Monday, November 15, 2010

All I want for Christmas is...

I thought it would be fun, to sit down with the kids and write out their Christmas lists together. Thanks to Target, who sent out their gift catalog a few weeks back, I've been hearing these things for days and days and days. SO. I thought it could be fun to take turns asking them back and forth items they want to write on their list this year to see if they fed off each others wants. Turns out, they did.

Dear Santa,

A: American Girl Doll (Lanie) and her clothes. Let me add that she wants this a)from Santa and b)it's astronomically priced and c)when I told her that Santa could only give each child one gift she said she promises the rest will be 'cheap'. I'm currently in negotiations with Santa to splurge for the American Girl Doll, or buy her the knockoff from Costco for $80 less.

I: Woody (Toy Story)

A: Jesse (Toy Story) and Bullseye (no idea who that is)

I: "I waaaaaaannnt Golf Clubs. Big golf clubs and I can swing dem weary hawrd!" It's already in the bag, pun intended.

A: Art Supplies, painting, and coloring book

I: A Buzz Bike with the backpack

A: A two wheel scooter. Apparently, her 3 wheeled scooter is so last year.

I: Pet Giraffe. I did not tell him how unlikely that was. But tomorrow he will have surely forgotten.

A: "I want a Barbie a house, but don't write it down! Nanna is going to get it"

I: Ian stammers, asks what Santa can make. Alex tells him ANYTHING HE WANTS. He can think of nothing. Except Santa Clause has a big mustache.

A: Toy purse (?)

I: " I like Yeggos (Lego's) but not the BIG KIND", he screams. Because those are for babies?

A: Zoobs. I tell Alex I have NO idea what that is and she tells me to google it. TIMES ARE CRAZY. My 5 year old is telling me to google it. So I do and learn it's some 21st century Lego contraption, or something.

I: Ian has lost interest and left the room.

A: New Jammie's

Now I ask the big time question, 'What do you have to do for Santa to bring you something from your list'.

A: Stay in your bed

I: Say Please

I then proceeded to intitated the 'It's close enough to Christmas to start using Santa as collateral' window and after they started a pillow fight across my lap threatened to end the typing with a 'JUST KIDDING SANTA, we've been bad girls and boys.'

The fighting stopped.

For that and other reasons, like it's now socially acceptable to watch National Lampoons Christmas vacation and eat candy canes, I love this time of year. If only the sun was shining and and the days were not just 6 hours long. Which leads me to my list for Santa: DAYLIGHT. Or, a sun lamp and a lifetime supply of Vitamin D.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Final Score: 1-0 PARENTS. Good one Carrie, good one.

Do you ever have one of those days (or in my case, one of those weeks) where you find yourself literally throwing your hands up in the air like, 'C'MON WORLD', or shaking your head incessantly at the level of stupidity you encounter? Even if it's your own?

If not, good for you. If so, you may appreciate the following moments of near insanity I encountered this week.

1. I witnessed a nose-picking woman almost rear-end the car in front of her because surely the back of her hand was blocking her view. When she did what everyone does and quickly spun her head in 360 degrees to see who saw her, I made glaring eye contact with her and held it for as long as I possibly could before I put myself at risk for rear ending someone as well. Pick your nose at home, just because you're within your car does not mean people can't see you. And why is cell phone usage prohibited but nose picking is not?

2. I burned a hole in my new black patent leather work shoes on the space heater I rely on for warmth and the will to live for 8 hours a day. Also, I may have burned my foot a little too.

3. I participated in an impromptu scrimmage with Alex's soccer team at their last practice IN my burnt patent leather work shoes where I (way too competitive I'm learning) scored the only goal and had to HOLD MYSELF BACK to score 10 more. Nice, parents win 1-0. Why did I never get the memo that you should always let the kids win? Raised eyebrows and looks of disappointment from other parents, DULY NOTED.

4. Alex's soccer pictures came back with MY name all over the trading cards and team photo. Maybe it was a fluke? Or maybe the universe is playing a dirty trick on me for single handedly beating six 5 year olds in 3 on 3, no goalie soccer. I'm relying on the hope that it was an error on THEIR behalf and that I did not fill the form out incorrectly. HEAD SHAKE HEAD SHAKE.

In other news, for those of you concerned, I have an Alex update to follow up my last post where I described her as a crazy, exorcist needing lunatic. She is none of those things, and is actually doing much better. She's turned a corner mostly I believe in desperation for the pillow pet of her choice if she can keep up the positive attitude. It's working, for now.

Her and I had a series of funny exchanges yesterday on the way home from soccer practice that had me repeating the conversation into my iPhone voice memo recorder. Thank goodness for that, or I'd never remember a thing. They went a little something like this:

Alex: Mom, why do we salute the flag each morning?

I went into a long drawn out speech about America, the land of the free, the home of the brave. And how despite what she hears on whatever news show we may be listening to we do live in a wonderful country where we can do (within reason) whatever we please (as long as it is within the law and not violating any traffic signs). I told her that it is not the case for all countries. So we salute our flag and give honor to all those that keep us free.

Alex: So, in like...India. Can they drive when they want? Or do they have to ask the Police?

Me: Uhhhhhh

Alex: And, do they have cars? Or do they ride camels? Wait, they must walk and drive sand bikes because there is a lot of sand over there.

Sand bikes?

Before I had a chance to answer she jumps into...

Alex: Mom, is Nanna gonna love the play-doh thing I made her?

Me: Yes, she loves everything that you make her.

Alex: Yes, Nanna's love everything and everybody. Even grandsons.

And this time I throw my hands up and thank god for her, because she is just cooler than Bee's Knee's, or whatever the saying is.

Me: Alex, I love you. (I glance in my rearview mirror to find her picking her nose) And in America, picking your nose is not allowed. Especially in cars.

I know that she won't be driving for 11 more years, but who knows. Maybe I just saved a life.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Heebie Jeebies: A feeling of minor fright, anxiety, nervousness, apprehension, 'the willies'.

I think we all have something, maybe multiple somethings that send shivers up our spine. The sight of something invokes a physical reaction to our bodies and the feeling can stick with us for hours.

For my mom, it's things with crevices. Anything bulbous (like insect egg sacks), or with holes (like a beehive) will send her in a panic, she'll look away, she'll shudder. My sister is the same. A good friend of mine has an overwhelming fear of spiders, and Alex hates the dark. Sean has a fear of heights. One of my best girlfriends from high school will gag at the sight of soggy bread in the sink.

I have several things that give me the heebie jeebies:

1. Toothbrushes touching in a toothbrush holder
2. The sound of Dogs licking themselves
3. Giant spiders, the ones that crunch when you smash them
4. I'm ashamed to admit this, and I'm not proud...but Midgets.
5. Sitting down on a warm seat, that wasn't warmed by me
6. Hearing the words 'slacks' or 'moist'.

*There are more, but I'll spare you my weirdness.

And last night, my list grew.

Alex insisted her babies sleep ALL TOGETHER, in my room, 1.5 feet from my bed in this over-crowded formation. Their eyes are all open people. God bless Gabriella (lower right) who turned her head away. She was my best doll as a child, after 28 years she still treats me right.

So what are YOU afraid of?

Friday, October 8, 2010

I love her so much, even though...

Yesterday, my mom said to me, 'I wish all of your kids had the temperment of Ian'. And I laughed, because 1)I only have two kids so 'all' means Alex & Ian and excluding Ian leaves Alex. ha. 2)I think this a few times each day and 3)I'm sure having two kids with Ian's temperment would go against the universal rule that parents should somehow pay for the torture they inflicted on their parents as a kid.

My reponse to my mom? 'I owe you a huge apology'. And she knew exactly what for.

I apologized for years and years of the verbal abuse I inflicted upon my parents as a kid, albeit much older (like ten) but still. Payback is a bitch.

These days, Alex is giving us a run for our money. In the spirit of 'keeping it real' (a post I've not been brave enough to publish yet), I'm going to document some not so glamorous events that frequently occur in the Kolmer house.

Our princess, a mere five years old is showing signs of what could be a very challenging period ahead commonly known as the tween and teen years.

At the drop of a hat, or at the word 'no', or really for no reason inparticular Alex spouts fits of rage. These are her most common sayings when things don't go 'just so'.






Or, my favorite: a loud and husky grunt followed by arms crossed, lips turned out and eyes that could burn your soul.

Drama much?

If she's NOT yelling, she's stomping her feet, pounding the stairs or in the case of yesterday knocking over a living room chair because I said she could not have her 4th snack of the afternoon. If only our problems were so menial, and if only we could react this way when we are frustrated.

I attribute this to a nasty combination of my emotional-ness, and from what I hear, Sean's anger spouts as a child. Mix this with a dose of Taurus, a small case of over-tired from long school days and soccer practice and you get lil Miss Maniac.

I've said it for years, parenting is EASY when all you are doing is caring for physical needs. Feeding, diapering, clothing, and bathing is EASY compared to the emotional drain of molding one's child into a nice little human.

I'm on the verge of calling a therapist, or an exorcist?

Luckily, Sean is much better at dealing with her fits of rage. In some strange father/daughter Taurus bond they understand each other. And rather than standing there, shocked, mouth agape, he's able to respond in a much more productive and consistent manner than this here 'my feelings are hurt, my daughter hates me' kind of way.

I'm hoping it's just a stage, or that it's the result of a lot of recent changes in her life. I'm hoping that the next 10-15 years are not as challenging as the last month has been. Because if they are, I'll be writing these posts from a barred looney bin.

Here's hoping insane asylums have internet access.

In all seriousness, I've shed many tears over this as of late and questioned my parental skills. I've been seeking validation from Sean and my Mom that I'm doing things right and this is just a stage. It's just a stage, it's just a stage, it's just a stage. Saying things three times makes it true right?

On the bright side, Alex is thriving in school and kicking butt on the soccer field. She's much stronger, confident and assertive that I thought she'd be in the 'competitive kind of way' and I'm so proud of her. She has grown emotionally so much over the past year and we have mostly good moments where she is loving, and sweet, and non-psychotic. That, or I've already gone nuts.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The next Mia Hamm...

Alex started soccer this year. To my surprise, she loves it and looks forward to each practice and game. This last Saturday Sean and I couldn't make the game due to prep for a family party and for Sean, GOLF. And unfortunately, we missed her first goal of the season.

Luckily, my grandma got to witness it and my lovely co-workers who's son is also on the team caught this video and sent it to me.

Click HERE if you want to see the most amazing goal ever.

Thank god for them, this video, and all the cheers they shouted for her while we weren't there.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Conversations with little people...

M: Alex, what's your favorite thing about soccer?
A: My outfit.

M: Ian, where is this whiny voice coming from all of a sudden?
I: My mouth.

M: Ian, are you so excited to start your new school?
I: No, my new friends will wreck my buildings, step on my toes, and scratch my butt.

A: Mom, when will I need to wear one of those 'booby things' (bra)?
M: Not for awhile, when your older like me.
A: You mean when my butt gets bigger and I need to wear hats?
M: Yes, I guess so.

M: Alex, tell me your favorite thing about Kindergarten.
A: I had two recesses
M: Did you meet any new friends?
A: Yes, five of them.
M: What are their names?
A: I have no idea.
M: You should ask them tomorrow and start by saying, "My name is Alex, what is your name?" because they probably want to know your name too.
A: There is no talking when the teacher is talking.
M: That is good attention to the rules, maybe you could ask at one of your recess breaks.
A: That's when I swing.
M: Well okay, suit yourself and have nameless friends.
A: We don't need to know names, we just play.

M: Ian, eat your dinner
I: I can't, my tummy is up to here (he puts his hand on his forehead).
M: Well, that is too bad. If your tummy is up to your forehead than you have no room for a Popsicle.
I: But my leg hurts.

(A brief pause)

I: I think my tummy is only up to here (he puts his hand on his thigh) and there is room for Popsicle in my foot.
M: Then you should have room for dinner.
I: My leg hurts.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Blog Backlog #4: Black Butte 2010

Where once there were two, now there are many. It always blows my mind that one person, or the combination of two can create an entire family. That because two amazing people find love, people are created and those people find love and create their own little people and it grows and grows and grows. And now that I'm getting all existential and weird on you, I'll show you this:

And now I'll say this: The woman in the middle, to the upper left of me is 50% responsible for everyone you see here. I'm grateful to this lovely matriarch each and every day, and this photo (although just a brief glimpse into the many many amazing memories I have with her) reminds me of the sheer gratitude I have for the love she shows to all of these people unconditionally and the joy she brings us and my own kids.

For the past two summers, we've been lucky enough to spend a week in Ocean City, NJ. This is the special place that Sean spent his childhood summers with his entire family. His grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins, etc all gathered here for most of their lives and darn if I don't feel privileged to get the opportunity to share that with him and watch him share that experience with our kids.

This year, we decided to spend our summer vacation at MY childhood vacation spot, Black Butte, OR. This place holds so many memories for my family and extended family. We've spent countless weeks here biking, swimming, playing tennis, poker, golf and just enjoying each others company.

This was the first year that my grandfather was not there with us which was hard and different. I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel like something was missing. However, it was the first year in which I got to see the kids doing what I did at their ages. To see this trip through their eyes was nostalgic, and heart warming.

It was definitely a different 'vacation' than I remember as a child. Vacations with children are hardly 'vacations' but parenting at a different location. It's still work, and biking with children attached to your bike either in a trailer, infant seat or snap on bike prevented us from gallivanting around the ranch like banshees, and we didn't quiet get the same quality time with our childless cousins. Laying by the pool is more like, swimming IN the pool helping your kids learn to swim, and managing naps and odd sleeping arrangements is never easy but the week was still lovely nonetheless.

Sean golfed more times than I can count, I got to go twice and went horse back riding which was fun. The kids would have been happy spending all day everyday in the pool but they also enjoyed riding bikes and running around the golf course at night.

My hope is that one day, when our kids are grown they will remember these two places just like Sean and I do and that one day they take their own kids themselves. I hope that they too are as appreciative of the experiences they have been given as I am today and have a clear understanding that it is only those experiences and the people we share them with that matter.

If you know me at all, you know I took more than 200 photos of this trip and without the energy to pick through and post them all, you may view them all here.

Blog Backlog #3: Camping is Fun, FINALLY!

Words cannot express the feeling of joy that Sean and I shared last month as we drove home from our first camping trip in more than 3 years.

I grew up camping. It's part of who I am. Getting dirty, eating dogs, and roasting marshmallows while trying not to burn our faces off with them are some of the fondest memories of my sisters and my childhood. So you can imagine my dismay and disappointment after taking Alex camping at the age of 18 months and vowing to never ever do it AGAIN, ever.

And anyone that has camped with children under 3 knows what I mean when I say it was not fun. It was all work, and suffering, and strife. And oh, miserable. Maybe also excruciatingly too much work.

Granted Alex was apparently coming down with the stomach flu and vomited profusely before we even had a chance to unpack which explains the whining, the crying, and the overall suckiness of her mood. HOWEVER, some other unfortunate events occurred during our shortened 2 day camping trip. They included an infestation of ants, a blown away tent, a major (okay not so major) fall into a pot of beans (done by my sister), the failure to insert the pin into the back of the trailer causing all camping gear to fall out onto a dusty and bumpy road in the middle of a thunder & lightning storm, and...well, that's probably enough to give you a good mental picture. Wait, did I say that when we finally arrived home at 11 pm after bugging out early our garage door broke and went slamming into the ground? Oh, I didn't? Well, it did. And it's still broken.

So, words cannot express the feeling of joy that Sean and I shared last month as we drove home from our first camping trip in more than 3 years.

So what was so different this time you ask blogosphere? Well aside from all of the above NOT HAPPENING, except for the ant infestation which we cleared up by throwing all of our scraps way over there (and by golly the ants went way over there) the kids had a blast. We almost didn't have to parent them except to occasionally feed them and ask them to change their dirty clothes into some less dirty clothes. It was great.

We spent two lovely days on the boat, the kids swam, and Ian spent most likely 17 full hours digging in the dirt by the shore. Even Chip managed to mind his own business and made peace with nature. Sean managed a nap in the sun, and I spent many many hours floating on an air mattress.

We zipped around on wake boards, inner-tubes and Sean got a great kick out of surviving the biggest whip of his life and living to tell about it.

We had so much fun, we are going back for Labor Day and in celebration of our successful camping trip I bought a new tent which Sean swears the entire city of Tigard could fit in.
It has an actual door, and shelves, and a special hole to grab things out of your cooler right from your sleeping bag because apparently that's important in 21st century camping. I'm kind of ticked it doesn't have an iPhone charger overhead fan, but I'll survive.

Blog Backlog #2: Ode to Grammom

It's unfortunate that we only see Sean's family once or maybe twice a year, there are many miles and many states that separate us but we manage to see them around the holidays and have spent the last two summers out East in Ocean City. This year, we had to forego our normal Jersey Shore trip for a few kept around here (more to come) but were lucky enough to have Sean's mom come spend a week with us recently.

This made Ian's birthday even more special this year. Not only did he have a personal fireworks display AND a custom Buzz Lightyear cake, but Grammom came and brought him his first big boy bike!

We had a great week spent galavanting around town. We...

Had a photo Session in the backyard.

Celebrated Ian's Birthday with a few close friends and family.

Went to the Portland Rose Garden.

Hit the Washington Park play structure.

Most importantly, I skipped work on a 95 degree day and we took the kids to Cannon Beach. It was a lovely day spent playing in the sand, basking in the sun, and eating giant ice cream cones.

It was an awesome week and we can't wait to have her again. Until next time Grammom! We had a blast!

I interrupt my previously scheduled blog catch up posts for this special announcement.

No, I'm not pregnant, we are not moving to Belize, and so far the lottery has not been good to me. So stop that.
The big announcement is that I almost killed my son last night and then proceeded to save his life. No joke.
As a mother, I spend the majority of my time worrying. I see injuries moments before they happen, I have visions of TERRIBLE things happening. For example, I rarely walk down stairs with a child in my arms without envisioning them flailing from my grasp and falling over the railing, psycho I know.

Yesterday, as I tried to keep the kids occupied AND clean the house AND do laundry, AND mow the yard I offered to pay the kids each ONE DOLLAR if they'd help water my dying, moisture starved and neglected plants in the back yard.

They were happy to oblige, and were quite proud of the four shiny quarters I gave each of them. Ian was so proud of them, he carried them to bed for his nap and tucked them in right next to his favorite blanket buddy.

Big time foul.

I figured after a busy day, a run to Alex's first soccer practice, dinner with some friends, and an evening visit from our babysitter who is leaving for college today (sniff sniff) that the kids would fall quickly asleep without a peep. So Sean and I raced downstairs to start the next episode of Weeds.

3 minutes in, I heard choking.

I ran upstairs to find Ian gasping for breath and choking. I reached down his throat and after many failed attempts finally grabbed hold of one shiny quarter lodged in his throat. He then proceeded to throw up his entire dinner, and cough up blood. Probably from me scraping his throat in a panicked attempt to remove the bastard quarter.

I felt fear, panic, responsibility, and gratefulness that I heard him.

By this time of course, Sean and Alex were there and 'mother hen' Alex proceeded to assure her brother that 'one time, I threw up cuz I had a bad cold and had to lay on the couch for a coupla days. You're gonna be ok bud', she said.

After we all calmed down and I was ready to release Ian from my grasp the kids hugged. Yes, they hugged and Ian said, 'dat makes me feel better'.

Twelve hours later, I'm 40% recovered from the experience and will now be paying the kids in crisp dollar bills. I'm pretty sure the whole shabang took 10 years off my life.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Blog Backlog #1: Ian Turns Three

I'm now officially 'months' behind in this here 'baby book', life documentary, and reference manual. This diary I keep is important to me for many reasons but mostly so I don't forget a thing. As the years pass I am completely in awe of how quickly time ticks, how fast these kids change, and how easy it is to rush through life. I hope that one day this blog, when I'm old and senile and potentially crazy will remind me of the best years.

I can't believe my baby boy is 3. It feels like yesterday that Sean and I were looking into our backseat at one nappy headed fro child and imagining what it would be like with two kids. It also seems like yesterday that Ian was a baby and we were imagining life with a 2 and 4 year old. And now we have a 3 and 5 year old. Time flies. It's true what they say, that each child is so different. They have their own personality, demeanor, temperament, etc. My kids are no exception. Ian is independent but strong willed, when his sister is gone he will play quietly by himself which Alex has never and most likely will never do. He is sweet and cuddly, but opinionated. He loves his mom, is smart as a whip ( I think ) and is more athletically gifted than I've ever seen a child this age. In fact, he is HARASSING us for a set of his very own golf clubs. I'm 100% willing to invest the $89 its going to cost if one day he buys me a house, a car, and maybe a small island for my trouble. He is almost as dramatic as his sister and his first reaction to everything is an emotional one.

He's finally potty trained, and has had a great time exploring his manly rights of peeing wherever, whenever and however on a few recent camping trips. Or, when he's just playing in our yard.

We spent his birthday at home this year with some family and friends. Being that it was the 4th of July he felt like the entire fireworks display was in honor of him. The Buzz Lightyear cake, a special visit from Grammom, and more gifts than he thought possible was the icing on the cake (pun intended).

He still has an imaginary friend named James, and is into Tom & Jerry and Scooby Doo on the tube. He loves Tinker Toys and anything you can build with and is rarely found without his plethora of security items including his infant blankies, 'dog', 'buddy', and his most recent stuffed toy named 'chip dog'. He's also rarely without one of his 4 Buzz Lightyear figurines, 'Big Buzz', 'Medium Buzz', 'Tiny Buzz', and just 'Buzz'.

When Alex was three, I asked her a series of questions. You can see them here. I decided to ask Ian the same questions in honor of his 3rd birthday to see just how this little fellow measures up.

What's your name?
Ian Patrick Kolmer

How old are you? Free

What's your favorite color? BLUE!

What's your favorite book? hhhmmmm Star Wars

What's your favorite song? After no answer, Caden whispers into his ear that it's 'transformers' but I know that it's anything he can dance too or drum.

What's your favorite movie? Star Wars (although he's never seen it, he knows it to be true)

Television Show? Kung Fu Panda and Tom and Jerry

Who's your best friend? Caden.

* Caden than proceeds to say, 'C-A-D-E-N'. Just in case I wasn't sure how to spell it. Alex then sits frustrated that she is not his #1.

Favorite Smell? Corn Dog

What's your favorite kind of candy? Chocolate

Favorite Sound? Trees.

What's your favorite instrument? He is making a bunch of sounds, gibberish and squeaks so we will move on.

Favorite thing to do at school? Slide (same as Alex)

What's your favorite game? Candyland

Favorite Food? Bananas, Eyeballs (giggle giggle) and Peaches.

Favorite thing to drink? Juice

What's your favorite animal? Giraffe

What's your favorite thing to do? Going on Pop Pop's boat

Where's your favorite place to go? On the boat

What's your favorite Toy? Buzz Lightyear

What's your favorite thing about Alex? Boys don't like Alex's. Did you know that?' He ends most of what he says with 'Did you know that?'

How old is Dad? 2

How old is Mommy? Free

What makes you happy? Buzz

What do you want to be when you grow up?
A bad guy (oh sheesh)

Well, that's Ian in a nutshell. I can hardly wait for all the years to come with this guy but am enjoying this 3rd year the best so far. What a bundle of pure love he is.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Just a little list to take care of, that's all.

It's that day of the week. It's the day I can feel things getting far too out of control. As each day of the week passes, I get a little more tired, a little more irritable, our house becomes a little more dirty, and my 'to do' list gets a little longer. I need the weekend.

Part of this is my fault. I dared to work out twice this week, and Sean and I are so addicted to the Showtime Drama 'Weeds', that we have been staying up FAR past our bedtime because clearly there is no way we can sleep if we don't know everything that's happened in the lovely town of Agrestic. And with that, we have given up daily tasks such as; dog walking, dish-doing, and laundry upkeep.

Basically, we make dinner. Give the kids 100% until exactly 8pm when we race them to bed so we can FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. Cuz, life depends on it.

We have some fun things planned this weekend, which has been consistent with most weekends this summer. So many fun things I've completely failed to do as I promised myself and BLOG BLOG BLOG about them all.

At this point, I don't know where to start. So instead of catching up, I'm proclaiming to myself and any of ya'll that read, it's coming. This is my list for the day and my goal is that by Monday it's allllll caught up.

Oh, and by the way I am not hopeful this will happen.

I need to write about Sean's mom visiting (which was oh so fun), and Ian's 3rd birthday, and our first official and successful camping trip.

The kids are sprouting right in front of me and there is so much to write down. And for some reason, it keeps me up at night that someday many many moons from now I will regret wholeheartedly not writing down the story about...

See? I already forgot.

Early this week I had at LEAST 5 funny stories and today I can remember none of them.

And I found a school for Ian, WHICH I AM THRILLED ABOUT, but I need to pick up the
registration packet and fill it out.

And the days before Alex goes to real school are few, and I have to buy school supplies before (so I hear) every store in a 90 mile radius is out of Elmers Glue.

And I need to arrange for somewhere for her to go before school and after school.

A group of thank you cards are smashed in my purse from Alex's birthday almost 3 months ago because I need to buy stamps.

And I have a list for Ian's birthday too.

I have three packages to mail, one for a birthday on July 3rd. (FAIL)

Our car's tags are expired.

I have no bread, fruit, vegetables, Popsicles or Gin in the house.

And Sean is out of clean white undershirts.

I need to buy a birthday gift.

The kids are due for dentist appointments, and the vet keeps sending cards that Chip is due for his vet check up. I thought you just took them in if they were sick or dying...apparently preventative care is big for pets now.

Not to mention, we leave on vacation next week which requires an entire list of it's own that results in a clean house, packed bags (which Sean will tell you takes me days, and days and days to complete), mail stopped, work caught up and covered, camera memory card cleared, and the purchase of a few necessary items.

I totally got this.

If I owe anybody money, or you can think of something I'm forgetting. Please send me an email at


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Picture me Rollin...

I'd love to be talking about 2 Pac's 'picture me rollin' song from one of my all time favorite discs 'All Eyez on Me' ba dum-du dum....all eyez on me. Okay the song will be in my head for the rest of this live long day.

Instead, I'm asking you to picture me rollin two bikes, tangled in a dog leash with said dog attached to the end , while dragging a two year old by the arm, and nudging my 5 year old in the rear with my foot. Oh, and let's not forget the bag of dog crap I was carrying.

All of this because I decided I'd take the dog for a walk.

It was day 4 of Sean's 5 day work trip to Boston. It was also our 8th year anniversary and I was dragging myself through the motions of responsibility, one being Chips daily walk.

The kids were tired, and although they wanted to go, about 10 minutes away from the house they decided they were done riding their bikes, or walking, or having any sort of human qualities like speaking in decipherable language, or listening. So picture me rollin two bikes, tangled in a dog leash with said dog attached to the end, while dragging a two year old by the arm, and nudging my 5 year old in the rear with my foot as she reluctantly now walked in front of me, WITH a bag of dog crap in my hands and then deciding to stop for the mail. As I fumbled for my keys, I glance to Ian who is peeing himself on the sidewalk.

I right then, receive a text message from Sean which includes a photo of a giant mug of beer from the Boston Red Sox game he is attending and I want to die.

The rest of the evening only goes down hill which includes a moment where I find Ian's arms covered in toothpaste as he cleans out our bathroom sink with his toothbrush which is still littered with Sean's shaving remnants from last Saturday. I gag. Alex thinks this is so funny, and for the next hour I try to get them to listen, calm down, and get their pajamas on. They hear me not, and giggle incessantly and I lose it.

The kids went to bed sobbing, and I fell asleep face down in my tear soaked People magazine feeling like the worlds worst mom. I was only able to muster out a text message to a friend who I knew would understand and tell me everything was ok.

This morning, miraculously they didn't hate me for it. I apologized to both of them. Ian said, 'Thanks mom' and burrowed into me. I asked him what he wanted for his birthday and he said, 'CAKE'!. What else I asked? 'ICE CREAM'! What about a toy (I dig and dig for an idea), 'CHOCOLATE TOYS'!

And a chocolate toy he will get. So now, picture me rollin to Toys R Us this afternoon where I will make up for a stressful week with lavish gifts, or chocolate treats and anticipate Sean's safe return this afternoon.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wordless Wednesday, this boy likes him an apple.

Wow-I love this concept. Every Wednesday a photo and no words. Although, I'm cheating this time so I can explain. But now I will shut up. One more thing, HOLY CRAP I love this kid.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A potentially not so brief update on the miscellaneous happenings in the Kolmer house.

It's been sort of a whirlwind the last few weeks. I feel sort of as if I'm nesting, and this time not for a baby. I'm not folding tiny clothes, into teeny tiny drawers, and I'm not cleaning out closets, and throwing out 3 year old food from our cupboards, (although, I'm going to add that to my list). I've been obsessed in completing all those chores around the house that normally get done in the summer time.

Well, for those of you not living in the Pacific Northcrapfest, we have yet to see more than a glimpse of summer weather here. SO, I figure no better time than now to power wash the house, the deck, repaint the deck, clean the garage, make several trips to the goodwill, and overall de-clutter the place. In the middle of all that, I decided I hated the color of my laundry room and in a few hours time and many regrets later, voila! What once was yellow, is now a grayish blue...or something. All of this so that when the sun does decide to shine, I will be ready for it.

Mixed into all that, we've had a few bugs hit the kids. You know, those straggling germs that get us right at the beginning of summer when we are hanging on by a tiny thread for cold/flu season to finally rid itself. I've survived the year end push at work, and yesterday the kids had their last day of school at the preschool we've taken Alex too since she was 1 1/2 and that Ian started at just about the same age. It's been a lot to take in. I'm never good with change, unless it's a paint color, or a hidden wad of quarters buried in the bottom of my purse.

I'm currently crawling out of a 'I'm a terrible mother, gutter' after several evenings spent pouring over the gruesome details with ambitious salesmen of getting our windows replaced. This at the expense of foregoing any quality time with the kids which was compounded by a terrible guilt of my missing Alex's final gymnastics class and performance. Luckily Sean was able to make it, but with each and every one of these events I miss I get more and more anxious that my baby is 5, and she's going to school next year, and wow these 5 years have flown. I get bitter at how much of her life I have missed due to work, and if someday this feeling of guilt will go away.

I was lamenting these feelings last night after a long day at work and a long evening with the kids. Sean didn't get home til after the kids were in bed and I was tiiiiirred. So tired that I muttered several profane words as I hauled a load of laundry into the living room to be folded. After dropping half the load on the way, and bending over to pick up a sock or one of the 30 white undershirts Sean so desperately needed near 20 times I exploded. Then I sat down, and watched the best possible show I could have at that very moment which was a TLC documentary on a family with quintuplets.

What a nightmare. Although, they couldn't even have a nightmare if they tried with NO sleep and 5 infants to feed and diaper and clothe...and added expenses of near $6K per month.

And I knew I would survive.

And I knew that needing new windows was not the worst thing in the world.

And I knew that one day soon, the sun would shine for more than 19 hours and rid me of the ghastly mood I'm in.

Alex is doing great, aside from the giant dent in her forehead. On Monday, as she was cleaning up toys she spun herself in this elaborate and non graceful circle while on all fours throwing her head into the corner of our activity table. It stunned her, and when the bleeding started SHE FREAKED. Head wounds always bleed a lot, so I didn't panic but she did. And it took her an hour, two ice packs, and 3 Dora band-aids to calm her down. Oy.

Ian is in a super funny stage right now. He's obsessed with his upcoming 3rd birthday and at times when he's feeling angst, gets told 'no', or is irritated by you in any way will loudly proclaim, 'you're not coming to my birfday pauwty'. He weaseled out of a nap the other day claiming his friend 'Jason' wouldn't stop talking to him and he told me he hated the Clifford the big red dog book because there was a daddy in it, and daddy's are annoying (pronounced: anoylin).

Poor Sean.

I'm going to close with that. I'm also going to promise that all future posts will be sunny and bright and filled with lovely pictures and memories of all the summer fun we will have. Oh yes, fun we will have. For now I'll leave you with this:

and this; see, he does love him!

and this:

and...whatever this is.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Uncle Brent Wins...

I'm taking a 5 minute break to write down a funny, because I fear that with the hectic-ness (is that a word?) of work right now (IT'S FISCAL CLOSE YIPPEE) paired with the fact I made an ever apparent error in judgement at the wee age of 19 and chose FINANCE as my 'dream', that I may forget this.

And if I did that, the world around me would fall apart right? Not really.

I'm blabbering.

Did I mention that between the two kids I've gotten 12 hours of sleep since Monday? That just ain't right. I don't even have an infant. Just a young boy with growing pains (literally) and a daughter who is scared silly of dots on her wall, shadows, and has had a recurring nightmare of someone jumping on her bed in the night for the last three consecutive nights, and an alarm clock that buzz's the same time every morning regardless.

So as for the funny, it is this: Last week, Alex got an amazing slip n slide complete with pool and boogie boards from my sister Sarah (we call her Aunt Soosa) for her birthday. She was thrilled! A few days later, in the mail came an even BIGGER slip and slide complete with shark tunnel from Uncle Brent. I nonchalantly (not even really serious) said she could think about taking one back and picking out some other outside water toy. I didn't even think she heard me.

So last night, as I was making dinner I told her we need to get the basket of thank you notes out and start writing our birthday thank yous. And this is what she said:

"I'm gonna write on Aunt Soosa's thank you card- Sorry I want to take your gift back, Love Alex"

So, one point for Uncle Brent. But honestly, I can't even bear to return it now as it will be discarding the very item that made me laugh harder this week than I thought possible. Again, the fatigue, the stress, and the verging on 'crazy' may have made it more funny than it is...I'll let you be the judge.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Girl, talking bout-My Girl.

Five Years Ago Today...

-I became a mother, and my life changed forever in the best of ways.

-I said goodbye to order, and control. And sleep.

-I fell in love with a little girl and have done so over and over again each and every day since.

My lovely

This week, we celebrated Alex's 5th birthday. And at Five Years Old, Alex...

-Can recognize and write all her letters.

-Read words, (mostly by her inherited photographic memory).
-Is a happy, loving, nurturing and sweet girl.

-Loves her brother 70% of the time, the other 30% is mauling him, torturing him or chasing after him. Sean may argue my ratio is severely off.

-enjoys being outside, riding her bike, watching Tom & Jerry and doing art projects.

-When she's angry, she stomps her feet, slams her bedroom door, and proclaims, 'nobody likes me!'. Also, she is not dramatic at all.

-has given up naps for the most part but falls asleep in the car for any ride longer than 15 minutes.

-has many 'best friends' including Trey, Devon, Caden, and sometimes she'll add Ian to the list.

-prefers her dad in most regards, and the feeling is mutual.

-makes me laugh every day at either her dramatic tirades, or the funny things she says.

-last week referred to her 'down there', or 'private area' as her china. At least she picked a word that rhymes!

-loves to wear dresses and leggings and shoes with shine and glitter.

-can be found looking at herself in the mirror, and admiring the beauty of herself!

-has many favorite toys including dolls, fairy's, and little pet shop pets.

-is excited for Kindergarten and refers to her new school as the 'red roof school'.

-is a worrier, just like her Mom and her Nanna.

-is smart as a whip, with a memory like an elephant just like her Dad.

-hates to cleanup after herself.

I can believe that Alex is five. Somehow, it makes sense. I feel like I've been a 'mom' for five years, that my life has been different for five years. I can't believe however how she's changed in that time. She's like this mini person, with thoughts and feelings and opinions. She's so smart, and funny! And has this amazing sense of humor. She's also thoughtful, and worries about others. She's cautious with herself, I doubt this girl will ever sky dive or bungee jump. Thank goodness.

She blows my mind each and every day, and every single time I look at her face I remember the day she was born. How instantly I loved her. Where Ian looks nothing like he did as a baby, she still has the same features, larger and matured but the baby is still there.

Ah, I love her.

She is such a daddy's girl, which developed when Ian was born. They formed a bond and a respect for one another and both being Taurus's this works for us. They 'understand' each other, if you will.

I'm so proud of who she is becoming, and so proud of Sean and I. We used to laugh when she turned 1 and 2. We succeeded at parenting! We have cared for every one of her needs around the clock, we kept her alive! It's hard to imagine that for 5 years now, we've been responsible for her safety, and her health. That's 1,825 days and nights!


She is incredible.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Dear Abby, or Diary, or whoever you are,

I go to bed with a heavy heart AGAIN. And Sean is at a work dinner, so you blog are my only hope.

I'm pretty sure that by now, it's clear that I hate to leave my kids each day. I'm sure all my friends (including you blog) are tired of hearing about it. So, I'll spare you the recap on that on-going saga. But I will say this; I know that staying at home and working both have their ups and downs. And I'm sure if I did stay home I'd be grasping for some semblance of adult interaction. I know that both jobs are hard hard hard.

I guess sometimes I wish that I had a choice.
For me the only choice was 'where'. For this I blame Linfield College. The school that both Sean and I paid thousands and thousands of dollars to well, meet each other. This is also the institution that sucks a good chunk of change out of our bank account each month. I hold tight to that concept, that the loans we pay each month are some sort of dowry to each other. Right? RIGHT?

The worst part for me has always been, those first few weeks of taking your baby to someone else to care for. I've done it twice and there is no easy button for that task. You hunt hunt hunt for the perfect place, although in your heart no place is perfect unless it's with you. You view centers, home daycare's and you knit pick them to death. You hope the other kids are well behaved and don't teach your kids bad manners. You hope their teacher, nanny, or daycare provider treats them as though they were their own.

You mostly just hope.

That your making the right decision.

Then you rip the band aid off and you drive away from your baby. And you cry the whole way to work. And when you pick them up with smiles on their know you've done good.

I digress. Three years ago, I made a choice. I made a choice to move Alex from her first daycare and I found Kathleena. For three years our kids have been cared for to my very high standards. They come home all learned and smart. They are active, and artsy and have fun! They do music and dance, and all the things I can't teach them during the day, Kathleena does. She probably has taught them more than I ever could. And for this I am forever grateful.

Unfortunately, the logistics of our life are changing. And for us, logistics have always been our biggest hurdle. How do we get Sean to Salem, myself to Beaverton, the kids to school and all back again? How do we incorporate classes, swim lessons and still leave time for QT at night? We've managed. I've gotten up and driven to work each morning before the roosters crow, and we manage to get Sean home just as dinner is on the table. It's working. But next year, Alex is starting school and everything is changing and although I haven't worked out the details yet, what I do know is our time with Kathleena is ending. She's out of our district and in the Fall, we'll be moving Alex and now trying to figure out how to logistically get her to her place and Ian to his and us to ours. I'm tired just thinking about it.

I'm digressing again. Basically, I've decided to keep the kids home this summer. And as my friend always says, 'remove the daily task of ripping my kids from their sheets' each morning. My dear Sis is thrilled to spend some quality time with them in between long weekends, a few vacations, and some family visits. And I'm excited for them and the summer we have planned but heartbroken about Kathleena.

I told her today as I picked up the kids and left with such a terrible heartache inside. I felt like giving good notice was the best possible thing I could do and instead it just feels icky. She has absolutely been amazing to us and our kids. She has worked with our long days, she's accepted my kids on Mondays when I've had to work, and most recently Fridays. They love her, we love her.

And Kathleena, I hope if your reading this you know that. And I hope you know that in the end, it's logistics.

I will be forever grateful for the love, and the amazing spirit you've given to our kids. I've picked up my kids with smiles on their faces every every every day, and there is no thank you big enough for that.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

She doesn't even know me!

I hesitated to write this one down because, If I do one day print this out and organize it into some sort of book for the kids this is one of those stories that every time I read it...I'll cry and cry. But at the same time, I think it's important because what transpired last night is something that haunts me every day and is my biggest struggle in this adventure you call parenting.

As I was tucking Alex into bed last night, having just returned from the gym (the first trip in weeks) and having actually taken some time for me, she says this:

"Mom, I don't even know you. Your gone all the time at work and I'm always at school."


A dagger pierced through my heart. I looked at my sweet girl, almost 5! And as much as it hurt, I felt the same way about her. Time just flies by, I maneuver through the work week counting days until Saturday when I can re-connect, breath and be a mom. Where I'm not racing to get home, jumping hurdles to get dinner on the table before they melt down from hunger, hurry them to bath and pray that they pick short books and go to bed quickly so I can collapse.

It's true that she doesn't know me. She doesn't know that I think of them all day at work. She doesn't know that I would give anything for more time with them, and she doesn't know that I go to bed feeling horrible guilt for the time I'm not home. I wish I came home refreshed and alert, with all this energy to give to them, but I don't. Just like I get through the work day, I'm just getting through the evening routine. Hopefully one day she will understand.

One day with kids of her own, she'll realize that although I wasn't there for the fun, the learning and the amazing experiences she had during the day. I was there last night for the moment when Ian pooped all out his pull-up and onto the floor, smearing the walls, his skinny little legs covered, and soiling his Jammie's for good. I was there to give him a shower at 8:45 pm, when truly I wanted to be face down in my bed. That was me. I was there for that. Isn't that enough?

In the meantime, I have to just keep doing my best. I have to keep taking what I have to give and dispersing it to where it's most important. And maybe this week, I need to focus on her and let her pick that huge, thick, Sleeping Beauty book I hate at bedtime. And the fact that summer is approaching and the top button of my jeans is working harder than a Japanese train pusher to keep me in may just have to wait.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A transformation

Sometimes, I do stuff. I do stuff that costs too much money, and takes too much time but it's sort of like therapy to me. Some people think I'm crazy. Some people wonder how I find the time, but I do. Because I need it. And because sitting at a computer 40 hours a week does not bring me the kind of joy that turning something ugly into something pretty does. And well, shouldn't everyone have a hobby?

I am constantly on craigslist. I like to hunt down old, cheap, used, tattered things (and sometimes used, not so cheap and tattered things) to spruce up my humble abode. A few weeks back, I found these:

Super cute huh? They are 50 years old, in perfect structural condition and aside from some dried and petrified grape jelly just a perfectly clean slate.

So, took 12 cans of spray paint, a bit of fabric and some stain I had laying around and did this:

And this:

Besides a numb finger tip (from the use of spray cans) the project was quick, easy and now my dining room looks like it belongs on the cover of Better Homes & Gardens. Well, maybe not. But I like it much better!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I have a new best friend

This morning Ian melted my heart. He melted it right in two, and then it flooded from my chest, oozing to the floor which is where I snuggled with him for 10 minutes, making me EVEN LATER to work than I already was. All because he said this:

Ian: (After stumbling into my room this morning, hair a mess, and his two faithful blanket animals clutched in each hand) Mommy, you're my best friend.

Me: Aaaaaaah, my sweet boy. You're my best friend too!

Ian: (With Giant Smile) Oh, dat make me so happy!

Alex has also been hamming it up lately. Just yesterday, I asked her if she'd brushed her teeth yet. She said, 'Yes, I brushed them all morning.' 'All morning?' I asked? She said, 'Yes, I just had the water running super low so you couldn't hear it'. All of this said 3 inches from my face and believe me, she clearly had not yet brushed.

Also yesterday, I got lost trying to find a fabric store. I was turned around due to conflicting information on the GPS and Google Maps. I pulled over to think and Alex says, 'What is going on here mom? It's like your mind is broken off'.

Later as she was fighting a bath, I told her she had dirt behind her ears and she said, 'NO, that's not dirt. It's ear plugs'.

Of course.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Keep it Classy, San Diego

The Griswold Kolmer family Vacation: Part UN
What a week. Sean and I are coming off of a 10 day break from work, the dog, alarm clocks, and chores and have successfully completed our first family vacation. It was our first 'go where we want, do what we want to do' trip and it was with just the four of us. And it was nice.

I could probably write 15 pages of detail on our excursion and post the 405 pictures I took, but I won't. I'll try to keep it two 10 pages and 1 photo, okay 3. You can see the other pictures here.

Friends and family are always wondering why Sean and I haven't had a vacation just the two of us since our honeymoon. Well, besides the obvious in that our money tree is as dead as the rest of the foliage I've ever tried to grow I was actually really looking forward to this time away with the kids.

I left for work this morning feeling a little bit like I did the first days I ever took my babies to childcare and I headed back to work after a long and restful maternity leave. My heart ached a bit and I felt like one or two of my limbs had been torn loose. This week off gave me something I've been craving, and that's pure, unadulterated and precious time with my kids. A chance to be 'present' without deadlines, time constraints, or chores yanking me away.

There is still something inside me wanting a quiet and restful week on a remote beach with a big umbrella drink in my hand but this time, a crazy week in Disneyland & San Diego was just what the doctor ordered. And the sun, palm trees and 85 degree temps weren't bad either.

Disneyland is now a 3 day blur filled with hundreds of credit card swipes, an overdose of pizza & churros, & enough walking to leave Sean and I almost crippled in our hotel room each night. It's true what they say, 'Disneyland really is the happiest place on earth'. We walked around with grins from ear to ear and despite dealing with a few minor melt downs, probably had more fun than the kids.

Highlights include my trip down splash mountain with Alex, her joy and fear mixed scream followed by an immediate yell, 'I want to go again!'. Also at the top of the list for the little Miss was her dinner at Ariel's Grotto where she was able to meet ALL the princesses and snag photos with each. When the bill came to the table I tensed while Sean's jaw dropped, and then he said 'Money well, spent. It was totally worth it to see those smiles on her face'. PHEW.

I'd like to personally thank Mr. Walt Disney and his staff for the careful planning in putting a store at the exit of each ride. Thank you Walt for the placement of the elaborate and over-priced dresses at the exit of Pixie Hollow. I'd really love to have that $65 dollars + tax back in exchange for the pizza stained 'Silvermist' dress now crumpled in Alex's dress up box. As well as the creepy eyed Ariel stuffed doll that I could have filled my gas tank with. Gracias, Merci, & Ma halo, Sir. But really, how cute is this?

We bounced back and forth between Disney & California Adventure for three days covering almost all of both parks, hitting the majority of the rides which probably accounted for over 20 hours hanging out in lines. This left TONS of time for family bonding, people watching and physical struggles to keep Ian from hurting himself as he hung from ropes, tangled himself in bars, and annoyed all the other park goer's by hitting them with his Pirates of the Caribbean sword, or his elbow, or foot, or head for that matter.

When we'd had about all the spinning, gliding, and boat riding we could take we blew that pop stand and hit the road jack. We took a short road trip to Sunny San Diego while the kids got their first full nap in days. And that's when the trip took a SLIGHT turn south, in more ways that one.

Griswold Family Vacation: Part Deuce
It's not like our trip to San Diego was BAD. In fact it was quiet good. It was lower key, I loved driving around the city and we had a great time at Sea World and the San Diego Zoo. We drove out to Coronado Island, and had a nice and relaxing birthday dinner for moi, however...

Our hotel room was TERRIBLE. Aside from the fact the bedspreads were made of sleeping bag material and we couldn't keep them on the beds to save our lives the bed skirts my friends were made out of Jean. Yeah, Jean. I said it.

There was no fridge as promised, no ice maker, the pool was COLD and the door across from the elevator looked like this:

That's safe.

The room was small and the shower floor I don't even know how to explain. In three words, it was soft. It was impossible to keep your balance and after 30 failed attempts to keep the shampoo bottles on the ledge I gave up and along with trying not to tip over from lack of floor I was then tripping on bottles, sliding on soap bars and well, you just ticked me off.

I did my research, I read reviews, and although only given 4 hotels to choose from where I could use my airline miles I thought I picked the best one. Royal Fail. We made the best of it, laughed a lot and added to the class by buying 24 oz cans of Corona light and storing them in our ice bucket. Keep it classy in San Diego-Ron Burgandy style.

But ASIDE from all that we had more fun, saw Shamu and friends, pet Bat Rays, saw penguins the size of small humans, watched Dolphins swim within inches from us and spent an afternoon at the beach. And oh, I fell in love with a camel and decided our next pet will be 'said camel'. Here he is with giant loogie all ready to go.

Aaaahhhh good times.