is. One of the speakers at our church conference talked about how there are angels among us who are messengers from God. People who will be there when we need it. Thanks for being inspired and for being there (here?) for me! And thanks for being an amazing example of kindness and service in the face of our own challenges. Blessings on your head!!

By the way, the last line is from one of my favorite stories/ musicals/ movies/ ever - there are bonus points for knowing which move it is.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fairy Houses and General Conference

I don't think those two phrases have ever been put together before, so here's to breaking new ground! I'm also not sure what they have in common, except both have made me feel very happy lately.

Last one first: Twice a year, our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) has a church-wide conference, with talks given by many of the leaders of the church in 5 two-hour sessions. The conference is held in a conference center in Salt Lake City and broadcast to the world via satellite, radio and in recent years, the internet.
- As a side note, when I first joined the LDS church, I had to trek to the chapel and watch the conference sessions via satellite. I was wildly envious of the members who lived in Utah, Idaho and surrounding areas who could watch conference from their couch, in pajamas should they choose. Today, we watched conference at home on our couch. I love the internet - well, that aspect of it at least. Probably because I am a lazy bum who loves to be as comfortable as possible and while I have always loved conference, it certainly is easier to enjoy when the kids are entertained by their toys in the house. Somehow, I've never quite taken to the pew-wrestling exercise that long church meetings seem to induce.
ANYWAY - every time I listen to conference talks, there seems to be something in there just for me, right now. The theme of today's sessions seemed to be that while the world is frightening and dark at the moment, the gospel of Jesus Christ makes it possible to still find joy and peace. I really needed to have that reiterated, because the world scares me witless and raising kids in it is a daunting task. It was nice to be reminded that God is very much aware of all of us - each of us. And that His love and teachings will help us make it through our journey here on Earth - even when it gets difficult and dark.

The fairy houses were a different kind of happy. And completely unexpected. Having two boys, I spend a fair amount of my time talking about Pokemon or Bionicles, arm wrestling to get them to eat their vegetables (no, really), or dealing with questions about penises. (Which I will spare you for - for now.)
I love my boys and I wouldn't trade them for anything but that doesn't mean, that my very girly heart doesn't occasionally long for a quiet game of dressing Barbies. Well, S's school invited the author Tracy Kane to visit the school, teach the kids about her fairy houses and then help the kids build their own fairy houses in the woods by the school. I didn't think S would be all that interested, but he loved it and wanted to build another one when he got home. So I got to build fairy houses with my boys.
Don't worry, we collected manly things like sticks and pine cones and limited the pretty flowers on our fairy house. But we had so much fun!!

I love L's expression on this last photo. I wonder if it's the fairy houses that bother him, the Jim Halpert hair or the fact that I took 50 pictures of the boys and the fairy house. Such a trooper...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Exercise Could Get You Arrested

My sister always claims that exercise is dangerous and I must finally concede that she is right. exercise could get you hurt. Or in trouble. Allow me to begin at the beginning...
Today I was supposed to watch this little girl whose brother's immune system is weak at the moment. However, somehow I managed to get up this morning with a stuffy nose/ sneezing and a scratchy throat, so her mother decided against exposing her to our germs - and possibly our dirty house, which I am so behind on cleaning, it's no longer excusable. A clue to that might be that I am on the computer even now, instead of cleaning my toilets...
Anyway - as my gym has fabulous (and free) babysitting, I packed up L, figuring he'd be happier playing with other kids instead of listening to me sneeze. Once there I opted for a class instead of the treadmill, knowing full well that unless someone was yelling at me to move, I'd be walking at a snail's pace today. In the class the instructor had us do punches and would walk around with a portable punching bag for us to hit. So here I am, punching away as she comes up around my left side and stands right in front of my face. As I am punching. My useless reflexes allowed me to cover my mouth in shock. After I punched her in the face.
She took it well, I must say and didn't get me arrested, although she did put away the punching bags after that. And I am going to reevaluate exercise as a valid activity for me. Maybe knitting would be better. Although that has needles. Maybe I'll go back to reading; at least being a book worm didn't get me in trouble when I was growing up.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Apples Galore and Happy New Year.

Last year a friend of mine introduced me to this gorgeous orchard with delicious apples and equally delicious apple cider. (Okay, and these cider donuts that probably pack 1800 calories each, but they are sooooo good. Which justifies eating two+, right?) Since S had no school today because of Rosh Hashanah, I packed the kiddos in the car and we went apple (and donut...) picking. I was shocked when we made it through the adventure without too much fighting (the kids) or whining (mine; trying to take pictures of the kids.)
The boys actually had a blast and I just feel so blessed to have these experiences with them - not just because they counteract the ones like L trying to wipe himself after removing his own diaper; which....gaaaaaah! - or S throwing a huge tantrum because I wouldn't let him pick the paint color for the dining room (both happened today as well.) I also feel blessed because it reminds me how great these little guys truly are. Seeing the beautiful orchard and seeing the boys enjoy it reminded me that God truly is around and mindful of His children. And that in spite of all the awful things that happen everywhere, there are moments of peace to be found. I love those moments.

Here's to a new year with many more of these moments! Happy 5769!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Chair Quiz

A few of you had asked how my new chair works so I figured I'd let you vote on it. Look at the pictures and give me your verdict. The winner gets absolutely nothing - except of course bragging rights about knowing strange, modern Scandinavian furniture.






Is it:
1) A+B
2) B+C
3) A+D
4) D+E
5) All of the above
6) None of the above. This isn't a chair and you didn't fool me!

Good luck to all!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Letter to the World

Dear World,

First of all, I am fully aware that this letter format is not an original idea, but there are a few things I need to get off my chest, so pardon the borderline plagiarism. Actually, forget the pardon. I am currently miserable with some virus that "just has to run its course" and am therefore not in any mood for excuses. I am, however, in the mood for venting, so consider this your vent-ahead warning.

Let me begin by saying, I miss my mom. Yes, I understand, I am way beyond the age of needing my mother when I am sick, but regardless, I miss her. I wish she were here to send me to bed and bring me cool drinks and painkillers. Europe is just too far away and the airfare is too expensive. Sigh. A suggestion for our politicians might be to look at bringing Europe closer. Maybe a bridge or something?

Next, feeling miserable makes me grumpy. So a few things to avoid for everyone's benefit:
- to all the drivers out there who find it necessary to tailgate me when I am stuck behind a slow driver myself, BACK OFF!! Or go around, if you feel like risking your life, whatever, really, as long as you are off the tail of my car. That bothers me even when I am not sick, but being extra grumpy just makes me want to slow down more.
- don't tell me I look like crap. While it certainly validates how I feel, it doesn't make me feel better. At all.

Also, telling me how other people are much worse off isn't really useful. What am I supposed to do with this information?
If I were faking being sick, I might break down and confess, but since I am actually sick, it won't make me miraculously better. What kind of person would I be, anyway, if other people's suffering made me feel better, not worse? I get that there are tragedies and tsunamis and brain tumors that obviously are way beyond a common head cold. (!) I still have a headache, body aches, chills and fatigue, though. I also still have to take care of my two children feeling crummy. So I get that there are others who feel worse - that just doesn't make me feel better. And, now I feel guilty that I have the audacity to feel bad when others are suffering more. Not terribly helpful.

A few things that were helpful these past few days:

- telling me my hair looked fabulous. I don't really care if it's true at this point; anything beats "wow, you look awful."
- letting me take a nap. Thanks to those who made that possible. May your cereal never be soggy!
- not expecting me to make dinner. Or lunchboxes. Or to clean. My husband is even bringing me pizza tonight - how is that for fabulous. (I don't even care, that I can't taste much - the thought really counts here!)

And finally, telling me that it sucks to be sick and you have had it too so you understand. Even if you actually think I am a whiny wuss. It still soothes my soul.

Sincerely, Grumpy Smurf.

In other news, my youngest son looks like Jim from The Office. And people say he looks like me. Which then must mean I look like Jim from The Office. Right?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Google Reader

I am so excited - after spending more than an hour online I finally figured out how to get Google reader linked to my blog. Now I can stalk so much more efficiently.

Oh - and now those of you who never update can see exactly how long it's been. In case you were wondering. Heh.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Secondhand Bliss

I usually don't bother going to Goodwill or Salvation Army, because i have notoriously bad luck at these places. I don't think I have ever found anything worthwhile there; unlike most of my friends who always come home with these amazing finds. Until this week!!
I went to Goodwill looking for an entryway bench; figuring I'd at least give it a try so I could buy the more expensive one with a good (better) conscience. They didn't have any benches like the one I wanted, but tucked away in a corner, I found this:

(in blue).

I am so stoked! (Stokked. Heh! ;) For those of you who haven't yet encountered this fabulous contraption, it is an ergonomically correct office chair - supposed to be super comfortable and good for your back. I've never actually used one because they are super expensive - retailing for around 300-400 £s. I got it for $6. Six! I am so doing a happy shopper-dance. Now, I might actually blog on a regular basis. Or surf the net longer. To shop more of course.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Feeling Misunderstood

Today we were at the paint store and the kids were surprisingly cheerful considering the fruitless hour we'd just spent driving to and from Home Depot. (I am very unimpressed with that place, by the way!) I was waiting in line and suddenly heard this little voice singing "nobody understands me, nobody understands me..." - very, very clearly.

It's a song from the kids' favorite CD at the moment - "Philadelphia Chickens" (a hilarious collection of songs by Sandra Boynton, which we listen to ad nauseam in the car. I could probably sing it if someone woke me up at 3 a.m. But hey - anything to avoid screaming while I am driving. The kids' screaming that is. I still haven't found something to keep me from doing it.) I couldn't help but laugh out loud - I guess the kid is well prepared for when he sues me for his therapy fees down the road...

It's actually really funny; L sings a ton - he'll be playing/ walking/ going to sleep/ whatever and will suddenly burst out with a song. Maybe I could make money off that - to offset the aforementioned therapy fees, of course.

On a different note, I made a dinner tonight that everyone in my family (and even my husband was home for dinner! Yahoo!) liked. I nearly fell of my chair when S said his highlight of the day was the meal. Pre-seasoned kebabs from the local grocery store, of course, but I'll take what I can get. If only I could get that kind of response for meals that I actually put effort into. It certainly seems that the enthusiasm for dinner declines exponentially the more time/ effort I spend making it. If you have any good (read: easy) recipes that kids tend to like (other than mac n cheese...) please, please share! Although with all the abuse my cooking takes around here, maybe I could get therapy fees from the kids...Food for thought...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Self Esteem Boosters

It's beginning to dawn on me that having children may be the best way to rip your self-esteem to shreds. Not only did I gain a huge amount of weight when I was pregnant with both of them, and thus had to endure comments like: "Maybe next time you should try to gain a little less weight..." (Because I was really trying to gain the 40 and 60 lbs respectively...); it also seems like the short people around here have a knack for biting commentary. S once told me that my singing "hurt every part of [his] body" and here is the most recent self-esteem builder from L:

Me: (Carrying L as a backpack and teasingly chanting, while gently pinching his butt) "Mami has a little butt, Mami has a little butt."
L:"My have little butt. Mami have big butt."
Me: "Hey, L, that's rude."
L: "Not rude!"
Me: "Yes; you usually don't tell people if they have a big butt."
L: (Pausing for a second) "Little rude."

He does occasionally tell me that I look pretty (when I dress up) so at least he's fair all around.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The End of the World as We Know It

S started kindergarten today and I am terrified. (Because, obviously, it's all about me...) However, I'm scared that other kids will be mean to him, that the teacher won't appreciate his quiet genius, that peer pressure will be too much, that he will forget how important he is to us and to God, that he won't love school and learning, or make good impressions or be too much of a little motor mouth or...stops to take deep breath.
I really want his school experience to be amazing and I understand that he will get bruised and bumped; but honestly, it was like LAST MONTH that this boy was a tiny baby that I carried around in the babybjorn and wondered if he'd ever sleep through the night. Is this what life will be like? Today he starts Kindergarten, tomorrow he's off to college? Needless to say, I am a wreck this first day of school.
S, on the other hand, waltzed off to be first in line to get in and start his new adventure. Didn't even pause. I feel proud of him; that he is self-assured enough to be ready for this big step. My little boy!
Part of this is also that I guess I am all done lying to myself about being young, with little kids. I am now the mother of a kindergartener. Maybe I should take the minivan for a drive to hammer in the message.
By the way, I didn't cry today. Although I may have teared up a bit as I typed this up - mostly about my baby growing up so fast and a little bit over the end of an era. It truly is the end of the world as we know it. But I guess I do feel fine. So it'll be okay. Right?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes

While running the risk of sounding blasphemous, I'm fairly certain that God has a wicked sense of humor. And I mean that in the best possible sense - not wicked as in evil, but wicked as in heart-stopping, side-splitting, saving-my-sanity-by-making-me laugh sense of humor. Allow me to expound:
As the summer is drawing to a close and we have spent a lot of time just the boys and I with no set plans, the natives are starting to get restless. By starting, I mean, hitting, teasing, relentlessly whining MOST OF THE DAY! And yet in the midst of the crazies, we have these moments, where it all just makes sense. A few of the latest...

* A Sunday morning both boys were belting out "Old McDonald" at the top of their lungs. Trying to get a slightly more reverent and Sabbath oriented tone in the house before church, I asked them to "please take it down a notch because it is Sunday." L thought about this for a moment and the busted out with "Heavenly Father had a cow, ei ei oooooo..."
* Yesterday S was complaining that his head itched, so I asked him to come over so I could make sure he didn't have lice. (Urgh!) As I am checking his scalp, I explain that lice are bugs which can live in hair and bite your head, "but," I say, "I don't see any - or any eggs." To which my ever thoughtful son replies: "Maybe they're just not married yet." As I try to keep a straight face and reply, all I can think is if only it were that easy, baby!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wedding Roadtrip

This past Saturday, E's brother got married and thus we packed the kiddos in the car and drove to DC for the wedding. The car ride was surprisingly painless and we had a lovely time with E's sister and her daughter and husband who live in the DC area. E and I even got the chance to go sightseeing in the capital for a few hours, sans monkeys. Fun times!!
Pictures from DC will follow; here's one from outside the DC temple that I promised my mom:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Mindless End-of-Day Activity

The monkeys at my house have been at each other's throats most of the day and I have finally tucked them in - sort of. L has learned how to get out of his bed and is taking full advantage of this newfound skill. The little human bouncy-ball is enjoying the freedom while I need something to take my mind off the long day (and keep me from growling too loudly at him), so I decided to do this little fill-out form that my friend Sarah had on her blog:

I am: exhausted
I think: Too much.
I know: That my Redeemer lives. (Feel free to sing that, if you know the tune!)
I want: new clothes for fall.
I have: a new house that I love!
I wish: I were better at getting things done.
I fear: that someone will hurt my kids. Or my family.
I feel: Acutely. I actually tend to soak up others emotions as well - hence I canned the idea of becoming a therapist. Would never have been able to leave work at work.
I hear: The monkeys chattering, the crickets chirping and the Primary lullaby CD.
I smell: Mostly everything. My husband claims I have an overdeveloped sense of smell.
I crave: Chocolate. Always chocolate.
I search: for my keys, the dvd remote or some other item at least twice a day.
I wonder: why gas is so ridiculously expensive.
I regret: Many a thing. Still working on letting go of things I can't change.
I love: Dancing. And my kids. And my husband. And parents and sister and rainy days and the smell of new cars...This could be long, so I'll leave it at that.
I care: about what other people think. Even when I shouldn't.
I always: enjoy it when I go to the temple.
I am not: perfect. Or even close.
I believe: that people should help each other. And be kind.
I dance: to the music at the grocery store. Yup, in the aisles. Sometimes with my kids there, but sometimes even by my self.
I sing: loudly along with the radio in the car.
I fight: too much.
I write: the way I think. But slower.
I lose: My mind every day. Thankfully I find again it most days.
I never: understood why people smoke.
I listen: to the radio, to other people talking and to the Spirit. Although sometimes I argue with the latter.
I can usually be found: with a book nearby.
I am scared: that people don't like me.
I need: Chocolate. And attention from my husband. And shoes.
I am happy about: My family. All of the crazy, wonderful people I am related to in one way or another. I am truly blessed.
I tag: about anyone who hasn't posted on their blog in say.....2 weeks? Sis?! (And my husband - feel free to email me the answers!)

So there it is - that was interesting to fill out. Probably way more info on me than you cared to have, but fun to do. Thanks, Sarah!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Lesson in Letting Go

Exactly five years ago, I made a decision. S was 5 months old and was starting to sit and crawl (yes, simultaneously...strange child, I know!) and in the process, he would occasionally wobble and tilt over to one side or the other. I knew that could either follow him around with a pillow and make sure he didn't get any bumps or I could let him go through the process of learning how to sit/ crawl/ eventually walk/ etc, knowing that he might get hurt, that it probably wouldn't be serious and that he needed to do this to develop.
I decided then that I couldn't follow him through life with a pillow, no matter how much I'd love to shield him from bruises. I need to be there for him for support, but I can't protect him by not allowing him to learn his lessons. Now, that was all well and good when he was ten inches from the ground. These past few weeks, my resolve has been put to the test as S has learned to bike. I watch him take a sharp turn and hold my breath in anxiety for the crash I am expecting. He has crashed a few times. And gotten back up and off again. I know I will feel that hollow swoop in my stomach many times as he goes off to school in a few short weeks, as he gets baptized, as he starts dating; always hoping that he'll be okay, that he won't get hurt too badly by life. I do know that he has to learn his own lessons. That he will get bruised and scraped a bit. I can just pray that Heavenly Father will watch over him as he learns. And that I will feel more comfortable as I let go.