Monday, December 7, 2009

A Top Ten, for the love of the Holiday Spirit

Yesterday was a super fun, tradition filled day of family Holiday get readiness. We took the kids to see Santa, got our Christmas Tree, and decorated the heck out of it. Mostly the bottom branches but it looks good. Little full, Lotta sap. Looks good though. Instead of explaining the events in detail, I've come up with a Top Ten list, or recap if you will...

10. Alex: 'MOM, you GOTTA try this hot chocolate' in a total valley girl meets munchkin kinda way and Ian saying 'PERFECT' after each ornament he placed on the tree. Even though, seconds later it would fall off and I'd have to re-apply.

9. Sean: I'm really feeling the Christmas Spirit. Me: What? You never do. Se
an: I love the Christmas Spirit.

8. Ian on Santa's lap, keeping his face at a safe '2 foot' distance from his face. Back stiff, eyes wide, no speaking. When asked what he wanted for Christmas his reply, 'DOG'. Which is either a large, hairy, smelly and needy animal we already have, or the name of his security blanket he sleeps with. I suspect the later.

7. Sean taking 7 years and a day to get the tree down. Kids standing silently just WAITING.

6. Finding the perfect tree in the 'already cut down lot', but 'for the experience' trudged up a huge icy hill for a lifetime memory where remarkably, Alex was just as picky as me. 'Too tall, too fat, big hole there, bad top, crooked trunk, bad coloring, kinda dead inside....' We eventually amazingly found one that is nice, real nice.

5. Comparing every tree on the icy icy, cold and slippery hill to 'already cut down tree' in the lot very close to our car.

4. Saying, She'll see it later, her eyes are frozen.' And meaning it.

3. Me leaning over in the backseat to help Ian with his seat belt, and accidentally hitting the gas to the floor. I thought it was a really loud and annoying weed wacker and after seeing Sean waving at me through the back window screaming 'WHAT ARE YOU DOING?', realizing it was me.

2. Alex frantically screaming 'HELP, it hurts' from the other room and finding out she had an ornament lodged in the back of her tangled weave of a hairdo.

1. After loading the car with an absurd quantity of Costco goods, we pulled out of our parking spot to find ourselves blocked with a shopping cart that had rolled out of the cart return. Sean, threw his hands up and said, and I quote, 'NICE'. Clearly he was irritated and mocking the idiot fool that did not put the cart FAR enough in to where it wouldn't roll out. Well, as I got to looking at it, I realized that not only was it the only cart in sight, it had a blue seat not red. JUST LIKE OURS. It was the same cart Sean had just returned. Needless to say, I laughed mostly all day about it repeating his 'NICE' remark. A priceless moment I will mock him for for the rest of our lives.

Every year as the kids get older, these traditions get more and more fun and we get better and better at making them successful. I'm happy to report that for the first year our tree did not fall over, yet.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Where in the room is Ian Patrick Kolmer?

I don't know, maybe I'm the only one that watched 'Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego' as a kid. If so, sorry for the lame title but I found it funny.

It's been a few weeks now where Ian has been sleeping in his big boy (toddler bed). Thankfully, this transition has been much easier with him then it was Alex. That could have something to do with the fact I don't also have an infant to care for, but still. He's proven to be a bit easier in this regard.

HOWEVER, he is letting it be known by way of silent protest that although he will stay in his room, he will NOT go to sleep in his bed. After demolishing his room, he usually settles to sleep on his own within 30 minutes or so. See the below photos of 3 consecutive nights of checking in on him before I went to bed. For added fun, try out your 'I spy' skills and try to spot his turtle.

First night he tests the waters. Maybe if my head is on the bed, it's cool.

2nd night (and this is my favorite) he completely protests and sleeps on the foor with his head on hippo. Love the empty bed.

3rd night, he apparently fought it so hard he tried the chair. 'Stay up to defy the parents-fail'.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Has anyone seen my baby?

Well, me neither.

Last night, Ian slept in a 'big boy' bed for the first time. I took his crib rail down yesterday and he slept in his toddler bed no problem at nap. I found him like this just fifteen minutes after I left his room.

Now if we could just lose the binky and the diaper...One thing at a time. This momma has had just about all the change she can manage for one day. The evening bedtime was not much worse, he only got out of bed twice but took nearly an hour and a half to fall asleep. Must have been the excitement of it all. I could tell when he hopped out by the sound of his voice on the monitor. Twice I came upstairs and asked what he was doing. His response? "I'm not doing nothing MOM", in his super tough guy voice standing all cute in the middle of his room, buddy (his snuggle blanket) in hand. How can you possibly be mad at that?

I'm sure the nights to follow will be tough as they were with Alex. We'll probably end up locking him in at some point, while he kicks the door screaming as though he's being tortured. I am constantly baffled by the fact that my two favorite things in life, eating & sleeping are the most difficult battles with some kids. Really? You don't want to lie in your bed for hours and hours and hours and hours? And why little person, with no body image issues or need for dieting do you insist on eating just 5 different items? OVER AND OVER? Really, I don't get it. Well, more to come on that I'm sure. I'm looking forward to what lies ahead which includes travelling without a portacrib, acquiring a monstrosity piece of bunk bed furniture to accommodate out of town guests, and freeing up the crib for baby #3.

I'm totally kidding. Sean, if your reading...HA HA?

Sean and I have been laughing at the two kids in how they are like me, or how they are like him. Alex sleeps exactly like Sean, mouth open, lying on her back with her hands crossed on her chest as though she's in a coffin. Ian, sleeps just like me, on his side or stomach with blankets and pillows always over his head. Alex shares my sense of humor and finds people falling hilarious. Of course, when they don't get hurt. We are both freakishly entertained by cars slowly sliding into each other on news coverage like 'WINTER BLAST 09' OR 'THE BIG FREEZE OF 08' (also obviously, when nobody is hurt). I first realized this similarity when she was 8 months old and I would find her giggling incessantly while watching 'Funniest Home Videos'.

And now, 4 years later she is still cracking me up with her sense of humor. Yesterday, she dropped to the floor in Target laughing hysterically at a leopard print 'Snuggy' (which I find to be the funniest yet most ingenious invention since the Flowbee. She laughed her head off the entire shopping trip, mumbling things like 'It's a blanket...but a shirt' mwhahahaha or 'it has a hood and arms...but it's a blanket and it has animal print!' mwahahahaha. Oh I'm so proud. Little does she know I'm gonna get her one for camera will be armed and ready to capture that moment.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Momma Called the Dr. and the Dr. Said...

I tried. I really really did. I've been teetering on the brink of sanity, having mild panic attacks that I can't take my kids into their doctor and get them the H1N1 vaccine, the swine, or hog flu or whatever you want to call it. I'm trying not to obsess, I've calmed down on the hand sanitizer, and I realize that health professionals are saying it's no worse than the regular flu. The fact is-it's spreading quicker, it's affecting more people, and I have a 4 year old that spent her first year tied to a breathing machine. She had pneumonia twice, RSV once and I want her, I need her, to have every protection she can. And let's be honest, any opportunity I have to obsess about something, I will. I'm on the way to recovery as at least I'm admitting it.

Today I heard of an H1N1 vaccine clinic just two blocks from my house. I called the kids primary physician to see if they had any yet and was told to go where I could, as soon as I could as they did not expect a shipment for some time. They also urged me to do my best as they have seen an increased number of flu victims in the last week. Within an hour, I had packed up my stuff and left work 2 hours early in a fatal attempt to just MAYBE be there in time to get my two babies 2 of the 700 vaccines on the premises.


After 2 1/2 hours in line we were dismissed. A line that wrapped around the school, around the soccer field and down the block. People in masses with their precious little people, hoping for just some sense of comfort. So here I am, I'm so exhausted. It was a long busy work day, and a long cold afternoon. Ian fell near 50 times and was filthy, he also got his head stuck in one of the soccer nets. Overall, the kids were troopers and I only owe Alex one 'littlest pet shop' toy as reward for both her bravery and her patience. I talked up the shot so much that when we were turned away, she was actually disappointed too. She didn't even question my tears on our way home as I think she was fighting her own. Bless her.

We'll try again this Saturday.

In other 'good' news, we had our family pictures taken last weekend. Here is one of the shots. I think this is totally worth the early rise and the cold morning we spent up at Washington Park.

Still no news on the Ian 'Potty Training' front. The boy has no interest. I've resorted to buying 'Choo-Choo train' pee targets. These are little pieces of paper you toss in the toilet in hopes that your son (usually harder to train) can try to 'aim' at it. Still, no interest. He only wants to grab it out, or flush it down.

Speaking of flushing, Ian has developed quite a temper lately. We are working on funneling this 'energy' and luckily he has found a way to release the angst and has resorted to running to the nearest bathroom and flushing the toilet. He feels so much better after. Some people punch a wall, others scream, I've seen kids (Alex) run around looking for the perfect soft place to throw their bodies down and kick and scream. Ian? Flushes toilets. To each his own.

Alex has been bit with the reading bug. She's very into learning how to read. I went to the library and got some 'early readers' and she is blowing my mind. She has been gifted with Sean's photographic memory so I fear she may have a hard time learning phonics and instead just memorizes words, but whatever works. She's having a great time, and is so proud of herself. I just love seeing her smile and her self pride in this new challenge. She is currently in gymnastics and swim lessons and LOVES swimming even though she is not naturally gifted. Most teachers call her a 'sinker', not in front of her of course but she does her best, tries so hard and is the best back floater in the class.

We had a great Halloween this year. Alex was a 'pretty princess butterfly', she called it. Ian was Yoda, again. It's a great costume and it still fits so whatever. Best said by The Rolling Stones, 'you can't always get whatcha want'. He wanted to be Batman. Maybe next year. He was happy with his light saber and screamed STAR WAAAARS all night.

It was a fun night, we spent it with friends and friends of friends and traveled the neighborhood as a large amoeba of costumes and candy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Just a few knee slappers

It's been one of those weeks where I swear, EVERYTHING makes me laugh. I'm blaming it on my water consumption (a personal challenge to get out the coke and get in the H20), or the high doses of vitamins I've been taking to ward off H1N1. But seriously, I have a few funnies to share.

The first, has already been published on facebook, but still it has me laughing. Last week, while Sean was in DC for work I was plowing my way solo through the bedtime routine. Baths, teeth brushing, getting Ian to have an interest in the toilet, hair brushing, STORY TIME. As Ian stood naked at the sink brushing his teeth (a new favorite), I helped him along brushing the back ones when I found low and behold his 2 year molars poking through. I got a bit excited. I said 'Wow Ian, look at that! They are coming in!'

Alex's response? 'What Mom, his wiener hairs?'

I truly have no idea. And I choose not to question it, as it's just one of the many funny things she says on a daily basis.

Like yesterday, when she asked me what that thing in her room is. 'You know Mom, that thing on my dresser you turn on when I have the chokes?' 'The chokes?' I said, 'It's a humidifier, and it's for when you have a cough'.

Her and I also had an argument this week as I was clipping her nails. I said, 'Wow, you have a hangnail'. She replied, 'No Mom, it's a skin ripper'. OK.

Sean, (my first baby) also had a funny this week. We were cruising around town, having one of those 'bed bath & beyond/home depot/Costco' sorta Saturdays when he asked me what kind of car was in front of us. I have this strange knack in remembering all cars, make and model. It's a random obsession of mine, don't ask. Anyway, he said 'It's not quite an SUV and not really a mini-van?' I said, 'Yes, it's a Buick Enclave and they call them crossovers.' His reply? 'Crossing over into UGLY'. Of course the whole car had a laugh out of that. The funniest part? We pretty much have a 'crossover' ourselves. Niiiiiccce.

Ian should not be left out, he is quite proud (as he should be) when he uses the toilet. He looks forward to his skittle reweard and very exuberantly ALWAYS exclaims, 'I'm so proud of you MOM!' when he's done and always has to call SOMEONE, whether it be Sean or PopPop to tell them 'I PEE!'

Little people, little brains. It's so freaking adorable.

For anyone interested, we have some Chip news. Yes, we still sorta love him although the love is deeper some days than others. Most recently, we have learned that he has been sneaking up on to the couch at night after we go to bed. As if the over-priced, Sherpa covered, and down filled dog bed is NOT SOFT ENOUGH! With some super sluething, we have found that about 20 minutes after we go upstairs he stands, stretches and climbs right on up there. The next morning, when Sean's alarm clock goes off we can hear him jump down and go back to his bed. Super sneaky eh? Well, we are on to him and have begun piling baby gates, brooms and benches on the couch at night. The first night we did that, he woke up VERY salty the next day obviously perturbed.

Further more, we invested some money in some aesthetically pleasing backyard gates and fences to keep him in his 'own area' to avoid the trampling of our grass and shrubs. Well, the last two days the dirty rat has dug himself out leaving him food and water-less the rest of the day. How can such a calculated and coniving nighttime dog be such a dumbass during the day? Who's idea was it to get a dog again? Oh, yes. Mine.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ian Bian and his bum ear...

Ian's first week was tumultuous at best. He came into the world, upside down, with an intestinal blockage, and one bum ear. When he was whisked from my arms and transported to OHSU in an infant ambulance I (of course) thought the worst. His week long stay at Doernbecher hospital was agonizing. His full term 8lb body lay next to teeny tiny preemies weight in at 2lbs. Doctors would come in groups for rounds and speak about him as if we weren't sitting there wondering when and if he would eat, or poop, or pee or something.

After several days, his blockage cleared without the need for surgery and we were finally released to go home. Over the course of the week, with bigger fish to fry so to speak. We never paid attention to three consecutive hearing test failures in his left ear. So now, 2 + years later we see specialists at Doernbecher to monitor his hearing loss. Friday was his most recent appointment.

All tests were conclusive to prior, his right ear is great. His left ear is not. He can only hear sounds at 80-90 decibels which translated may be the loud hum of a vacuum...Eureka not Dyson. Even still if your yelling, singing or talking right up next to him he will not be able to decipher what your saying, from that ear.

Fortunately, and as most of you know that spend time with him. An outsider would never guess he has hearing loss. In fact, I go days and days forgetting he has this impairment because frankly, he's not impaired. His speech, behavioral and developmental skills are right on par (if not advanced according to me). For months we had an intervention woman come to the house to check in on his progress, track his development and recently she decided her visits were not needed and probably a waste of our time. As Ian was doing just great.

He struggles with spacial location and may have trouble with Marco Polo, or hide and seek as Alex giggles from behind the desk chair. I have to remember to put the phone up to his right ear when he chats, and every day for all his life he will speak on the phone on his right side. We will have to be careful to teach him about crossing the street and REALLY looking both ways as he would not hear a car coming from his left. He'll probably have to sit closer to the front and school. He tends to turn the volume up on the radio and tv louder than necessary, and I'm learning to come to terms with that. The boy LOVES music, and is happiest with a loud bass THUMP in the car. He loves to dance and has remarkable rhythm.

His hearing loss is rare. It's a combination of cochlear and nerve damage. Probably a genetic defect of sorts, and we are not sure if a hearing aid or cochlear implant will help. For now, we monitor his progress and continue to test primarily to ensure that right ear stays 100%. As he gets older his tests become more involved and Friday he had is first successful testing session where he was able to pick up and answer the questions. The doctors were so impressed with his cooperation, his lovely nature and happy personality and spent the entire session giggling at his funniness and were in awe of his speech.

I felt compelled to write about his hearing loss as for the first time in two years, I left his appointment feeling such an overwhelming sense of thanks. I felt blessed that with all the things our kids could be born or afflicted with, THIS is all he had to endure. Sure it will be hard, and we wonder if his little athletic self who was born to play football will be able to hear calls through his football helmet or if he'll hear his carefully picked name 'Ian Patrick Kolmer on the tackle' over the loud speaker. Of course, if he chooses to play Chess, or pick up an instrument we'll be fine with that too. But, as I walked into OHSU, his little self walking next to me, chattering away about his shoes that were 'too tight mom', I felt so thankful.

I saw him looking at the other children. Most of them in wheelchairs. Many of them probably oblivious to our presence, some that couldn't speak or hear at all. We are so lucky. He is so lucky and I hope that he always feels that way. What an amazing reality check I had that day. Two beautiful and healthy children. I think I often take this gift for granted as I complain about tantrums, or 4 year old sassy talk. The 24 hour intense care that some children need and parents of those children tirelessly and relentlessy provide to them is remarkable. The money spent, the sleepless nights, the endless worry they mind was so full as I roamed those halls. My heart so heavy. The next time I feel overwhelmed, I will remember that moment.

Welp, the kids are playing hide and seek now and Ian is wandering around looking for his sister. I'm going to go and point him in the right direction...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I feel a list coming on!

So-as part of my effort to become more 'optimistic' if you will, and to focus on the positive stuff. I'm in true Carrie fashion, making a list. But this time it's not a list of 'to-do's', but a list of 'to-did's'... or something. Basically, instead of lamenting all the things I have yet to do, I'm going to celebrate all I accomplished over this past weekend.

1. I went to dinner with my husband, alone. We shared words without the background sound of a 2 & 4 year old, amongst a very uninhabited restaurant in the Pearl which used to be cool 'back in the day' but is now evidently 'played'. Regardless, it was lovely. Even though we talked about the 'loud kids' that prevent us from talking most of the time.

2. I grocery shopped.

3. I shipped a package I'd been meaning to ship.

4. I finally bought photo mailers for some pics being sent out East.

5. I laundered many loads of laundry, many.

6. I found a receipt I had been hunting for the last 3 weeks so I could return an impulse buy I later regretted.

7. I applied for a new job.

8. I unloaded all the sand from the the kids sandbox. I moved the sandbox, and re-loaded it. Oh, also I re-upholstered the cover and re-stained it for winter.

9. I had brunch with two of my best gals.

10. I spent a gift card at Anthro and only had to pay an extra $2 for my purchases. (a big win)

11. I PLANTED 15 SHRUBS. (a back ache to prove it)

12. I spent some good quality time with the kids and realized that my favorite thing about Ian right now is how he says, 'what are you doing there?' like...'whaaaa doin daaarrrre?'.

12. I swept and vacuumed the entire downstairs twice. Thanks Chip you long time.

13. I (along with Sean) took the kids and my nephew to see 'Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs'. Despite the woman in front of us with the obnoxious guffaw, and the multiple people with Obvious H1N1 surrounding us (sniff sniff, cough cough SNEEZE), it was a good flick and the kids enjoyed it.

14. I cleaned out my purse. And that's a big deal.

15. I went through the kids clothing and pulled out the 'too smalls' and the 'too tattered's'.

16. One day I even took my vitamins, a task I put on my daily 'to do's' and never complete.

So, that's it in a nutshell. Look what I did! And I'm not even thinking about all the stuff I didn't get done. Okay, I am. But I think this was therapy enough for a week.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Da Nu Nu Nu Nu Nu BATMAN!

Maybe we've been super busy with summer events, weddings, and mini weekend trips. Maybe, I have a heavy mind and heart regarding work and life, or maybe I just have been feeling a bit 'un-bloggy' but I realize I have missed the documentation of many things the past few weeks and months. I started this blog with the sole purpose of removing the pang of guilt I have over not writing in the kids baby books, and over not saving their first lock of curls, and not finding the time to artistically organize their photos into a lovely keepsake scrapbook like I did for Alex her first year.

So now that the clouds are rolling in and the rain is imminent, I hereby vow to funnel my seasonal depression into a number of winter projects. First and foremost keeping up on this blog, that I swear I will one day bind into a lovely book for my kids that will either be a successful form of birth control, or will give them an insight into parenthood and their mom that no photo album could. I also plan to make a first year scrapbook for Ian so that one day as most 2nd or 3rd children do (not sure what he'll be) he cannot complain that he was left out, or I didn't treat him the same, or that GASP I don't love him as much because I didn't labor for hours over an over priced album filled with over-priced paper and stickers. I JUST WON'T HAVE THAT. My 3rd and final goal for this winter, is to stop and breathe. I've come to realize I'm always moving too fast, I'm always focused on the next event or project, or PLAN. And apparently, my kids are growing up faster than I can write about it. So this fall, and this winter I'm going to make experiences for them, and us, and me that I can write about. And that will keep me positive and living life despite the drear. Because the drear that envelopes our lovely pacific northwest has a tendency to suck the living spark right out of my soul.

So, on that note- Yesterday, I popped into Target for a few necessities. I had my two kids and my nephew Caden. We were perusing the store, and taking our time when the kids spotted the costume section. OH BOY. It's no secret in our family that these three children are beyond loud. And they did NOT disappoint when they saw three whole aisles of costumes. You would have thought we were at Disneyland and ALL the characters were lined up waiting to meet these kids, or that they were just told they could eat all the candy they wanted all day everyday for the rest of their lives.

Caden's favorite was Darth Vadar, and Alex pleaded incessantly for the Tinkerbell which I assured her we could duplicate with the 1 trillion princess dress ups we had at home. Ian sat silently gazing at all the choices and would point and ask what was what?, who's that? but never got overly excited for anything in particular. I told him he would probably still fit into Yoda from last year as I'm all about saving a buck or 30 these days and for those of you that have perused the costumes, you know that 30 is not an exaggeration.

I assured the kids we had a whole month to decide, and we'd come back after looking through our costume bag at home. Well, this morning Ian graced me with his lovely presence right before I left for work (which I LOVE) as most days I don't get to see the kids until I pick them up from school. And as I finished getting ready, Ian and I shared a conversation.

Ian: Mom, Batman. ME.

Me: You want to be Batman for Halloween?


Me: That would be SO awesome!

( I hum the batman theme song, pick him up and fly him around the room)

Ian: So Awesome.

A few minutes later, he proceeds to tell me how this blanket is his favorite and that the shirt in the closet matches Pop Pop's truck? I can't believe how he talks as it feels like just yesterday he was curled up in a ball on my chest....weighing in at 10 pounds. And now, three times that. He's blowing my mind, warming my heart, and making me ache for my babies. Or lack thereof.

In Alex news, she blew our socks off this weekend when we were at a trip to Oak's Park with friends. Her timid, and slightly neurotic little self marched her 4 year old rear ALL the way up the giant slide ALL BY HERSELF. This shocked me as I was sure she'd get to the top and freak out, or panic, or topple over and fall headfirst down the entire slide, but no. Seeing her march up those stairs with her burlap bag tucked under her arm put me into such a stupor I couldn't even manage to pull out the camera and get proof that this happened. But we have witnesses. It's for real. She sat her lil' bum right down on that bag and the smile on her face as she reached the bottom was priceless. The giant praises and 'high fives' she got from Sean and I, and all our friends followed by this total look of confidence almost made me cry. My baby girls growing up!

So anyway, change of lunch plans today. I was gonna hit the bank but I'm thinking a trip to Target is in order. I do not want them running out of those Batman costumes in Ian's size. $19.99 seems like just pennies in my pocket to make a young boys dreams come true. This Halloween is gonna be AWWWEESSOME!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Just another manic Monday...

After hearing screams, shrieks and tussling from the other room I step in as 'fight breaker upper extroidinaire' and...

Me: Ian, give Alex her princess picture back. (Her most recent art project from school)

Ian: No, It's Trash.

Friday, August 21, 2009

OC, AC, black eyes and cell phones.

Last week, we had the pleasure of spending our vacation in Ocean City, NJ. Like last year, we flew the kids out to spend a fun-filled week with the Kolmer family. We had a glorious time, lounging on the beach, eating and drinking deliciousness and overall catching up with the family we get to see far too little.

The trip started off on a moderately rocky start with a TERRIBLE red eye flight thanks to a young man now referred to as 'Bam Bam'. I've made made an executive decision that we will NEVER fly a red eye again and although it bodes well for small sleeping infants it does not suit one two year old who aside from screaming, throwing his pillow against the heads of the people two rows in front of us, and creating quite a ruckus for 2 1/2 hours has ultimately left me pain stricken from the stress and physical demands of keeping his feet from kicking the seat of the poor fool in front of him. Either that or that fact that he head butted me in the eye on day 4 giving me a black eye has somehow given me a minor case of whiplash or something. A week later, a chiropractor visit and a massage later, I'm still suffering both a migraine and a wrenched neck/back. It pays to play.

The flight home as shown above was MUCH more tame. Ian watched movies, and slept and was a perfect angel.

The only other loss of the week was immediately following the 'red eye from hell' when I lost my beloved iPhone in the Philadelphia airport that resulted in a week of me lamenting my stupidity in a state of cummication withdrawls. So far, the city of brotherly love has not returned it to me. Go figure.

We had many highlights that indeed made up for this including a lovely 'adult only' trip to Atlantic City. Sean and I along with his Brother & Sister and his Cousin and his wife, took a quick 20 minute jaunt to the Atlantic City Tropicana Casino where we shared a lovely dinner, and few (maybe too many) coctails. We had a blast playing slots, the boys threw craps, and the ladies spent a vast majority of the evening making friends with the roulette dealer, a nice (and lucky)women named Theresa who later returned my wallet to me that I left behind and PTA ( a woman who thought we should be A)best friends and B) play only 2 & 4 because we both had 2 and 4 year olds. Well, I passed and she didn't which is probably why I walked away with all my money plus $1 and she left empty handed. Shame.

Later, we moved on to our own private karoake room, compliments of Sean's Cousin Kevin and his big winnings! Thanks Kev, it was a blast!

This trip was much easier as Ian was mobile, active and enjoyed the beach. Last year his nickname was 'sand crab' as he was just learning to walk, and spent the majority of the time eating sand. This time, he could be found leaning up against sand castles and sand pits flirting with the lady toddlers. Near the end of the week, he was even enjoying the water. Alex was much more brave this year, she was swimming, running in the waves and looked like quite the little beach babe. They both LOVED the boardwalk and were old enough to ride the bumper cars, together, alone.

We had ice cream, witnessed an amazing thunder storm, had two great dinners with his extended family (aunts, uncles & cousins) and Alex had her first lobster tail and hated it.

One night, we went out for pizza at a popular pizza joint called 'Mack and Mancos'. The pizza is huge and flat and awesomely greasy. Ian or 'BAM BAM', helped himself to two pieces and after taking the first bite said, 'I LIKE IT!' it the hugest, monster growl voice. He had everyone laughing (of course) and saying 'I Like it!' all week long.

Overall, it was an amazing week, like all vacations it left us tired, wanting more, and dreading our return to the real world and work...BUT it was awesome and fun, and a great opportunity to take a break from our otherwise hectic lives and spend some good time with family and our kids. Thanks to all the Kolmers for your hospitality, for your company, for some of you taking the time off work to spend time with us, we can't wait for next time!

I obviously posted a few pics, but more are posted on our photo website:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I'm finally at a point where I can talk about it.

So, I'm not sure where to begin. I do need to start by saying that after 4 years of parenting and after 2 years of parenting two, no day has pushed me further or harder than yesterday. I also understand that my last few posts are down right depressing and I fear that any readers out there may assume that A) I hate parenting and B) our life is a total chaotic mess. Well, neither are true and I promise that coming right up will be a giant, lovely post filled with happy memories, moments and funnies as we just had an amazing fun-filled vacation week.

A few months back, a good friend of ours was over for dinner and after several hours of hanging out and letting his wife kind of pick up the parenting slack, he said, 'I'm going to go ahead and grade myself a D in parenting tonight'. We all laughed and ever since Sean and I have used this grading system to rate our days with the kids. Now, obviously we have many days were we feel like A and B parents...but yesterday, I get a big F for Fail. I was not patient, I was not kind, I was not understanding or sympathetic. It was one of those days where I went to bed sad that my one day home with the kids, 'our special day' was tainted and ruined and it would be another 4 days before I'd have the opportunity to make up for it again.

We returned home from vacation late Saturday night (blog to follow I have to aire some dirty laundry first). Sunday was a long, tiring and frustrating day. We were all tired, jet-lagged, and we had a house to clean, loads of laundry to wash, and not a lick of food in the house. We took care of bidness on Sunday and I was looking forward to a calm, restful, and relaxing Monday home with the kids. I even thought, HEY, we'll go to the Zoo! Well, the stars were not aligned, it must have been a full moon and I don't know what I did but Karma was after me.

I woke up with a headache. In fact, I've woken up with a headache for the past 3 days. Ever since I had that first 'vacation is over, I have to go back to work' thought my back has been stiff, my neck a tight wound ball of nerves and the feeling of stabbing knives has burrowed right there in between my eyeballs. Now it could also be the result of Ian ramming his face into my cheekbone last week leaving me with a black eye, but I don't want to blame him as he's already in big big trouble.

Our day went a little something like this:

  • I stumbled down to the coffee pot and washed down an excederin migraine.
  • I fight my headache and allow the chitlens to watch Caillou.
  • I get the kids dressed and encourage Ian to pee on the pottie. After getting him down from the toilet, he pee's on the floor.

  • Kids fight like bloody hell for 1 hour over Barbie shoes. After putting Barbie thingsaway, I find them in a nasty tug of war over a book neither of them have touched in a year. Do I calmly detour them to another activity, oh no. I lose my temper and send them outside.

  • I manage to unload the dishwasher and moments later I hear the screams. I peek out the kitchen window to find Ian flooding the sandbox with the hose. They are both covered head to toe in wet sand. I briefly wonder why I had children, then clean them up and return inside.

  • I take another excederin, lean against the fridge and rub my temples when suddenly I'm standing in water. Ian is holding the hose once again up against the toyroom screen and is flooding the entire room. My brand new bamboo floors are soaked.
  • One hour and a half later, I have finished wet/dry vacuuming the room, mopping, and soaking up the water. I make lunch and we all go for a 2 1/2 hour nap.
  • We rise from the dead, me in a horrible stupor as I'm a terrible napper. My head feels mildly better and I manage to make a few phone calls as apparently, my kids are playing quietly in the other room. While on the phone with the doctor, I peek around the corner to find Alex and Ian with my boxes and boxes of partylite candles strewn about the entire room. In each of their little hands, a candle which they have been using to DRAW. ALL. OVER. MY. COUCH. WITH.

  • I lose my cool, and ask my 2 and 4 year old what I ever did to them.
  • Alex pee's on the floor as she's 'too scared to go to the bathroom alone'. The result of a serious 'freak out' while on vacation (more to come).
  • Ian decides Chip Chip needs more food and breaks the lid off the food dispenser and fills his water bowl, yes WATER bowl with food. I gag, soggy food floating in waterdoes not do it for me.
  • I throw in the towel, literally. I throw the kitchen towel. What happened next, I'm not even sure. I may have even blacked out a little. Reached maximum capacity or something. I'm not sure what happened between 4-6 but we made it, unscathed.

I've been trying to take challenges and stresses and shed some positive light on them. I brainstormed for several minutes trying to find some good in my day. Did I learn something? YES, I learned that the free microfiber cleaner I rec'd with my couch really does remove everything including wax. I also learned that half of my kitchen dishtowels do not absorb water. I also came up with a potential money making invention regarding child proofing outdoor hose nozzles. Win win right?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

An instant Mood Enhancer

I swear, at the very minute I feel like I'm too tired to go on, or my laundry list of things to do is so vast I want to burn the list, Alex says something so funny and turns my frown right upside down.

Last night, we pulled into the driveway and she noticed a yellow slip of paper on the front door. I think 'eviction notice?, NO-I think I paid the mortgage'. She says, 'Mom, it's a very important message just for us! It must be from God!' I died. Just as I stopped laughing at her, she shows up next to me, paper in hand and a disappointed look on her face. She points to the picture of a bird on the paper and says, 'No Mom, I was wrong. It's from the zoo.' Really? It was advertising for a roof cleaning company but I humored her and said, 'Yes, a personal invitation-we'll make sure to go to the zoo REAL soon.

Summer has been busy. I have a million blogs in action but no resolution. Maybe in October sometime things will calm down...until then. Just a piece of humor.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Everything, FAIL

For those of you that are on the opposite side of the political fence than I, I apologize for this image. I couldn't resist. Please take solace in the fact that the last week, I have been punished enough for this slandering behavior.

It's true what they say, that everything comes in three's. Although, I have yet to convince that that applies to kids as well. I believe it was last Thursday when things started to one by one go to hell. It started with my trip home from the gym. I decided to be 'pro-active' and stop at the gas station to avoid having to do it on the way in to work the next day. I pulled in, turned the car off and proceeded to check facebook while I filled up. I thanked the gas attendant, took my receipt and attempted to start the car. No. Nothing. Not even a dash light flickered, not even a pathetic attempt of the car turning over. Car battery, FAIL.

The battery was so dead, it wouldn't allow me to even put my over-electric car into Neutral so I could be 'pushed out of the way' as that was obviously the gas attendants biggest concern. I did what any girl would do, I called my dad. He assured me he was on my way. I stepped out of the car, all sweaty and gross and asked around for jumper cables. I found a gentlemen who offered to help. After TWENTY minutes the car, finally sputtered to life. That's when said 'gentlemen' requested payment of $10 for his service. When I said I did not have any cash, but 'thank you so much for your help', he offered to accept dinner, or two babies. Ew, gross. "Thank You Sir, BYE".

The evening escalated with Alex waking up at 11pm throwing up all over her room. Child's health, FAIL. When I mean, all over I am not exaggerating. I was cleaning vomit from her bookshelf, her wool pottery barn rug and picture frames. After cleaning that up, and getting her settled I proceeded to lay in bed in anticipation of the next vomit. One sleepless night, and it never came.

The next morning, we woke to water all over our garage floor. Hot Water Heater, FAIL. Thankfully, Sean stayed home with the kids (Alex being sick) and him and my dad had a new one installed by the time I got home. $458 dollars poorer, with the upside being we can finish washing the puke sheets.

Saturday, Sean spent the majority of the day tearing apart are 1 year old gas mother ship grill. Grill, FAIL. Maybe maybe, due to ownership error, WE failed to clean it properly and it lit on fire. Short of burning down our house, we doused it with water and broke a few of the elements. Owners, FAIL. Sean also replaced my car battery so cross your fingers y'all we are in good working order and are HOPING that that's it, for awhile.

Monday, June 29, 2009

7 Years and counting...

Sean and I celebrated our 7 year anniversary on June 29th. We got a babysitter, went out and enjoyed a quiet dinner and than paid an obscene amount of money to see a movie. We probably paid $5 to see a movie when we first began and now, 11 years later we had to practically take out a second mortgage on our house to see a flick.

Regardless, it was a great night. We saw 'The Hangover' which is superbly hilarious (if you like this kind of thing, which we do). We laughed incessantly, and left with sore faces.

I think I'll take this opportunity to say that after 7 years, I'd still say 'I do'. Sean and I (i think) are the best darn teammates in this ride we call life. We love our little family, and we love love each other. I'm very proud of us, I'm proud of the kids we are raising and the life we are leading. I'm proud that each year we grow and learn about each other, I'm proud that we still have a hell of a lot of fun together even on a weekend where the highlight is cleaning up vomit, and I'm just so darn proud he's my husband.

To many more years, and to many more memories. Happy Anniversary Sean!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Just Breathe

So, two weekends ago (i think) I've lost track... we went to the Rose Festival on a Friday night to hear one of my co-workers play. As we were walking down to the waterfront with kids in tow a man across the street from us was blaring his boom box. He walked the four blocks one street across from us and we enjoyed his music, and laughed, and felt like we were in some sort of movie. Sean said, 'This is so sweet, it's what it would feel like to have your own theme music'. Kind of like Entourage or something, we obviously weren't as cool with our stroller and snack bag, and sippy cups being thrown into the street. But close enough right? I always kind of have a theme song, a song I play incessantly to get me through. Right now it's Anna Nalick's 'Just Breathe'. Take a's a goodie. It's helping me through right now as I sort of feel like I'm running this marathon and my legs are really cramping and they are tired and I can no longer take a deep breath, but if I stop running...I'll never get going again.

We've been very busy the last few weeks. We've had birthdays galore, Alex turned 4, and Sean 31! Family events, a yard to get in shape, a body I am REALLY trying to get back in shape, a baby shower to organize, a million and one things to do at work, a dog to walk and apparently a floor I now have to sweep each night thanks to both Chip Chip/his damn black hairs, and Ian our resident food flinger.

I'm in the midst of fiscal close at work which has been intense and brain numbing in fact, today I believe I was talking to myself or God in the car thanking him for sparing me an anxiety attack I was sure to hit at any moment today. I then proceeded to write a list while driving home with tasks like put 7 loads of laundry away, order a carpet cleaning service, blog the kids funnies, make dentist appointments, pay our bills, and oh yeah...breathe. I also included 'mail thank you notes' even though I had already done that so I could immediately cross it off because that just makes me feel like I'm being productive.

Due to my hectic work schedule, Sean stayed home with the kids Monday. I came home to two amazingly happy kids who had spent a lovely day at the zoo. Alex ran up to me and said, 'Mom, I had the GREATEST day'. I was so happy. Happy the were happy, happy to be home, and happy dinner was on the table and I didn't make it. Then I got sad. I got sad because they don't run to Sean on Monday afternoons with that sort of excitement! No, 'DAD, we had the best day today' Why? Because I spend those days running errands, grocery shopping, doing laundry and cleaning house. What fun for them eh? All part of my master plan to live more often in the moment and make each moment with them fun. Trying always to find that perfect life balance that seem so hard to master. It always seems that succeeding in one aspect of life results in a slip in another. Well, somethings gotta go because, apparently I'm no fun.

So with that, here I am blogging the kids funnies. Because when I'm done, I get to cross that one off my list too!

Recently, in true Alex fashion (who is a walking accident) she began to cry and when asked what was wrong she replied, 'Mommy, I stubbed my eye'. Really? I died laughing, how do you stub your eye...truly.

Her and I were in Target last week and while perusing the garden section, we happened upon a yard gnome. She asks, 'Mom, is that god?' HaHa, no sweetie. It is not.

Tonight at dinner, I asked Ian to finish his peas. He replied, 'Why?'. That alone cracks me up that he gets this concept already. A few seconds later after nobody answered him he said, 'Cuz?'

Ian is saying SO MUCH all of a sudden. He's stringing two and three words together. He still refers to Alex as Ack. This new found vocabulary is making him very particular. He's able to tell me now that he'd like his drink on the couch while he watches a show and he doesn't want his 'buddy' but his blanket with his meal. Tonight he wandered around asking for Pop Pop and his boat. While most kids learn a word like 'no' and use it, always. Ian really understand when No or Yes will work to his benefit. He understands that when asked if he'd like to sit in time out for hitting, he says 'Yes', and then he'll march over to that bottom step of the stairs, sit down, say 'sowry', and then say 'Agin'? Which means, he'd like to try again.

Both kids have jumped right on board with Chip's training and tell him to Sit, Wait, Down, & Treat? They both take it very seriously...and I do believe Chip listens first to Sean, then to Alex, Ian and finally myself. He's quickly learned I'm the pushover in the family. He's chewed up a sippy cup, a multitude of stuffed animals, my new lounge chair, one pair of expensive Stride Rite shoes, and the kids swimming pool. Oh, and the inside of our tent. He's had worms, and is now being treated for Mites and has now cost us enough to prevent Sean from golfing ever, this summer. And because we bought a horrifically expensive dog de-shedding comb that clearly DOES NOT WORK, I've revoked Sean's coffee shop expenditures. No need for 'I told you so's'. We love him nonetheless. For now.

It's really no wonder I was caught digging through the cart of clearance booze this last weekend at Safeway, going home with two $4.20 bottles of martini wine things...that were 75% off last marked price and earning the nickname 'Boones' by Sean. We do what we can to survive.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Happy 4th Birthday Alex

Dear Alex,

I still think that someday, I'm going to bind all these entries and give them to you for your Highschool graduation. Or maybe I'll give it to you as a wedding gift when you technically are not our property anymore because surely, I will not allow you to date until your 25, and I may allow you to move in with a female roommate at 26 when I have completed your homeschooling in both highschool and college. I can't believe my little girl is growing up.

So today, on your 4th birthday I must say how quickly the last 4 years have flown. It feels like just yesterday you were handed to me in a burrito wrap with a cone head and goop in your eyes, with scratches on your little face and I first fell in love with you. Eight weeks later when you stopped screaming around the clock, and I rec'd more than 3 hours of consecutive sleep I fell in love with you again and again every single day since.

Tonight at dinner I glanced at you across the table and found a speck of Asparagus spear on your cheek. I didn't say anything, but moments later I caught you cross eyed. Obviously this speck was in your realm of vision. Your dad soon noticed and for a few brief moments we watched you twist your head and squint your eyes. You then said, 'Dad, is there sumthin on my nose?' Well, we both just cracked up. You make us laugh every single day and in a good way.

Because I didn't keep this blog when you were a baby, I wanted to document a brief re-cap of your first 4 years.

You were born May 19th, 2005 at 4:57 pm. You weighed 8 lbs 3oz and were 21.5 inches long. You had Colic just like your dad did and cried for 8 long weeks, but we loved you anyway or maybe more because of it. One day you stopped crying and ever since, you haven't stopped smiling.

Your major milestons: You first smiled at 2 months old, you laughed at 3 months, and at 4 1/2 months you slept for an 8 hour stretch. At 5 months you rolled from your tummy to your back and at 6 months from your back to your tummy. At 7 1/2 months you were sitting on your own and got your first teeth! At 10 months, you were crawling, saying Mama & Dada, and Nodding Yes or No. You walked at 13 months and at 23 1/2 months you put your first poo in the pottie rather than those diapers you loved so much.

Your favorite toy EVER was the Johny Jump where you spent the majority of your time LEAPING at alarming heights in the doorways around the house. Your first words include Mama, Dada, Whoa, UH OH, Ball, Was Dat?, Amen, Dee Doo (thank you), ganks (thanks) and Pee Boo (Peek a Boo).

Your first song was Old McDonald Had a Farm which you could only mutter, 'E-I-O' following moments later was always a soft whisper of 'Hooorse, or Cow'. You called PopPop 'Da Bop Bop' until you were two, and at 23 months had several full sentences including 'I don't want a bruddy' when you learned of a new brother on the way.

My lulu- you make me smile and laugh everyday. It's been amazing watching you grow and change and learn. I'm so thankful to have you as my daughter and can't wait for the many years to come. I do hope that the next time I write you a birthday blog, you don't pop your head over the stairway banister when you should be in bed, and I hope that that naughty talk you've had lately goes away and that I don't actually 'get what I deserve' in your teenage years. I'm signing off, I have to go supervise your dad who's putting together your new big girl Barbie Bike with handle bar tassles, flower pedals, and purple training wheels. Your gonna LUV it, but well-you did make it clear, perfectly clear which bike you HAD to have now didn't you. Happy Happy Birthday Sweet girl.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

These are a few of our favorite things...

Ian saying "Uuuuummmmm." Before answering any question.

Alex referring to people as 'Humans'.

Alex calling a flyer left by a yard maintenance company an 'email'.

Every single word that Ian mutters and repeatedly says, just because he knows he can.

Ian commanding Chip Chip with 'Sip Sip, Wait' or 'Sip Sip, Siiiit'.

Watching the two learn to play together, nicely.

Alex's fascination with building forts and then reading to herself for long periods of time inside.

Our dance parties.

Alex's love for hip hop beats.

Alex's curiosity and confusion about God, and her millions of questions about why he created this or that.

In a strange way, Ian's temper tantrums where he loses it for a moment throwing anything he can see or find and then immediately carrying on as if nothing happened.

Ian's complete love and adoration for Pop Pop.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I still, choose them

Last week was challenging. We received word that Nike layoffs were finally beginning, I had Alex's birthday party to think about, logistics of having the kids and dog cared for while Sean and I took a night away, and my daycare was closed and a new sitter was watching the kids for the 3 days. By Thursday night, I was done. After a long, stressful day at work I came home to two grumpy crabby crying kids and truly, all I wanted to do was crawl in my bed and hibernate.

After getting through the evening and another gruelling day at work Sean and I were off to Seattle to see the Red Sox-Mariners game. I booked an amazing room at The W Hotel (thanks United miles). This was Sean's birthday gift and he was pumped! I was really trying to be. I was looking forward to the break, the peace in the car without two kids in the back with needs, but I was exhausted. I probably yawned near 1 million times on the way down. About halfway there, and thanks to the I-5 bridge, and some real crappy Tacoma traffic it was a long drive, I perked up. Darn it, I'm going to enjoy this. Sean and I have had maybe 2 other overnights without the kiddos, there's no time to be tired!

It's always a little odd to be in the car without Alex & Ian, or to be walking around a city without a stroller and diaper bag. To sit at a table for two and be handed only the regular menu? No crayons? Traffic was horrible so our sit down dinner plans were bagged and we hurried to the stadium for a hot dog, garlic fries and the yummiest $9 beers...eva.

Despite having one of THE most annoying fans sitting directly behind us, who NEVER stopped running his mouth about whatever, The game was good, even though Boston lost. On the way back to the hotel, it started:

Sean: "I wish Alex was here, she woulda loved this!"

Me: "I wonder if Chip is ok, I hope he doesn't think we abandoned him"

We missed our kids and our dog. We made sure to grab PINK cotton candy for Alex and then stared longingly at all the people who were walking hand in hand with their kids.

Sean: " I love it love it love it! All these kids staying up all late to watch a sporting event!"

We are suckers.

As crazy and busy as life is, and no matter how tired I am I still don't think I've hit the point where I could leave my little peeps for longer than a weekend and truly enjoy myself because when I'm not with them, something is missing. After four years, and after four hundred moments where I didn't think I could keep going, I still choose them. I choose the hectic, crazy, scheduling nightmare that is my life at times, anytime.

Sean and I had a great time though, and with just one little night away we came back feeling refreshed and renewed in our parenting life. We had a chance to talk without interruption, sleep in until 8, and woke up to the sound of our internal clocks, not the dog whining, Ian chattering, or even worse the BEEP BEEP BEEP of our alarm clocks!

A huge, monstrous thank you to my parents who watched the kids all day Friday per usual, and kept them overnight, and well into Saturday. Big Kudos to My mom, broken arm and all-who always goes above and beyond to make sure we get peace & quiet breaks. It was truly needed, and not just to rest our bodies and our soul, but to bring perspective to what's truly important.

We were on the road home by 10am, Sean talking about picking up our babies, and me frantically listing in the car of what needed to be accomplished that day. Back to the real world we go....

Sunday, May 3, 2009


At the dinner table tonight...

Alex: "Look at my Gigantic Bite!"

(a chuckle from mom & dad that she used gigantic)

Sean: "Where did you learn that word?"

Alex: "Daaaad, it's just what you say when something is really really big."

While Shopping...

Alex: "Mom, why did God create stores?"

Carrie: "Um.....(stammer stammer). Well, so that his creations had clothes to wear. We
wouldn't want everyone walking around naked would we?

Alex: "You mean like in the apple garden?"

Carrie: "Well, yes."

Alex: "So why do we wear clothes?"

Carrie: "I don't know."

Alex: "Oh."

After a walk with the dog...

Alex: "Mom, Chip barked at two of the big big dogs! But he didn't bark at the human."

Monday, April 27, 2009

We've gooooone and dun it.

You've got it folks, we've gone and dun it. Maybe against popular vote, maybe we are gluttons for punishment or suckers, and maybe we've tipped the hat on our already full plate here but it's true. We are now 'Kolmer, party of five'.

Let me introduce to you Chip. He's approximatley 60lbs, although he still considers himself a lap dog. We adopted him from a shelter in Hood River over the weekend. They believe he's half boxer and half Border Collie.

I'm not quite sold on his name, and instead have taken to calling him 'Dog', or 'Shelter Puppy'. He has a bit of a shaky background which has made it all the more rewarding during this adoption process. He was bought for a farm in Odell, OR to be a guard dog. He was never given a name, never allowed indoors, and was never fed. Him and his farm buddy Dakota were left to their own devices which explains 3 healing wounds he has due to a run in with a goose. The local police ended up fining the farm owners and instead of paying the fees for animal neglect they turned both dogs in to a nearby shelter.

He's spent the last 3 weeks in a foster home, learning how to be a real dog. He knows his commands, sit, down, off and is great at coming when called. You can tell he is so eager to please and is truly such a sweet boy.

I'm happy to say I've had just two anxiety attacks so far! I have that feeling when you realize your having another baby and you get that wave of 'OH MY GOSH, the responsiblity! WHAT HAVE WE DONE!?!? Last night I found a dog hair on the cutting board and a wave of panic washed over me and I wondered if I could truly handle this 'dog hair sitch'. "I think I can I think I can!" My Dyson will be working overtime I'm sure, and truly all I do is clean up around here so really I figure 'what's new'?

Enjoy some pics of our new family member!

Don't mind me, making myself right at home on this here Pottery Barn chair.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Generation to Generation

We just had an amazingly fun Easter weekend. For the first year, Alex enjoyed dying eggs and Ian was able to participate in the egg hunt. I was able to explain to Alex that above the eggs, the candy and the special gift left by the Easter Bunny...the weekend and family time spent together was to celebrate the birth of our Jesus Christ. I had some 'full circle' moments the last few days, as Oprah might say.

For the first year, I held Easter dinner at my house. I felt both the joy and the burden of that. The joy of entertaining family in my home and having my grandparents gush over how well I've decorated. What great work I've done...And being able to take that responsibility from them and now my own Parents. Also the burden of the cleaning, the organizing and the 'how am I going to seat 20 people' at my Fred Meyer clearance dining room table. We made do.

Another amazing realization I had is regarding the two below photos. One of my favorite pastimes and the reason for both this blog and the massive amount of pictures I send out is looking through my mom's old photographs. In nearly each book, there is a picture of myself, my sisters and all my cousins all lined up on the couch like sardines. Usually the couch was orange/brown crushed velvet and the youngest was always trying to make a mad dash. We were always happy, happy to be together, happy to be young. Oh them's were the days.

So here they are. The next generation, all lined in a row. We are missing Caden here but surely there are many more of these to come, I'm just a bit disappointed that the couch isn't a little more obnoxious...for old times sake.

Ava 4 & Isabella 5, Alex 4 (almost), Ian 1 1/2, & Jake 11. I feel so fortunate to be so close to my Aunt who's kids are near in age to mine. Everytime we get together which is not often enough, these kids just have a blast.

The bad news is, I may need a new couch as the brood is growing. Here's me & Kayelyn snuggling up with the new baby on the way. I can't wait to meet him! I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter and was able to enjoy time with loved ones. In trying times such as these, it's all that matters.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Day at the Zoo...or not.

I'm going to take this opportunity on this cloud filled day where we are expected to see hail, thunder showers and not a spec of blue above to talk about the sun and warmness. Oh how I love thee.

Two weeks ago, Oregon witnessed a miracle of sorts. 2-3 days of cloud free, rain free, awesome'ness.

It was in the 70's for DAYS. It was seriously a big deal. After a long, dreary, depressing winter I think the entire Portland Metropolitan area was ecstatic. People were mowing their yards, washing their cars, filling parks and WAIT FOR IT......wearing shorts.

The Kolmers were not any different this lovely weekend. I dug out short sleeves, even applied sunscreen to the kids and could literally feel my inner self awaking from the dead. For those of you that don't know I suffer from this annoying little thing called SAD and truly, that's what it makes me. SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder strips me of my spunk, my motivation and makes me hella tired. My body, my soul and my entire being thrive in sun and warm climate. So let's just say I was a happy momma this weekend.

We decided to take the kids and my nephew Caden to the Zoo. Little did I know that everyone and I mean EVERYONE would have the same idea. As we approached the parking lot that was marked with a "LOT FULL" sign, we knew we were in for it. You had to park a mile away, stand in line for a shuttle to be dropped off and stand in ANOTHER line that circled the parking lot. UH...NO. Sean and I looked at each other with the same plea of 'Please, no.' I turned to face the three giddy faces in the back that had been promised all morning of this trip and asked them how they felt about going to the park instead. I waited for an onslaught of cries, and whines, and 'I wanted to see the PENGUINS's', but it didn't happen. They all kinda looked at each other and with their toddler understanding and silent communication they all cheered. YEAH! It was settled. We headed to the Washington Park Play structure and had a great time. Later we took the kids home and made them help wash cars....It was a great day.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Whole Foods, a whole lotta misery.

For nearly four years, I've sworn up and down I would never, EVER opt for the grocery store cart with the car or fire engine or other large toy tacked to the front of the grocery cart. Never, not me. I'd eye parents with pity as they tried to maneuver the monstrosity through the aisles, making their wide turns and sacrificing their dignity for the happiness of their obviously spoiled rotten kids.

I think all parents or expectant parents better yet find it so easy to judge as they witness temper tantrums at the restaurant, or they see a parent dragging their child by the arm kicking and screaming, or running through the aisles of the grocery store with a box of Cocoa Pebbles in their arms. 'My kids will never mis-behave like that', I used to say. Well. If I could eat my words now, I'd be stuffed.

I was blessed by Alex with a shopper. The girl LOVES to shop. She could sit in a cart for hours, her stroller? All day. We'd stroll the mall, I'd leisurely grocery shop with a long list while we chatted. And then I had Ian and my whole life changed. Saturday, Sean as he often does took Alex out for a date. They went to see the new movie 'Monsters & Aliens'. I thought, hey what a better opportunity to have some Mommy/Ian time. Yes, this was needed after a long hectic week, we'll bond! First a quick trip to the grocery store for some necessities.

It was raining, I pulled Ian from the car and covered him with my jacket as I ran to the door. I went to place him in the cart and he threw the hugest, back arching, screaming, flailing fit. Physically, sometimes Ian overpowers me. I literally could not get his feet through the leg holes. I was struggling, getting soaked and beginning to panic. I was embarrassed. I was 'that' mom. The one with the unruly child blocking everyone else from getting their cart as I struggled to move along with mine.

I gave up. I took Ian back to the car. Set him in his seat and scolded him. I gave him my most intimidating look I could muster. The eyes could have burned Alex to tears. But Ian? No. I told him we would sit here until he calmed down, he was very naughty and he hurt my feelings! I waited 4-5 minutes as he settled down, said he was 'soooowry' and we were able to try again. As we approached the shopping carts AGAIN, he pointed to it. It was a large, toy car plastered to the front of an already large cart. I not only saw it's 'vastness', but the colony of germs, drool, and food remnants smeared all over it's interior. Ew, gross.

'Pease', he said. He pointed to it, he grinned. And I did what I swore I never would. I placed him in the front of this tractor trailer. He smiled, I took his picture (see above) as he was so happy. And we were on our way. I made it two aisles before he realized that his car had windows. With a quick swipe of his arm 20-30 bottles of Karo Syrup went rolling out into the aisle. I'm already taking up the majority of the aisle, I'm already self conscious, I'm already humiliated and now I'm picking up syrup bottles as Ian swipes powdered sugar onto the floor. I look around and people are looking at me with that same pity I used to dish out, I'm humbled and then Ian begins to scream. He throws another royal fit, now trapped in his car and belted in the entire cart begins to shake. I'm in hell.

We're done. I'm done, he's done. I have what I most needed. I take the wide corner to approach the checkout and find it's packed. With no room for this car to even 'BE' in line without blocking the main aisle I see people looking at me, 'what a nightmare child' I read their minds. 'Poor lady, you should need an IQ test to have children', I imagine they are thinking. Then I did what any panicked mom on the verge of freaking out does. I pulled Ian from the car and ran. To my car. Without my groceries.

I later took Alex to Albertsons where the power went out 5 times and my groceries had to be re-scanned 3 times. When Alex asked me in the pitch black of the grocery store, 'What's going on mom?' My only response was, 'Well, the universe is against me and for some reason it's telling me I can't buy food'. 'Oh'. She said.

I imagine that as Ian approaches two, these moments will be more frequent. I want to apologize to all the moms & dads that I judged before. I'm sure your all wonderful parents who were having a horrible moment where your possessed child became bigger than you. I'm sure you felt as I did, wanting to swat your childs rear in the freezer section but restrained in fear of being accused of child abuse. I'm sure that you really would have preferred to NOT be pushing the giant car cart, I'm sure you would have rather been me all kidless and self entitled. I'm truly bracing myself for the next year. I'm upping my visits to the gym, I'm lifting again in hopes I become strong. Strong enough to next time, fight Ian down into the cart. That is, if he's ever invited back to the grocery store with me again.