Thursday, December 25, 2008

The calm after the storm....

I feel like I can finally breath. It's Christmas day, Ian is tucked in bed and Alex is close. Sean's parents made it here safe and sound, the shopping, the food gathering, the cooking and baking is done. And NOW I'm on vacation. 11 more days until I go back to work and although I know it will fly, I'm going to savor each one. The best news about this Christmas is unlike the last two NOBODY was puking. We've had the stomach flu the last two Christmas and thank goodness we were left to enjoy this one bug free. YAhoo.

The last week has been a whirlwind! The weather here in Portland has been unbelievable. 16" or more of snow including a 1 inch layer of ice in the middle. It's slow to melt and has caused issues with work, Christmas shopping and resulted in a cancellation of a Linfield College Girls reunion. I spent the first few days loving it, hoping and anticipating that somehow just like all the school kids, I too would get to stay home for a snow day. I made the drive to work for several days until the storm really hit hard. And now I've been home for days, the snow and ice closed Nike WHQ and although I've been dialed in, checking emails, and available by phone I'm in the groove here of not going to work....and I think I like it. It always takes me 3-4 days to get used to not being at work, to forget about it, to get in this 'home life' lifestyle of really truly being in tune with my kids and to interact with them rather than just meeting their needs as quickly and efficiently as I can. I wonder on Mondays if I'm cut out to be a stay at home mom. What I've realized the past few days is those Mondays are packed to the brim with appointments, doctors visits, errands, laundry and any other thing I can't get to Tuesday-Friday. But here, today after days and days and days home I have a clean house, the bills are paid, there is food in the fridge, my kids are happy and so am I. I could do this. Now, the mortgage wouldn't get paid but I suppose we wouldn't be unlike a lot of people out there.

The kids were once again spoiled rotten this Christmas. I will surely need to hold a garage sale for all the old items that will never be touched or looked at again. Alex's most prized gift was her Sleeping Beauty vanity table. Google's hideous. But she asked Santa for it and luckily-Nanna & Pop Pop prevailed. Second runner up was her V-Tech camera given to her by her Granmom & Pop and unfortunately for me, the gift I couldn't wait to give her and I thought would be her best (an overpriced collectors doll) evidently scares her and has 'weird eyes'. It's not allowed in her room at night...when it's dark. Nice.

Ian raked it in too. Sean and I got him a train table and Nanna & Pop Pop gave him a train set. He's now the proud owner of a rocking horse that due to operator error already caused an enormous egg on the back of his noggin. He'll learn soon enough to hold on to the handles and not the mane.

After days of being cooped up and lacking new and interesting things to do, I decided I needed a puppy. Now hold your horses, NO we don't have a puppy but for days I thought I wanted one NEEDED one. I researched breeds, debated on sizes, scoured the want ads and the Humane Society listings. I was sure I wanted it and I have to admit I was even a LITTLE disappointed after all the gifts were open this morning and there was no puppy but darn if right now, as the house is still and quiet that I'm not so relieved. If I were sure our puppy wouldn't grow up to be a barker, a chewer, a biter, or shed 4 lbs of hair each day I'd be in. But as I step over toys and run into my furniture constantly and curse this 1600 square foot, crammed to the max, lacking a bonus room hacienda-I fear a dog might break us. Maybe in May when it's nice and the dog can be outside? I figure I'll continue to find that perfect bread which I think is a Golden Doodle (google it) which will take me 9 years to save up for as they evidently cost more than my monthly income. And let's not forget according to Sean, are the 'ugliest dog he's ever seen'.

Overall we've had such a nice Christmas. Despite the roads, the travelling issues, the stressing over flights coming in or not it's just been really nice. There was a very important person missing this year. To not have my grandfather at Christmas Eve dinner was difficult. I missed his extra helpings of red wine and dessert. I missed his witty comments. I missed watching him watch my kids. As we all sat down to dinner and joined hands in prayer, my dad recited the prayer my grandfather always said at his dinner table and despite the loss we all felt inside my heart smiled with those simple words, heard a hundred times before, and it brought comfort. Merry Christmas Everyone...and to all a goodnight.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Snow Day(s)

Arctic Blast 2008 has hit the Portland Metropolitan Area. The 'dramatic' coverage and STORM TEAM updates are getting old, the cabin fever is setting in and the kids...are restless.

I'm working from home today. Evidently, 'Stormageddon' is hitting us again and Sean took the good car leaving me with 'BALDY' our Accord with treadless tires. I guess if I go get in line now at Les Schwabb I just may get new tires and get home tonight in time for 'Private Practice'. Sean and I have tickets to a Blazer game tonight which makes me so MAD! They are great tickets and we've been looking forward to this for weeks and here we find ourselves 'playing it by ear' in hopes the roads don't turn into one giant ice cube.

The last few days we've kept mostly indoors. We've taken the kids out in spurts but they are still a bit young to really truly enjoy frozen hands and noses. Alex despite some good fun with the sled and making snow angels has taken issue with snow getting between her gloves and her coat. Ian, whom we've bundled up to look just like Randy from a Christmas Story enjoyed it for 5 minutes and then resorted to crying, arms stuck out, with a snotcicle forming on the tip of his nose.

I think I've exhausted all options for indoor play. Play-Doh, art projects, blocks, coloring, Memory & Candyland. I yearn to run errands, finish my shopping, or to drive around needlessly as the kids sit content in their carseats.

I became so desperate, I organized the toyroom and got rid of the old to bring in the new. I threw away McDonalds happy meal toys (obviously brought over by other children as our kids never eat there) and any other worthless, bottom of the foot puncturing items that I'm tired of picking up. I even tore apart my downstairs, re-arranged some furniture only to realize my house is too small and my furniture too big for any changes. I'm now on a mission to sell my couch for a smaller more practical item for this cramped space I've evidently spent too much time in this week.

We had an injury of note this week. Sean slipped and fell. Now you may assume this was done outside, on the icy terrain while taking out the trash cans or checking the mail. Well no. It was actually done the kitchen...while teaching our accident prone 1 1/2 year old how to run and slide in his socks. I took it upon myself to clean my floors on Monday and evidently it created a smooth and dangerous surface free of dried encrusted cheerios and flung dinner parts by Ian....which resulted in this tragedy. Sean is fine, he suffered only incessant laughter and teasing from his wife who is known to find falling ridiculously hilarious.

This morning I came to the realization that there may be a varmant living in our dryer vent and Ian yanked on the dishwasher rack, pulling the entire unit out of the counter. I'm now going to go start the dishwasher in hopes that water does not spray everywhere. Evidently our kitchen floor is already slick enough.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

General Kiddo Update

Well, here's a post I've been working on for awhile. I'm having a moment here where I'm feeling utterly overwhelmed with deadlines, work, Christmas prep, lists and lists of things to do, un-finished home projects, and what Sean referred to this week as 'the most cluttered house ever'. Nice. So here I go. Finishing something that has neither a deadline, timeframe, or really any business getting first dibs. But here goes.

A quick (or not so quick) update on the kiddos.

Alex is 3 1/2 now. What I've learned about the half ages from experience and friends is that it's nothing short of difficult. It's like this mid-age transitional period where they go from being 3 to figuring out how to be 4. She's developed a bit of a temper and at the word 'No', will scream and hit something in anger. This leads me to believe she doesn't get told 'No' enough. She's been fighting her evening bedtime routine a bit. Probably because Sean and I have been fighting the elimination of DUN DUN DUN....nap time. Last week when Sean went into her room for the kazillionth time she said, "I keep trying to go to sleep dad, but my eyes...they just keep opening."

I remember over 4 years ago when the doctor proclaimed my due date with Alex. I believe it was May15th or 16th and I was hit with the frightening realization that she would in fact be a Taurus...just like her daddy. For all you Taurus's out there, this is not to be taken as an insult but the two Taurus's *I* live with, the good also comes with power struggles, stubborness, & a built in defense mechanism.

97% of the time, Alex is sweet natured, loving, affectionate, polite and just an overall joy. She loves to read and be read to. She LOVES art and has taken to 'cutting' know, with Scissors. She cuts up magazines, coloring books, & paper. I think I've strained my back in stopping every few feet, leaning over and picking up small scraps of paper but it's keeping her occupied. She's currently in both Swimming lessons and Gymnastics. Her Gymnastics instructor claims she is the star pupil and takes it VERY seriously. She pays attention and does whatever is asked and always has big stories to tell when she gets home. I have a feeling she's going to be an excellent student just like her dad. Speaking of big stories and tall tales, she's also begun to 'embellish' the truth here and there. In other words, making up stuff for shock value. I'd like to think this is only a sign of a nice and healthy 'active imagination'. It's partly cute, partly scary for what's to come down the road and partly makes me so dang nervous as to what she tells other people when we aren't around to defend ourselves or call her out on these 'fibs'.

For Christmas this year, Alex is asking for a 'Dolly'. This as opposed to all the 'babies' she has. "It's different", she says. She's also had her eye on a plastic pink vanity set that includes a doll head and makeup tray to dress up. I wonder if she'll understand when Santa doesn't pull through for her leaving her only a nice little note in her stocking that says, 'Sorry kid, your house is too cluttered. Better luck next year'.

Ian is 17 months! His vocabulary has really improved over the last few weeks. He is routinely saying 'Momma' and can repeat most of what you ask him to say. He's currently working on his last few teeth which hasn't been at all pleasant. I will not be sad to say goodbye to the waking in the night, the constant drool and persistent whine "eeehhhh eeehhhh'. I feel for him, I do but now that the excitement has worn off, that he has teeth and oohhh, aren't they cute? I just want it to be over. He's all about Mr. Potato head right now. He'll sit and play alone for an hour putting an ear into the mouth hole or eyes where the feet go. He doesn't care what it looks like in the end, but I can see he's going to be highly mechanical like my Dad which I'm thrilled about. You can see it in his eyes, he isn't playing so much as he's trying to figure it out. If I need to distract him at any moment all I have to say is, "Where are your potatoes?" and he goes sprinting into the play room to dump out the large bin of potato parts.

The kid is obsessed with brushing his teeth, and is now climbing onto everything. He can scale the kitchen chairs, the piano bench, and the couch before I can even get to him. He's recently been mimicking his sister and while I'm cooking dinner, wants to pull a chair over and climb up to watch.

Those that know him won't be surprised when I say Ian is CRAZY. He's just a crazy person. Everything he does is big. He talks big, screams big, laughs big, smiles big, hurts big. His head is big, his hands (or paws) are HUGE and when asked how old he is people are shocked when I tell them he's 17 months old. Sometimes I feel sad for him because he still is very much a baby to me. Strangers assume by his size he should talk in full sentences or recite the alphabet. And frankly, the post pardum excuse isn't working for me anymore as I carry my 30+ pound (baby).

He's broken three ornaments so far, and massacred my favorite Santa figurine. This morning Sean emailed me the below photo with a caption along the lines of 'Won't be surprised if Santa doesn't visit Ian this year'. And oh, sorry about your blood (red paint) stained walls that also suffered from the beating of dear ole St. Nick. Just the other night, we found him charging at the tree with a roll of wrapping paper. He was either trying a go at pole vaulting, or saw a spider and was protecting his mommy.

This last weekend marks the first 'strip himself naked' episode of what I'm sure will be many more to come. I found him naked from the waste down upon getting him up from nap. Luckily no bodily excrements happened between the time he managed to get his diaper off and when I found him but surely that will only last so long. Whenever we get the kids ready for bath, and take off their clothes since they were wee babies I've sung a little diddy...'Naked body! Naked body!' Well, Ian has taken this ritual to a new level and now, bare naked will dance a number while spanking his behind. THIS he came up with all on his own and I promise to get a video soon. You won't want to miss it. He's quite a mommy's boy these days, it has Sean's feelings a little hurt but we all know these kids go back and forth. Right now, it just happens to be me. When he's hurt? Only I can soothe him and during a family tickle fest the other night Ian stood screaming in the corner pointing at Sean and demanding he stop 'tormenting' mommy. My little protector. His occasional tantrums include flailing, whipping his head back, hitting his head on things and throwing himself on the floor in fits. He's came close to breaking my nose twice and has left me with bruises that are surely leading my co-workers to wonder what exactly my home life is all about.
I can't believe how old my babies are getting. I'm happy & I'm sad. I love to see their growth but am beginning to miss that feeling of cradling them in my arms. I sometimes wonder if another baby is in the cards for me. I already have HER name picked out. But, at this point in our lives, I do believe the two of us are at maximum capacity. We muddle through our days the best we can never feeling like the best employee, house keeper, parent or spouse. It's in neither of our natures to be less than 100% at everything we do so it's a bit of an inner struggle but as long as we have these two people making us laugh like they do I figure we'll be ayight...cluttered house and all.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree!

Apparently, Santa loves my family the most because according to Alex, Santa already came to our house and hid boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations and ornaments for us to find.

This weekend as I unpacked each box of sentimental bobbles, stockings & ornaments, Alex would exclaim with utter glee, "Look what Santa brought us!" She'd screech, pick it up and run around looking for a place to set it. After the 3rd or 4th box, and the 3rd or 4th time explaining that Santa won't come until Christmas Eve and all of these precious mementos are those than I'd been collecting over the years and OH, 'Alex, this one has your name on it', and 'This is the ornament we bought when you were in my tummy' were exhausted without comprehension, I gave up. And along with her, I began to thank Santa for the amazing boxes filled with 'never before' seen surprises.

I love decorating the house for Christmas. I love listening to Christmas music, and transforming my house into something different for a month. I love the memories that come with each ornament. Some hand made by myself as a wee tot, some given to us by those lost, and others purchased to capture a particular time in our life. A Portland Trailblazers ball from the 90's (Go Blazers!), A Linfield College keepsake from where Sean and I met, Baby's first Christmas rattles for each of the kids, and for each year we've been married a hand painted ball with all our names on it given to us by Sean's parents. I was having a grand ole time until Mr. Demolition himself crushed my Linfield College ornament AND within minutes pulled his stocking, followed by the heavy stocking holder off the mantle.

It was then I knew that THIS Christmas I would be practicing mucho patience and would be forced to relinquish some ahem....control. This house will NOT be resembling any photo found in Martha Stewart Living.

I spent hours turning and adjusting the tree, making sure no bald spots were in the front. I took an hour to string the lights and another to place my ribbon and bows. And now, all my hard work is garnished with the help of Alex & Ian's ornament placements which have all the non-breakable ornaments front and center in a hap-hazard cluster. Some ornaments weren't even 'hung' but set on the branches.

Halfway through the 'decorating', Sean asked me how I was doing. He said, 'You okay? This has to be difficult for you'. I laughed because it was a big inner struggle and I was doing my best to be 'okay' about it all. He knows me so well. I have to say this tree is not the most meticulous, and the spacial arrangements of ornaments by size and color is not exact. But it's my favorite tree of all because to see these two kids place the ornaments this year, and really for the first time enjoy the process was such an amazing gift I will never forget. And who knows, maybe nobody will notice that each day I take one from here, and put it over there and although all the Santa's and Snowmen started out 'napping', by Christmas they all be in their proper erect positions.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Livin on a Prayer

This post is 100%, wholeheartedly dedicated to the amazing Kolmer family. Sean and I had the awesome privilege of attending his cousin Kevin and his amazing WIFE Kelly's wedding a few weeks ago. As stated in my previous post, this was just as much some time away for the two of us as it was a chance to spend some good quality time with his family of whom we don't get to see quite enough as well as witness one of my favorite things...the marriage of two young lovebirds 'so happy together'.

It was a whirlwind weekend in beautiful Philadelphia which included a rehearsal dinner, some shopping, a Philly Cheese Steak, an amazing wedding & one of the best damn receptions since well, Sean and mine! We got to get dressed up, stay in a gorgeous hotel, sleep in, and order room service. Simple yet glorious pleasures for parents of two.

For Sean and I, who have been married now 6 years, have endured the ups and downs of life, lost loved ones, battled jobs, and have now muddled through the gigantic responsibility of children, this wedding in particular was especially admirable and endearing. The ceremony & vows in particular were amazing. A letter was read by the priest each had written to each other and the message that hit most home was around Love being an act of the will. As life gets busy, time together gets scarce & children take over your world it's so easy to forget that day and who you were many years ago as you stood together and said "You, always." It is a choice to love someone. You wake up each day and along with all the other 'to do's' and often times this list seems daunting, its so important to remember the most important. I really truly took something from the message and for that I am grateful.

(Here's a self portrait of us closing down the hotel bar)

The reception was amazing, great company, truly delicious food and wine! And let me just say THE BEST band that side of P-town. I remember one sort of euphoric moment when they began to play 'Livin' on a Prayer'. The room was electric, there wasn't a person in the room that wasn't smiling, jumping up and down and truly feeling on top of the world. I'd like a vote of those that were hoarse the next day from screaming "Take my hand and we'll make it I sweeeaaaaarrr WHOOOAAAA Livin on a Prayer!' Tally one for me. So many people all in one room, celebrating such a wonderful event. Aaaahhh I love weddings.

So to Kevin & Kelly, Congrats! I know you are two of my biggest blog fans. Sean and I are so truly happy for you and can't wait to see where your journey takes you both. By the pure quantity of toasts at your rehearsal and the wonderful messages they all had, you know you have a huge group of people who are just blissfully happy for you.

I do have one complaint, and that is that Christopher nailed his best man speech leaving poor Brent in last place. Poor. Guy. We are sure that the day will come that someone will trump his (self appointed) title of 'worst speech ever'.

And Kevin Sr. THIS IS FOR YOU. At the bottom of my post will be a '0 comment, or 1 comment' click on that and you'll be able to leave your message. I'm available by phone for tutorials ;)

Hugs to all you Kolmers out there! We are so happy we made the trip, we had a blast and can't wait to see you all soon!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Please god, make me a bird so I can fly far far. Far far away from here.

(Philly post 1 of 2)

3 years, 6 months, & 3 days. This is how long it had been since Sean and I have been childless for an entire weekend. Three whole days that did not include, diapers, Bink's, sippy cups, chitter chatter and revolving around nap schedules and bed-time. It was about time.

I won't lie, I was both nervous and excited for this last weekend. Nervous to leave my babies (not in the care of my parents) but nervous for the two of us to be flying without them. I scribbled out and notarized a 'last will & testament' leaving our precious babies and all our worldly possessions in the hands of my parents should god forbid something happen to us. A 'right to seek medical attention' note as well as the kids insurance cards were left behind (just in case). Despite the neurotic behavior, I was also excited to spend some adult time away. I was interested in being able to speak to Sean about something other than our kids (of course, we couldn't help it) and excited to spend time with his family where I wasn't running around trying to catch ends of conversation while preventing Ian from hurting himself.

Everything about flying without kids is easy. We had two bags, one carry on. No sippy cups, books, portable DVD players and snack cups. Despite breaking my nail off in the security line, it was a breeze. I wasn't removing 3 coats, 3 pairs of shoes, breaking down a stroller while doing my best to prevent Bink's, cups or anything else that will end up in my kids mouths to touch or be anywhere near the conveyor belt. I just lazily watched my purse filled only with my new book coast thru security. "Please Mam, can you remove your belt?" I was asked. "Why of course, that will be no problem as my hands are completely free".

What I realized in that security line however, is that although you may leave your kids behind. They absolutely do not leave you. I watched other parents struggle and I felt empathy. I missed my kids and was sure that Alex would LOVE to be here right now. And then I saw it. I bent over to put my shoes back on and on the bottom of my sock STUCK was one of Alex's Dora band-aids. Of course it wasn't 'used'. She removes them all from their wrappers and sticks them around the house. I must have just stepped on one on my way out the door. I chuckled and pointed it out to Sean. He responded with 'Gross'. I however, saw opportunity. I removed the band-aid from my sock and placed it on my throbbing, broken nailed finger. Wa-La! Only a mother.

(Fast forward to our return trip)

5:30 am. This is the hour we had to be up following a most wonderful wedding, reception, & trip to the hotel bar ending around 2:30am. This was not a great way to start a day of travelling. Sean is a much better morning person than I. I didn't speak, or really see my surroundings until we were in the Philly airport and I'd already downed my first cup of coffee. With a prop plane (GASP I hate those) to Newark, a 3 1/2 hour layover and a 6 hour flight home, you could say I wasn't 'pleasant' or good company of any sort. Sorry Sean.

Trying to remain positive in that 'this would be so much harder with the kids', I settled in for the long haul. The jumper to Newark was fast and bump free. I was gifted with the most amazing view of NYC on our descent. I love that city. My face was smeared to the airplane glass blocking Sean's view entirely...oh how I wish I lived there. 3 1/2 hour layovers are dreadful. We sat in silence watching TV, reading our books, sleeping on and off and overall grumbling (me, not Sean) that this sucked! I think we were both tired and just wanted to be home with our babies when we saw him.

He was at least 6 1/2 feet tall. Certianly, he was a Blue Man Group wanna-be, or groupie. He was wearing baby blue crocs, a blue fleece (tucked in his jeans in the back, yet not quite covering his whole front), a blue stocking cap, and was sporting a blue fanny pack. Some may think, 'So, what's the big deal?'. The big deal is, he was also carrying a blue cooler. Maybe we were so tired and delirious that dirt would have made us laugh but this man had us in hysterics. We began to argue over what exactly he was carrying in the cooler. Sean's vote was Beer. I was confident it was an organ he was delivering for some transplant. Here. He. Is.

Within moments, we realized he too was headed to P-town and please please please if there is any sort of karmic influence out there, please do not require me to sit by this man as punishment for laughing. I may just die. As Sean and I walked down the aisle I saw him sitting in the middle seat somewhere around row 14-17. I couldn't quite get an accurate count, but knowing we were in row 15 I began to sweat. What if I fell asleep and he stole my phone, finding this picture I had taken? What if I couldn't stop staring at his fanny pack, and what if the cooler didn't fit in the overhead compartment and I would have to fight with it the entire way home? What if, What if WHAT IF? I don't know how, but I was relieved of punishment for my immature, and cruel behavior and sat just one seat in front of him.

I read virtually an entire book on the way home and anxiously anticipated the moment when we picked up the kids and they ran screaming into our arms saying 'We missed you, We love you, and thank you for all you do for us'. It didn't happen quite like that, but it was close enough. I thank thank thank my parents for taking the kids this weekend. What a complete blessing. I really learned how important it is to take these breaks. Although we were out late, busy and travelled a ton I feel oddly rested and refreshed when it comes to the kids. You realize when your away how really truly a 24 hour job they are, and how you really never stop. My heart feels happy that I had an amazingly fun weekend away with Sean, that my parents were kind enough to be full time parents on their only days off work, that I had my babies to come home too.

More to follow on the actual festivities.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Introducing the next Alicia Keys

Alex LOVES music. She loves to sing. I'm embarrassed to say her favorite songs are "Oops I did it again"-Britney Spears, "Bleeding Love"-Leona Lewis & my personal favorite "Dangerous"-Kardinal Officiall (feat: Akon) which she only heard once before I realized that wasn't for little ears.

Anyway, she loves her Wee Sing and Play CD and has taken to enjoying the piano. Enjoy.

Below is a picture of Ian in his Halloween Costume. I couldn't think of what he should be...and then I saw it. Hanging on the top rack in the Target Halloween Mecca. It called to me and with all hopes this will fit him next year too. Yoda is brushing his teeth in this picture but the little boy within the Yoda is addicted to his toothbrush and can rarely be found without it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

T minus Two

I'm so terribly tired. So tired that the lines on this here excel spreadsheet I'm working on are blurring together. I blame the Sudafed. I blame the Sudafed mixed with DayQuil, and I blame Sean. No, just kidding. Granted, he is in San Antonio for work this week. He's managed to work out, watch the series each night and have quiet evenings in his hotel room. But he also misses us, is sick too and evidently the conference he's at is serving the worst food known to man.

It's his longest trip since having two kids, and quite frankly the hardest trip yet. It's weeks like this that give me such a complete admiration for single mom's & dad's. It's weeks like this that make me appreciate my husband and how involved with our kids he is. Although the weekend was nonstop and I didn't have but a few minutes to myself, today I started the logistical nightmare of getting everyone up and out, to school, to work and tonight I'll run the dinner, bath, bed, prepare for the next day marathon alone. In hopes, that some quality time with each child will present itself. It's always being late and behind and it's squeezing all the things I can't do at home while here at work into 1 1/2 hours. It is a price I pay in working 4 tens. I'm out early, I'm home late but that Monday home with the kids has so far seemed worth these horrendous days. God BLESS my dear mom who also works these long hours so she can help me and my sister by taking the three kids on Fridays. God freaking bless her.

We've had some great times over the past few days. Friday we had my nephew over for a slumber party. Saturday morning, Ian blessed me with one of his 'I'm going to get up at 5am days', and this is sorta where my sleep ceased for the weekend. Saturday was beautiful. The kids and I spent much of the day outside raking up 7 giant bags of leaves. I did my best not to get frustrated as they jumped in my pile, picked up giant handfulls and ran around the yard re-distributing my hard work. I had to convince Alex that it was not appropriate to break out the swim pool at the end of October even though she insisted it was obviously summertime and she knew exactly where her swim suit was.

Saturday night, my sis returned the babysitting favor and I ventured out for a friends Birthday Bunco Bash. I had far too much fun, got home far too late and 10 minutes after falling asleep I had a visitor.



"Where's Daddy?"

"He's at work."

"Why is he at work in the night?"

"Well, he had to get on an airplane and fly far away. He's not really working right now, he's sleeping in his hotel. Now come on, go back to bed. Mommy's tired."

"Can, I sleep with you?"

Afraid she'd wet my bed, forever ruining my beloved 'novaform mattress topper' I said "No, go back to your bed."

I rolled over to urge her back and found her in my bed, laying on her back. Asleep and SNORING. How about an award for the worlds fastest 'fall sleep' ever. After an hour I carried her back to her bed. To avoid knocking her head on the doorjam I hit the door with her feet, slamming the door into the wall and therefore waking Ian. After settling him back down I stumbled back to my room for a whopping 3 hours of sleep when my trusty alarm clock (Ian) woke me up.

Ian and I woke up with our 3rd round of cold symptoms this cold/flu season. woot woot! We spent the majority of sunday cleaning house, doing laundry, running errands and overall whining at each other. That night I quite possibly had the worst hour in my parenting life, and I was alone. It was the bedtime hour which can be hectic enough but this time I had a 'napless, not feeling good' Ian and a 'jealous of all the attention he got all day, tantrum throwing" 3 year old.
Monday I was sure we all just had a case of cabin fever and we met a friend for a play date. We hit up the park for a few hours and later DQ. It was a good day.

Today, not so much. Within a 10 minute period of time this morning Ian submerged both his bedtime pull toy lion in a pee filled toilet, and my Blackberry in a soap & water filled kitchen sink. He pooped on the way to daycare, and I forgot to leave Alex's carseat so she could go to gymnastics today. I wonder sometimes what my friends and family think of this high strung, forgetfull, space cadet I have become. As a self proclaimed control freak, one would assume I have but an ounce of control over anything. I miss order, cleanliness, stuffed toys not soaked in urine and today I miss my cell phone, my kids and my husband. I must admit, I've felt somewhat sorry for myself a few times the last couple days. But each time, it doesn't last long. I know there are men and women out there who do this everday. Who juggle life, kids, and jobs and who don't know what it is to have someone step in and say, "let me get this, you go take 5".

Some quotes of the weekend:

Caden: "Aunt Carrrrriiiieeeee, I swallowed my gum! Now it's in my neck."

Alex: "Mom, what is this?"
Me: "It's Edamame."
Alex: "Well this one is small, is it's name Edababy?"

Alex: "Ian Patrick Kolburn, get down from there!"

Me: "Alex, what is your birthdate?"
Alex: "May and a half"

What I've learned this week:

1.Taking the garbage out sucks. I realized with Sean gone, this task was falling into my hands. What? I literally didn't know how to do it and after Sean didn't pick up the phone, had to call my dad for 'recycling etiquette' assistance of which I found all too time consuming and dumped it all together, ignoring all rules of separation.

2. 3 & 4 year olds can not, and should not be expected to fall asleep in the same room. Ever.

3. Toilet seats should come complete with automatic closure and lockdown, only to be opened with a 5 digit pin.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sun, Sand & Shades

Spent an enourmously fun and relaxing weekend at the beach with friends this weekend. The weather was awesome, the company devine, the hot tub was A-MAZ-ING... and I think one night I stayed up until 11:00. It felt like 3am but still...something to be proud of.

We had good moments and bad moments and some of them were at the same time. Take note of Ian's 'I couldn't be madder' face and Alex's 'this is the best day of my life ever' face.
Ian had his first experience running around in the sand, eating sand, and a few hours later...pooping sand. Yeah to good times and good friends!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My kids, they are brilliant!

Ian put himself in timeout today. He's 15 months and already 'get's it'. He not only says Thank You when appropriate, and walks to the stairs when you ask him if he's tired, but he's punishing himself!

Monday while home with the kids, I put Ian in timeout (on the bottom stair, for 5 seconds) while telling him that "hitting is inappropriate and will not be tolerated!"Convinced I was going to nip this 'hitting' in the bud, I pulled out some tactics from Nanny 911. I then asked him to say sorry by giving me a kiss which is his new thing (to run across the room, head back and lips pursed while making smooching noises). He did it each time and I allowed him to get up and try again.

He hit Sean today and when Sean said "Ian, no hitting", he very calmly took himself to timeout, waited a moment, and then returned to Sean for his 'I'm sorry' kiss. Don't get me wrong, I highly doubt he will be grounding himself in later years & taking away priveledges on his on accord but I'll take what I can get here.

We visited the pumpkin patch this weekend which was all too much fun. Alex & Caden went thru a haymaze, rode the swings, ferris wheel, & had a pony ride. Ian tried the pony ride & hated it. Instead, he attempted to pick up each and every pumpkin while making a grunting noise as if to say "I believe there is a chance in hell that I can actually physcially pick up this pumpkin, but it's just a TAD too heavy". He loves being able to run/walk around with the big kids and usally when placed on his feet, takes off like Road Runner.

I've had some humorous conversations with Alex this week. I'm not sure what makes them ecspecially funny other than the fact that although she's 3, I feel she has no right knowing what she knows OR being able to articulate these things. I'm wondering if at any age I'll get used to having conversations with her, or if at any point in time I'll stop being enamored by her thought processes.

Me: "Goodnight Pumpkin, I love you."

Alex: "I'm not a pumpkin, I'm Alexandra."

Me: "Your my pumpkin."

Alex: "Mom, your silly (insert 16 year old PPPSSSSHHAAAWWWW) I'm not a pumpkin, I'm a kid!"

Alex: "Mom, did you remember my Kitty from Kathleena's"

Me: (lying) "No, I'm so sorry I must have forgotten her. We'll get it tomorrow."

Alex: (very calm, cool, & collected) "Mom. Sorry, but your gonna have to take me back there to get it."

Mom: "I was kidding Alex, it's in your bag-in the trunk."

Alex: "Okay, I'll have to make sure when we get home or else we'll have to go back. And I'm just tired."

I love the ages of my kids right now. 3 & 1. I still have a baby (sorta-he resembles a 2 year old) but he loves to be held, he needs me in more ways then Alex, he still sleeps in a crib, wears diapers and to everyones dismay still has an occasional bottle and bink (gasp!). But he's my baby and not knowing if there's a 3rd little life out there for us, I'm hanging on to him for dear life. Alex is maturing by the day. I've been so proud of her the last few weeks, the bedtime routine has improved (Thanks to Sean's consistency), she's more polite and she's been so brave in situations she previously may have melted down in. She's now in gymnastics, and swim lessons and loves both dearly! The best part of 3 & 1, is that that "3" and the "1" actually show signs of really truly loving each other. They play better, they take care of each other, & laugh at each other and what a sight that is.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

It just never fails.

My friends-Your probably all tired of seeing my gmail chat, my facebook status and my blogs be consumed with 'I'm sick' commentary. But, I'm sick. I was sick two weeks ago, passed it on to Sean and it's made full circle back to me again. I'm ginormously thankful that it has yet to hit Alex & Ian (please hold as I try to find some real wood to 'knock' in this here cubicle of mine).

Last night, we decided to call it an early night. Sean went to bed at 8. After some extra snuggles from Alex on the couch and a few stories, I called it quits at 8:40. For the first time in weeks, I was appreciative of the shorter days in that I didn't have to go to bed in the daylight. Expecting a long, full 8 hours of slumber that would leave me energized and ready for today, instead I got this:

9 pm: lights out, dead to the world, asleep.

11 pm: Alex wakes in a crazy cry fit. It was either a nightmare, a loss of her piggy, or a blanket had twisted around her body I couldn't tell.

11:30 pm: Alex finally settles back to sleep. I return to my bed and lose consciousness once again.

11:39 pm: Ian wakes. I believe by the way he was contorting his body when I peeked in on him, his arm had fallen asleep and we all know how that can hurt.

11:45 pm: A bink, a musical pull toy pull settles Ian back in and I return to bed.

12:01 am: I wake in a panic after dreaming I found an excederin migraine pill on the floor of the upstairs hall. Since I do this frequently? And am full of rational thoughts in the middle of the night, I wander into the hall to check. Nothing.

2:20 am: Ian stirs again. I wake, stare longingly at the baby monitor pleading with the red lines to please please please go away. They do. And I'm out again.

3:39 am: Cries from Alex's room again. I find her writhing in her bed soaked head to toe. She's wet the bed. For the first time in 3 months since no more pull-ups. Why tonight? Why me? I pull off her sheets, change her jammies and count the minutes until my alarm will go off. 1 hr, 20 minutes. I change the alarm from 5am to 5:10. As if it matters.

4:15 am: Ian wakes. He cries he cries he cries. Every 3rd day or so, he gets thirsty this time of day. Sean responds. Thank God. He goes and makes a bottle. I wait the 3 minutes it takes for Ian to guzzle his milk, fingers crossed that he'll fall back asleep. He doesn't. 55 minutes and counting til this night from hell will end and I'm charging in to gather my son and pull him into bed with me. It's dire straights, and drastic measures. It's my last and most desperate option but it's my only hope. He turns on his side, and snuggles into the best spoon ever.

4:30 am: My arm's asleep, and Ian's sound asleep. I take him back to his bed and voila! He's back down. I change the alarm to 5:30. 30 minutes is enough time to get up, ready and to work 20 miles away. Right? Another rational 'wee hours of the morning' thought.

5:30 am: Alarm sounds. Sean hits snooze.

5:42 am: Alarm sounds. Sean hits snooze.

5:54 am: Alarm sounds. Sean hits snooze. I apologize and beg for one more.

6:06 am: Alarm sounds. Sean hits snooze. "Next one I promise", I mutter.

6:18 am: Alarm sounds. I throw the covers back and stomp into the bathroom. I'm 18 minutes late to work.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Watcha Doin Mom, Paint'in?

I don't really know why I do it. We've lived in this house 2+ years now, and I've almost single handedly painted EVERY SQUARE INCH. Walls, cabinets, ceilings, fireplaces, moldings, and doors have been the cause of much stress, fatigue, and one sore wrist. I suffer painters hand, neck & back and for what? I don't really know. I don't know if anyone will really cares that soon our bedroom will resemble a picture I tore from a Better Homes & Garden magazine, but still...I do it. I get great satisfaction in turning ugly into something nice. And truly, painting is a bit of therapy for me.

I started my bedroom finally. The last and final room of our once atrocious house. I cried the day we moved into this house. Having left our meticulously painted, and clean town home I felt I had been transported into an episode of the Brady Bunch. What kills me is, I spend all this time and energy at completing these tasks and then wonder why I'm exhausted, have bills un-paid, and no food in the house. I complain that I can't keep up with my life and am always feeling on the edge of spiraling out of control. Well, here I am. Knee deep in a brand new project, feeling out of sorts in all other aspects. And for why? Again. I dunno.

I painted the majority of this house while pregnant with Ian. Alex was about 1-1 1/2 at the time and one of the most common questions she had at that time was, 'Watcha doin Mom? Paint'n? A whole year + later, she said it to me again this weekend. Only this time, she got to help. Lucky for her our carpeting eventually needs to be replaced and I'm not worrying about a coupla drips here, a coupla drips there.

In other Alex news, she officially 'mooned' Sean for the first time. I don't know WHERE she got it but she full on dropped her panties and said, 'Daddy, look at my bum!' Then she proceeded to giggle incessantly while we tried to stifle our laughs and urge her that was a little inappropriate...tee hee.

She got to spend a few hours with Nanna and PopPop on Saturday which was quite a treat. My mom & dad took down the boxes and boxes of Barbie stuff from the attic. Talk about a blast from the past. My heart was happy and sad at the same time. Happy that Alex get's to play with this stuff but sad that it may be weird if I did. For the first time, she noticed the wall of high school mug shots in my parents hallway. This shrine of poster size portraits of myself and my sisters eat up an entire wall. Her comments were, "Mom was really big in high school" and "Why does she have such big and crazy hair". So what if I had big bangs, some curled perfectly forward and the other half curled back. HOT. Today in the car she said, "Mom, why didn't you have any legs in high school?". I explained to her that photographs oftentimes show only part of a person, and then told her about my Glamour Shots head shot where I wore the American Flag coat. That reminds me I do need to raid my mom's photo closet, steal it, and burn that one. I wouldn't want that rearing it's ugly head when I become president someday.

Ian...oh Ian. I can't WAIT to post a picture of him in his Halloween costume. No hints, but let's say when we tried it on today I realized I haven't laughed that hard in months...and months. SO. Funny. I'll take your guesses. He's a ton of fun right now. He is now saying 'Thank You' at all appropriate times. Even at 5 am this morning when I handed him a bottle in his crib, he muttered 'Kee Koo'. So sweet. He now points to his head, belly button and nose when asked. Usually lingering on the nose with his finger...up it. But nonetheless, he's learning his parts.

If I had to describe him in one word it would be INTENSE. He's intense busy, intense crazy, intense into everything, super happy, laughy and very unbearably LOUD. He screams all the time. Sometimes it's happy and..well, sometimes it's not, but no matter what it's embarrassing. We don't really go out to eat right now, and grocery shopping is done on the weekends when one of us can stay home. The noise that escapes him I swear will pierce your ears. It has mine. I find myself wondering if that because he's deaf in one ear he can't quite hear it like we can. Today I heard Sean from the other room mumble, "Buddy, that scream is really get'in me down". My mom says it will pass. God willing, it will so we can take him out in public again. Despite the screech, I have never felt so in love with this child.

Well, I've written a small novel and am now going to join Sean & Alex for movie night. It's Bee Movie, and all I ask is that I don't fall asleep before Alex does.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Be still my heart.

Last night Sean asked Alex if she'd like to go get ice cream after dinner. (Well, duh!)

She screamed with delight, ran in circles and asked me, "Mommy, I'm going to get ice-cream. Can you hold my list?"

What she handed me was a piece of paper off of one of my many trillion list pads, with neat little scribbles in list format. And a pencil.

This one is right up there with 'don't step in my pile' in the scary traits she seems to have acquired from me.

In other news, as if we don't have enough words we have to refrain from using when our kids learn to talk or learn to 'understand' talk, Alex has a list of (understandably so) words that *I* am not doing a good job of eliminating from my vocabulary. They include Stupid & Hate to name a few of the 'not nice' but 'not swear' words. These words are most often used in the car (in a bit of a road rage situation), or while watching any number of programs regarding the presidential election. To avoid getting reamed by the language police, I have taken to spelling them out instead. For example, last night Sean mentioned it was raining. I replied, "I hhhaaaaa, ahem. I H-A-T this weather already". He looked at me perplexed and I realized that if we are going to start spelling words, we best get them right. I'm going to start brushing up on my (fast and on the fly, naughty word) spelling. And that's a P-R-O-M-I-S.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Farewell Felissa, Farewell

We are gathered here today, to remember Felissa. An ugly, boring, & neglected beta fish. She came to us a few months ago as a 'pawned off' birthday party party favor from the kids teacher. We figured, 'Hey, we can handle a fish'. Not quite ready for the responsibility of a dog, and knowing we will never be ready for Alex's true desire of a cat (Ack!) we thought , why not?

Felissa was popular at first. Alex would feed her, talk to her, & as much as you can 'play', she would play with Felissa. She'd poke at her fish bowl, and whisper sweet nothings through the glass. Sooner than later, Felissa became only another item in the toy room, ignored and left to collect dust.

We've gone days and days...and days without feeding her. We've gone weeks and weeks without so much as cleaning her water. A few weeks ago, my beta fish and cat loving friend MELISSA (strangely Alex named Felissa all on her own) gave me the sternest talking to I've had since high school. Horrified by my lack of attention towards Felissa's needs she ordered me to clean up my act...and the fish bowl.

Sunday, Alex and I made this our project. I do believe the clean water, PH drops and cute little house that Alex and I made for her down right shocked her system and led her to her passing. She was once a vibrant purple, with long flowing fins and red highlights. After weeks of dirty & murky water, her poor little body now gray and oxygen starved finally called it quits. Monday I found her swimming upside down and Tuesday, she was not swimming at all.

After two days of harassment, Sean confessed last night that he had finally given Felissa her proper burial. I (unable to dispose of her remains) hoped with great anticipation that Alex would not randomly check in on her old pal before Sean was able to do this. When I asked what he did with her his response, 'I dumped her in the toilet, right on top of Alex's un-flushed Poo, and then I pee'd on her' . Fitting. A burial much like her life...down right crappy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Woe is me

I'm home sick today. Sick sick sick. My head feels like an over-extended balloon, every time I swallow it's like a firing squad between my ears, and my nose-like a faucet without an 'off' switch. Grossed out? Well, so am I.

After spending my Monday, sick as a dog and running after three kids I decided to stay home today, alone. My only company my still un-watched Harry Potter, my stack of photos and photo albums, some toe nail polish, and this here box of tissue.

I looked outside this morning to see what to dress the kids in, and witnessed something very tragic. Five fallen maple leaves scattered on my deck. It's here, it's coming-Fall. I don't necessarily dislike Fall, it's what follows that scares me. A long, gray, rainy, winter. I'm a summer girl, a sun girl, a no need to fight with Sean over the thermostat girl. Woe. Is. Me. Tomorrow, when I'm hopefully done popping Sudafed, and Thera-Flu I will begin a winter vitamin regime of Vitamin D so that the people around me, will continue to want to be around me.

Not all is lost. All our beloved shows will soon be starting, we'll read more books, play more games with the kids and according to Costco whose shelves are already stocked with Christmas cards, ribbons, & gifts...we can start decorating.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Negotiations & "How Abouts"

One of the things I'm both loving and hating about the 3's, are the negotiation skills these kids acquire. During a normal dinner or bedtime routine, we will find ourselves practically talking Alex off the wall. I find myself stumped at times, wondering. "What now". Luckily, Sean trumps me in this category and where sometimes I'd give the whining, sad faced little girl whatever she asks for, he sees right through her ploys and firmly takes over my pathetic attempt at solving the problem.

Most days our negotiations are around dinner. I never ask that Alex 'clean her plate' I do however ask that she try everything and eat a little bit of everything in order to get a dessert. They usually go something like this:

Mom: "Alex, eat 3 more bites"
Alex: "How bout, 2"
Mom: "How bout, 3"
Alex: "How bout 5"
Mom: "OK"

As long as it ends on her number, we're good.

Today we've had the following encounters.

Mom: "Alex, how about you help me clean up the toy room"
Alex: "How about you make me a snack"

Mom (to Alex & Caden): How about we go take a nice quiet time in our beds"
Caden: "How about we have a nice quiet time on the couch and watch a movie"

We win some, we lose some right?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Calgon...please please take me far far away.

Sometimes I'm in awe. Complete awe, of what I may encounter in a 24 hour period of time. Had you told me 3 years ago that I would blot at a human pee spot on my carpeting with paper towel and call it good, I would have laughed. Hysterically. Later, I'd run to Target and stock up on Resolve and various other carpet stain removers. Then I would have hopped over to Safeway and rented a 24 hour steam cleaning machine and cleaned my carpets. Just because I like things to be THAT clean. But times have changed and for self preservation, my standards have had to come down. WAY down.

Sean left yesterday for an over-night work trip to LaGrande, OR. He called me at 10am to say he was on the road and btw, our cleaning lady has skipped town, changed her phone number and we are lost for hopes of getting our last check back for a house not cleaned.

Oye. It's a sign. A sign that we really don't have money floating around to afford this luxury and I best be getting back to doing it myself. But, not before changing our locks.

He texted me at 3. "I'm here, what a hellish drive and I love the Civic Hybrids'. He went off to speak and present in front of important people about important things and I went back to whatever I do. It's too boring to type. I sat here in my desk chair wishing that I was in LaGrande, having a comp'd dinner and a restful night in a hotel where I could read my book and have all the big fluffy pillows all to myself. Later that night, I'd be sharing them with Alex. Her body sprawled across my bed in the perfect 'starfish form' her swim teacher requests from her each Friday.

Instead...I was heading home to pick up the kids from daycare, feed them dinner, give them baths, have quality time with them while at the same time watching the two neighbor kids for a few hours. I got everything accomplished except the baths, and the quality time. So really, they ate and I kept all 4 kids alive. Go me. All the excitement in the house had Alex apparently on a sugar high that could only be matched by an entire box of hostess Twinkies, followed by a package of M&M's. 10:30 pm, I'm still struggling to get the girl in bed. I finally gave up at 10:45 and pulled her into bed with me. Sorry don't even have to tell me how stinky that can of worms I just opened is. I do drastic and naughty things when fatigued and slightly scared of the dark. Oh, and weary of giant grasshoppers (found in my room the previous night).

This morning was no easy feat. Getting the kids up and out the door by 7 while getting myself ready is one thing. Doing this all with a cloud of guilty conscious that I'll be over 2 hours late to work is another. So imagine my reaction when Alex, who clearly woke up on the very very wrong side of the bed threw a ROYAL tantrum, flipping and flopping herself down the stairs, flinging her head back while Alligator tears dripped from her face then proceeded to pee on the carpet in protest of getting dressed. My reaction to this wasn't a good reaction. Not one of my better reactions. Not one of my calm, cool, & collected reactions. Not by a long shot. In fact, I felt my face contort into every angry face I ever saw from my mom as a youngin..all at the same time. Followed by a coupla swear words (under my breath of course) and on the way to the kitchen for some paper towels. Imagine also my disgust when I found pee 'splatters' on my couch and the only pair of Capri's I can fit on my giant self. Last 89 degree day for many months I suppose and I'm wearing JEANS.

So. This post-a day in the life of me. Not one of the better days in the life of me, but all the well. In a couple of moments when I'm sure Sean is back on the road home, cruising in his plush rented Civic Hybrid, and refreshed from his quiet night, comp'd dinner and drinks with big people, I'll be sending him a very important text. "Don't forget to pick up the kids today, I have a hair appointment. Be home late". Aaaaaaah. I don't know if they make Calgon anymore and frankly, I don't have a bathtub in my house that's not filled with a giant frog tub toy carrier, a floating ship and 26 foam letters. But for now, a hair salon, a leather covered chair and a good scalp massage will suit me just fine.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tweedle Chins & Tweedle Cheeks

SOMETIMES, I'm forced to pull out the 'Nanna' Card. Power struggles with Alex are getting better as she moves from 3 to 4 but sometimes, sometimes I do threaten to tell Nanna on her. "Nanna would be so disappointed", or "Ok, I'm going to call Nanna and talked to her about your behavior". I don't use it often but in dire straits, it works, it works well.

Yesterday, after Alex got out of bed for the 3rd time I was forced to pull out the big guns. Sean was travelling and I was tired and done with the bedtime routine. I told her, "Alex, cousin Ava would be disappointed to hear that you aren't going to bed like a big girl". Her face drooped. "Oh." She replied. I didn't see her again that evening. I would prefer she alter her behavior to 'not disappoint' Mom & Dad, however, at 9:30 at night...I'm willing to negotiate. It was wonderful. Thank You Ava.

Alex & Ava (on left) were born six weeks apart. Destined to be friends, they live on opposite sides of the country yet every time they get to see each other they just love each other more and more. I ran into this picture a couple of days ago and I honestly can't stop laughing. What a pair..even at just 4 months old.
There are just 5 years between My Aunt Kayelyn and I which has given me the privilege of knowing what it would be like to have a big sis. She was the one who always took the best barbie clothes & furniture. She took the Barbie Corvette, and left me the camper. She also passed down all her hand-me-downs including a leather peach colored jacket & mini skirt combo that I cherished for years yet was never allowed to wear out in public. She let me ride around in the back of her T-Top Camaro (embellished with the bumper sticker 'HOT') when she was in high school. I love her dearly, and feel so lucky to be raising children at the same time. I heart you Auntie!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Monkey Boy Speaks

Ian has been saying words! He talks a ton, mostly babble but to him it is very important. When he really wants you to understand he furrows his brow and points at you like 'Come on, get it mom'. Some words we actually have been able to decipher:

Dee Doo-'Thank You'
Moe- 'More'
Da- 'Dad'
Bobba- 'Bottle'
Bah- 'Ball'

Speaking of furrowing his brow. This kid has a glare and he's not a afraid to use it. He knows just when to drop it on you too. You take his binky away? GLARE. You tell him No? GLARE. You skimp him on dinner? GLARE. Here's me saying 'No more cake'. You get the picture.

I can't believe how fast he's growing. Well, he's always been a bit of a 'grower'. Kid can eat. But he's developing quite nicely. He's walking really well now. I miss his Frankenstein wobble dearly but I'm not nearly as nervous about him bashing his head at any moment. He's cutting his molars right now which is proving to be 'not sweet'. Alex was never a bad teether so this is new to me and he's quite miserable. Thank god for Infant Tylenol, teething tablets & frozen washcloths.

As for Alex. I promise you, I will soon catch one of her giggle fits by video and post it here. It's like nothing you've ever heard before...unless you've heard it before and maybe it's really not that funny. But her laugh is contagious. It's been compared to Webster, if that is of any help.

She started swim lessons today which was so much fun. She was so brave and I'm so proud. The last class she took she wouldn't even sit on the edge of the pool. Granted the punk instructor made no efforts to help her so I don't blame her. But with a new and communicative teacher she did or tried everything and despite the fact that her body acted as though it were stuffed with barbells, she never quit. According to Pop-Pop, this trait may have been inherited as he's struggled to keep his body afloat his whole life. I think that brought her great comfort as now her and Pop Pop are 'sink buddies'.

Last night we attended my cousins wedding. It was our first family of four wedding experience and we had a great time! Sean made Alex's night by requesting Leona Lewis's song 'Bleeding Love' which is her FAVORITE song on the radio right now. Anytime we get in the car she begs for it to be played. Lucky for her it's on the radio every 3 1/2 minutes so she usually gets her wish in any given car ride. She can rarely be found without my old pink razr cell phone. She has very deep important conversations with people. Today it was Pop Pop.

"Hello Pop Pop,'s me Alex. You know me"
"I was just seeing what you were doing, uh huh. Uh huh. Uh huh." (wonder where she gets this)
"So, what are you doing anyway? Uh huh. Yeah. Oh yeah. Nanna told you to clean the floors?"
"That's nice. Well, I gotta go. We are at Costco now to buy fish crackers."
"K, bye. See a later."

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

so sad.

It's been a long hard week. I lost my grandfather. A man I loved, admired and looked up to. A man who is responsible for many of my beloved childhood memories. A man who was patient, kind, and genuine. So much so, Sean and I asked him to marry us. He was and is the epitome of what a husband & father should be and what an example he's set for us all. I'm so thankful that although for only a short time, my kids were fortunate enough to know him. My grandfather will always be a presence in mine and their lives. Whether it be memories, pictures, stories, the traits that we've all acquired from him or the standard he's set that we will always strive to reach.

Alex has been asking where 'great pop-pop' is, and why is everyone so 'sad'. I'm not sure I've figured out how to make sense of all this myself but I'm sure that when I do, she'll be the first one I explain it to. Until then, I'll tell her he's in our hearts, our minds, our memories & our prayers and we were all so lucky to have known him.

Life sure is unpredictable. It's sad that it takes an event such as this to snap you back in to reality. It's easy to get so caught up in the speed of life, struggling to complete the 'must dos' that we rarely take time to enjoy this life we've been gifted with, enjoy the people we are fortunate to share it with and really live each day as if it's our last. A friend once told me 'Do not wear your blessings as burdens'. I needed to hear that then. Every day I try to be thankful that I have a job to go to, a house to clean, and kids to take care of. I continually try to 'balance' life with the things that have to be done while at the same time making time for great experiences and enriching my kids lives with the kind of fun and fond memories I was given from people like my grandfather.

Sean reminded me of a story yesterday. A few weeks back we were all at my grandparents. The three kids were running loud and rampid amidst our constant requests they settle down. At one point, my grandfather leaned over and said to Sean, "Why? They are kids...let em' run. That's what they do." For a father of four boys, that means something. You take things from people, you learn from them and when you feel like your life should be taped and broadcast as the next reality show about a mom on the brink of remember comments like that. And you breath. And you get through. Even though he is gone, his lessons, his witty remarks, his love of life, adventure and those he loved will always be with me. God, I will miss him.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I woke up with a bruise today. Yesterday for the first time in over a year, Alex & Ian took their afternoon nap at the same time and it lasted a mind blowing 2 full hours. It's like it was meant to be. Alex practically asked to go to sleep and BOOM done. Nighty Night.

I quickly unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, a task I can only do while Ian is slumbering as he likes to climb up on the door, grab onto the racks and shake them like a caged monkey. I knew I had to think fast. WHAT could I accomplish during this gift from god break? Now, your about to get a glimpse into my absolute 'inner freak'. Are you ready? I pulled out my master 'house' list. It has a breakdown room by room in list format of what either needs to be done in that room, or bought. Example.

Living Room-

  • Replace door hinges from icky brass to oil rubbed bronze

  • Find new ceiling fan, then figure out how to hang on our 20 foot ceiling
  • Find new picture frames for the hundres of photos we have no place to put

I quickly ran to the garage to survey supplies. What could I do in 1-2 hours without making too much of a mess or needing a trip to the Home Depot? AH! Lightbulb. I grabbed my electric drill, screwdriver, painting tape, primer, brush and hit the stairs.

Had there been a camera filming, it probably could have been a documentary on the life of a mom apparently on speed. I was excited, panicked and anxious that at any moment I'd hear that tiny 'blip' of the baby monitor notifying me my 'me time' was over.
I've been painting window frames, doors, and mouldings in our house for over 2 years now. Our bedroom, the last room was my victim today. I first had to remove the shade from our window which evidently was being held by just one bracket, as removing the one sent the thing plummeting right to my eyeball. PAIN. I ran to the mirror to make sure I wasn't bleeding. No time could be wasted. I taped, painted the window and much to my surprise the kids still slumbered. Now what, AH. My closet frame. I removed the giant, brass rimmed, mirrored closet doors I despise and set them out on our back patio. Don't ask me how I did this. It must have been super human 'mommy during nap' strength. I taped and primed again. Satisfied, I cleaned up and put the dangerous objects away just in time to hear Ian stand up and shake his crib rail in his normal 'get me out of here' rage.

I love Mondays. The errands and catch up tasks of the weekend are done. We've cleaned, we've shopped, we've done our laundry. It's just my day with my kids. Total quality time. I actually get down on the floor and play with them, we go do fun things, or sometimes we just stay in our Jammie's all day and snuggle, read & play. It's is what makes the other 4 long days at work all 'worth it'. But this Monday was particularly special because I had a great time with my babies and got to do something for me too. I painted. I made progress. It was a good good day. Even IF I woke up with a bruise.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ode to Shark

It came to us over a year ago. I'm not even sure where we got it. It was either a party favor, or we acquired it for a quarter in one of those money sucking gumball prize machines at Red Robin. It's an inch long, blue, made of rubber and it's actually a whale. Alex obsessed over said 'shark" for weeks. "I need shark", "Where's shark", "Not without my shark". She soon lost interest but shark our friendly blue rubber whale will NOT go away.

We will find it in the oddest places. In a junk drawer, under the bed or couch, in Alex's dresser, on Ian's changing table. I've picked it up a million trillion times. I could swear I threw it away or stuck it somewhere we would surely never find it again. 'Shark' ALWAYS comes back. IT'S. ALIVE. It's now a part of our family. Some people have dogs & cats. We have an ugly beta fished named 'Felissa' and a little blue rubber whale.

Now, when we find it, we call it out. "I found shark!". Alex even joins in on this family game. Last week, I cleaned and organized the toy room. I went thru every bin, drawer and threw out old toys, packed away baby toys and tossed all the itty bitty pieces of garbage toys we've acquired over the years. Sean was at work, the kids were napping and after finding 'shark' near the gas pedal of Alex's Barbie car I shook my head, giggled and said 'outloud' as if anyone could here me...."shark". I swear I tossed her once and for all. I put it in an old party favor bag, and set it on the washer & dryer with all the other 'get out of my face, I'm tired of picking you up and stepping on your sharp edges' toys.

Friday morning, Sean, unassuming and groggy was handed 'shark'. Nonchalantly, and sorta like 'here dad, I found this'. Ian released it from his sweaty little grasp. What? HOW? We don't know. I figure one of us will go to our graves with Shark. It may one day be quoted in our will, and I'm considering adding to my 'to do list', START COLLEGE FUND FOR SHARK. If for some reason 'shark' one day stops rearing it's little blue head, I want to remember her always. This is for you Shark, we love you and your always welcome in our house.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Chubby Dubby Curly Girly

The other day at the mall, a man asked me if my kids were twins. No really, I'm serious. It took me a second to comprehend his question. I processed it, swallowed it and spit. "No, she's 3, he's 1. That's a two year gap". I could tell you a few things I would have RATHER said, but this is public and I do hope my kids will read it one day. And for someone who is currently trying to remove the word 'stupid' from her vocabulary for fear of the 'stupid' police (Alex & Caden) writing me a ticket. I'll refrain.

If it's not bad enough that we have our own insecurities and our own image problems, once your a mother-you carry the burden of your children's until they are old enough to start carrying them themselves. Last night the kids teacher who I love dearly said, 'I could have fed him food for hours to keep him happy, but I didn't want to make him fatter than he is'. I laughed. It's funny, right? Everyone knows our kids have cheeks, they have invisible rubber bands around their wrists and typically resemble the Michelin tire baby until they are 3.

While pregnant, and in my ' 9 month psychotic state of hormone surged delirium', I used to worry about whether or not my kids would be cute. Obviously, like all parents I only hoped for happy, healthy babies with 10 toes and fingers. But what if? What if, like an episode of Seinfeld, your friend peeks over the cradle and with a look of horror can only muster 'she's breathtaking'. I've always thought my kids were the most beautiful creatures I'd ever seen. You obsess over what they will look like for months and months and then you see them for the first time and you think 'Of course, she looks just like herself'. People will say, "She looks JUST like you". You wonder, "Is that good?, Oh no, she looks like me!" You then obsess about their name. Does it sound too feminine, or masculine. Can you shorten it? What's a good nickname? Will kids make fun of them? You play rhyming games and imagine all the possibilities of what they could be called while huddled in the front seat of the school bus. If your Sean, you say the full name loudly as if it's being broadcast at an NFL football game. "IAN PATRICK KOLMER on the tackle" he'd say. Sounds like a good, strong name right?

Alex, the poor dear gets almost no attention from strangers but for her hair. You've all seen her, she could double for Shirley Temple. Her long curly locks, ringlets really, get her so much attention. I've been asked countless times..."Is it natural?" "No lady, I smother my 3 year old's head with harsh chemicals and permed it so I can spend 20 minutes a day combing and detangling it. Just so people like you will make really idiotic comments like that." I don't say it, but I want to. Others will come up and pull the ringlets, run their dirty Costco hors d'oeuvre smeared fingers thru her hair and say "Where does she get it". "HHHHMMMMM, are you asking me if she is biological? Would you like me to tell you if she's adopted? Or should I just tell you that I spent my entire childhood with ringlets and HATED EVERY MINUTE OF IT and now spend too much time and money getting it to look flat, limp, & straight." Which may lead you to believe she didn't get it from me. Well, she did.

And Ian, "What a tank", "He's huge", "What do you feed that boy?". It took me months to get over the "Your huge" comments while pregnant and now this? And it's true, both my kids have always topped the charts in the 100th percentile. Despite the fact it looks as though Sean and I fill our kids with Cheeseburger happy meals, and KFC kids platters, they actually eat almost entirely organic food. But like any Mom, all I want to hear is that they are cute, adorable, or what charming personalities they have, WHAT GREAT SENSE OF HUMORS. Throw me a bone here, I'd even take a 'He's Breathtaking'. At what age do these comments become harassment? Have I discovered the root of adolescent self loathing? I did minor in psychology. Maybe I've missed my calling.

For anybody reading, I assume your out there. This is not intended to cause any guilt or feelings of regret in comments you've made towards my kids. Oh no. How can you not? I'd do the same thing. In fact I do. See photo I staged of Ian with Teletubbies. This is just a mom who can see into the future. When Alex is 15, and blaming me for her hair, wishing she could have hair like Shiloh Jolie-Pitt. And when Ian is wishing he could be Wide Receiver rather than Nose Tackle. I'm going to show them this, tell them that I understand, and that it's been difficult for me too. ;)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

OMSI, Cupcakes and Swimming

This last weekend, my Auntie KK and her 3 kids Jake, Isabella, and Ava came to visit. I took a four day weekend which we filled to the brim with fun. Friday, we took the kids to OMSI. My mom kept Ian home and I got to enjoy some time with Alex  and Caden (my nephew). I didn't have to cart a stroller or a diaper bag, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Saturday we got all the kids up, ready, and dressed in record time. We had family pictures at 10. Much to mine, Sean and Kay's dismay we had to cut our leisurely morning coffee short and get out the door in a flash. We appointed jobs, we had Kay the ironer, Sean got all the kids dressed, and I made breakfast and organized outfits and hair pretties. Pictures were great, we travelled from park to park, to school to playground to water treatment plant (no joke) to capture some precious moments of the family. It started to get blazing hot so we were all happy to be done at noon. We all headed back to our house to have a BBQ lunch and pre-birthday party for Caden who's turning 4 this month! I honestly can't believe it. It seems like yesterday that little nugget was propped in his exersaucer turning circles as fast as humanly possible and screeching like no boy should.

After lunch, cupcakes and presents we loaded everyone up and headed to the river for some boating, floating, & swimming fun. The kids had a great time, all strapped in their life jackets they jumped and leaped from floaty to floaty. They swam and were towed on the inter tube. Even Ian was in good spirits despite the tight, throat constricting life jacket he was wearing. I remember a few times looking around and feeling so happy that everyone was happy. We really had a great time. The kids were so ecstatic to be together, and having fun. Unfortunatley, my dad cut his finger up pretty bad so we had to bug out, not because he needed stitches. Oh no, he made it clear he was NOT going to urgent care and this gashing wound was nothing that some super-glue couldn't fix. We re-convened at our house (again) for some more food, leftovers this time. The kids ran about, and we nursed our heat exhaustion and hurty fingers with some cool beverages.

The next morning, we got my aunt and kids packed up, and I drove them back to Vancouver where they would spend their last day at my grandparents before flying back to CT. Alex was so sad to say goodbye to Ava ecspecially who she adores and spent most of the weekend nurturing like her very own cabbage patch doll. Why she doesn't dote on Ian like that, I don't know. Probably jealousy, and seriously, he's almost the same size as she is so why shouldn't she drag him around by his arm and knock him down while they are racing to the pantry?

Saying goodbye was hard, we never quite know when we will see them again. Fortunatley, I had to switch gears rather quickly as I was hosting yet another BBQ for some dear friends in town from Boston. We had another great gathering with some great friends and all their kids. It is amazing to me that each time we manage to get together like this, there is another human in the mix. The same group of people we used to attend class with, party with, etc are now asking us 'where do we throw the poopie diapers?' It's surreal and amazing and funny and weird. I don't quite know what we all used to talk about in college, maybe we didn't do much talking at all? But somehow discussing sleep problems, breastfeeding, and 2 year old behavioral issues seems so NORMAL? When everyone left and the house was tidied again, I sat down EXHAUSTED but feeling so terribly blessed. Blessed for great family, great friends and some really good times this weekend. I don't quite remember my walk upstairs..I 'think' I brushed my teeth and then died in my bed.

Monday I had a leisurely morning with the kiddos. We got ourselves ready, and went to the mall to meet our friends Tasha and lil' Nola for some dirty play structure fun. I think that's where we lost Ian's snuggly football blanket he holds so dear. We later took the kids to Chucky Cheese for pizza and more games. Alex had a great time and Ian spent the majority of his time either screaming with glee on the kiddie play structure, throwing himself face first down the slide, or climing up the Ski Ball ramp. He was so happy and over-stimulated the little sucker didn't take an afternoon nap. After a trip to Babies R Us for a replacement security blanket, new binks for Ian (apparently, we've lost the 42 we used to have), and some new Dora underwear for Alex...we called it another busy day.