Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mass Picture Dump, aka (no time to blog catch up but lots to show)

what we have here is; a failure to communicate. well sort of. i basically have ABOUT a month of photos from my iphone some of which are blog worthy, some of which are not. i have neither the time nor the energy to blog about all the wonderful events of the month and we are going out of town this weekend so i need to do this so i can breath and leave with only a million and one other things to do when i get back.

so here goes, these are the days of our lives.

Sean proclaims, 'show mom your superhero pose!' and nobody does it but him. Also, do not fear, my kids are not homeless. They just chose their own outfits and we failed to brush our hair this day.

the winner is!

a pose with our finished christmas tree

a much needed girls weekend in seattle with two of my besties

the beautiful newport bridge

beer flights at rogue brewery makes for a happy dude

alex watches the sea lions

all i can say here is this photo single handedly explains their individual personalities

ian (aka popeye) makes for a memorable family photo

nanna & poppop pose with the kids


ian doesn't buy my, 'pilgrims totally ate nutella and toast' bit.

dog and pooch spoon on the couch

pooch judges mom's thanksgiving week wine habit

love him when he's sleeping and relatively unable to injure himself

ian experiments with his sense of style and fails. as does mom's housekeeping duties. pay no attention to the background.

nola and alex running towards pinkalicious!

mommy daughter picture pose before the show

alex and mommy pose before pinkalicious. in true fashion, ian kills it with an epic photo bomb.

A chicken party with frozen turkey legs, barking feet, and a side of thankfulness

i offered to host our family thanksgiving this year. that meant 17 mouths to feed. i'm not gonna lie, hosting dinners for any number is a lot of work. hosting for the most important food day of the year is stressful! there is so much pressure around the food. there is no tree to 'oooh and awww' about and no gifts to make up for dry turkey and lumpy gravy.

i was happy to do it, and actually enjoy getting the house ready and setting the table. it was potluck, which helped so i was responsible for the guest of honor 'franklin the turkey' and my famous stuffing. well, i think it's famous anyway. the kids and i named the turkey franklin because he was deserving of a name. when you stand in line for a bird, practically throw out your back getting him into the cart and bathe him like a child in your sink, he needs a name. am i right?

tuesday night before the big day, i said farewell to work and took wednesday off. as i was leaving the building, saying my 'goodbye's' and 'happy thanksgivings', i may or may not have asked someone when i should take my turkey out of the freezer.

who knew this would create such an uproar.

'WHAT!?!' the woman answered. 'YOUR TURKEY IS IN THE FREEZER STILL?' she went on, 'OH MY, IT TAKES ATLEAST 5 DAYS IN THE FRIDGE TO THAW', and after she said these words, i panicked, 'YOU'RE SCREWED'.

It was two days before thanksgiving and it was already ruined. FAIL.

i drove directly to costco to hopefully stand in another long turkey line and save franklin for christmas but the turkey cooler was empty. there were a few scattered 9 pound organic dudes floating around in there but 9 pounds was not gonna cut it.

turns out, with a lot of time and effort you can thaw a turkey in 24 hours. thanks to google and the internets franklin was in for several cool water baths and would live in my kitchen sink for awhile.

on the day of, fingers crossed i spread open his little turkey legs and pulled out the still frozen innards, threw him into the oven a little early and prayed a little. after putting franklin in the baker, we called sean's family out east. it's always bitter sweet on these holidays to live so far from his family. when sean's mom said, 'happy thanksgiving!' to ian, he replied with, 'no, it's a chicken party'. we laughed and after hanging up the phone were sad that they weren't coming to our chicken party or that we weren't at theirs.

after 7 hours in the kitchen that morning, and when my feet started barking at me (even before the guests even arrived) i leaned up against the sink remembering how easy holidays used to be when all i had to do was come downstairs. happily saying, 'when's dinner gonna be ready mom' only to find her leaning up against the sink, eyes closed, praying the turkey turns out. then, i thanked god for giving me family, and so many of them to spend the holidays with. then i proceeded to be thankful for the food i was allowed to buy, the roof over my head to hold these people, the husband who feverishly moved tables and chairs in 4 different arrangements, and for my two kids who made everything harder and take longer. and let's not forget the bottle of wine i tapped into before i was even dressed.

i didn't manage to get many pictures of the event. none of the tables and they looked lovely (if I do say so myself). i didn't get a picture where we all stood around and passed a thankful jar, reading the notes that we all wrote, and I didn't even get a picture of the bird. well, all of it anyway. you can find parts of it in the two photos i did manage to capture. here are my two turkey's eating both of the turkey legs.

my darling husband who is always so great about helping cleanup tossed the 'thankful notes' so I can't write most of them out as i wished. but, the overall theme was an abundance of thanks for family, new beginnings, and strength of people and support. they were annonymous thoughts as we passed them around but there was no mistaking who the following belonged to.

'i'm thankful for my school' - alex

'i'm thankful for my bed' -caden

'i'm thankful for my whole family' -ian

'i'm thankful for mooris, my bink, (and a whole long list of named stuffed toys and blankets) - gage

Grandma JoAnne

i think it's when your older that you really start to appreciate your parents and your grandparents for what they brought to your life. as a parent now, i'm starting to see how that delay in appreciation can be problematic as i look at my 4 and 6 year old with pleading eyes to please acknowledge all that i do for them. i imagine that this get's harder still as they enter their demonstrative teenage years where (from what i hear and personal experience) can leave parents scratching their heads and wondering, 'why did we do this to ourselves?'

multiple times in a week i'm compelled to call my mom and apologize for one thing or another, or to thank her for the immense patience and guidance she gave me. oftentimes I do, to which she laughs and asks what happened.

there is another woman in my life who from the day i was born (as I was her first grandchild) gave all she had to this new endeavor of her life. her and my grandfather never failed to make myself, my sisters and my two cousins feel loved. i think it's something special when you look back and ask yourself, 'what did this person do for me that stood out the most' and the answer be not of monetary value or a tangible object. now, let me not confuse you, there was a lot of that. whether it be the contribution to my education, a trip to disney world and washington dc, the multiple camping excursions, or bailing me out of credit card debt after college with a low interest re-payment plan.

what these two people gave me most of all, was time. memories of berry picking in their backyard, reading books, and taking walks. i have fond memories of my grandparents in black butte where we spent a week each summer. my grandfather had a story he'd tell that ended with a loud hoot that would send us all laughing. he'd teach us how to play poker and every year brought a giant jar of coins for the cousins to split. my grandmother could be found sitting by the edge of the pool at their beach condo for HOURS as we swam with this patience i am now mustering as my kids want to do the same. always with a good and gracious attitude, all because she loved us.

my grandfather passed away a few years ago and what has been left in this family is both a giant hole as we miss his presence dearly as well as this huge bucket of fond memories. my kids still talk dearly of my grandfather and mention him always in the long list of people they love at bedtime. my grandmother who despite her loss continues to show great love, and strength to this family and although i don't always have the time to tell her or show her, i am in such incredible awe of her.

in november (i'm behind here), i hosted a birthday party in her honor. we had a theme this year encouraging everyone to dress up. due to it's proximity to halloween, the party was a hit and my grandma was so pleased. the kids and i made a homemade birthday sign. this was important to me, and important to teach my kids that the giving of time is one of life's true virtues. we took great care in designing each letter as i told them all of my favorite memories of grandma joanne.

i don't really have words to express how proud i am to have this woman as my grandmother. an experienced author of a parenting book , who also runs a parent support center here locally, who still takes her daily walk, frequents weekly poker nights, sings in her church choir and still has the energy for her 4 great grandchildren. HAPPY BIRTHDAY and i love you.

Monday, November 14, 2011

hey, if your one of those 'tmi' accusers. go away now, save yourself, and do not read below.

there is no such thing as 'tmi' once you have kids. conversations between you and your spouse, significant other, and friends are typically about bodily fluids, poop, and that 'unidentified' rash on your kids behind.

so before i continue, you've been warned. this post is about poop, unidentified substances, and the kind of farts that send you jumping out of your chair at dinner because well. that's what happened.

yesterday i got my hair done. which means sean was left to his own devices with both kids for a few hours. god bless him he took them out and ran a few errands and being the great father he is, treated them to some ice cream at the mall. he took them to this place for a tasty treat.

fast forward to 5:45 pm where our little family of four is enjoying a 3 course meal of chicken, brown rice, and squash (see I'm health conscious like that) when alex jumps up from the table, runs into the bathroom and within 5 seconds emits a sound that rivals harry's explosive diarrhea episode on 'dumb and dumber' and leaves us with the same facial expression you get after watching the clip on 'along comes polly' after rueben eats the spicy food. you get my drift. it was bad.


in my head, i'm battling a mixture of 'oh my gosh, she is sick and how will i now handle the logistics of the week. will i have to call in sick? sean is in late meetings all week, and everything is going to sh*t, literally' mixed with a little bit of 'oh my poor baby'.

i get up and run in and what escapes my mouth then, only sean could remember because the shock of what I saw may or may not have caused memory loss.

neon. blue. diarrhea.

i am not kidding. it was NEON BLUE. I gasped and called for sean to quickly come. this was not normal, nor right and we MUST CALL DOCTOR NOW.

after the episode we sit back to the table, obviously we've all lost our appetite when within 5 more minutes ian jumps up from the table and runs to the bathroom. after emitting the same sound and the same end result i'm now convinced my family has contracted the plague and a quarantine should now be in effect.

so i did what any panic stricken mother would do and scarily grilled them on what they put into their mouths that day.

and that's when sean told me about maggie moo and the 'cotton candy' ice cream.

after 20 minutes of google'ing 'blue neon poop' and 'maggie moo diarrhea' i learn by way of 'yelp reviews' that the cotton candy ice cream at maggie moo's (although so yum and tastes JUST LIKE REAL COTTON CANDY) can cause alarming blue poo.

it should say that on your receipt or something, because damn if i didn't shave 5 years off my life for the shear panic that my kids were dying by way of 'the blue death'. after 12 hours of some repeated trips to the toilet, and a night of severe gas and blue smurfskids on the undies i sent both of my healthy kids to school with the fear that the blue poo would be upon them once again.

so let this be a warning for those thinking of visiting maggie moo, she darn well causes the blue poo.

Friday, October 28, 2011

all in one day

last night was alex's first grade conference. it's a goal setting conference to discuss progress and goals for the rest of the year. alex and i sat down with her teacher and discussed very important first grade things. first her teacher laughed and said, 'wow, don't you two look alike'. i told her how i was the spitting image of her at that age. i told her that my grandparents often call alex 'carrie' by mistake as even after 27 20 years they still see me as that curly haired 6 year old. we also discussed things like what her teacher loves most about alex. 'she always follows the rules', she said. 'she always listens, pays attention, and that is the best thing a student can do for her teacher'. I beamed.

i also kind of smiled and shook my head. this child is me. i always followed the rules in school. i always listened, and i never wanted to disappoint or be in trouble. i mean, a few times the social butterfly in me earned me a seat outside the classroom for 'chatting' and a passed note was read in front of the class. but otherwise, ANGEL.

i wished sean was there to hear. he was doing something equally important (talking to important people about important things) i also wished i wasn't tearing up and acting like a total emotional wreck. i apologized and dabbed at my eyes, 'sorry, i'm just exhausted.' she smiled, 'you should be proud, she's a great kid'.

we then discussed her schoolwork, how she is in the top reading class and according to her teacher, 'I can't really come up with any necessary goals as she's doing great'. she then assigned her some extra projects to keep her challenged which included a book report, and the challenge of over-coming some of her 'shyness' by raising her hand and speaking up in class more often. also, something she acquired from yours truly.

alex can be challenging at times. she is emotional and stubborn. she is not the most independent child and she has a bit of a temper. but, she is also very smart like her dad and i'm convinced has his photographic memory and mixed with her mom's desire to be a 'people pleaser' she makes a great little student. i'm so proud of my little 6 year old.

now let's rewind an hour to where i picked up ian from school. i was approached by his teachers on tuesday with another issue. whenever ian's sign out sheet has a note 'see teacher', i never know what to expect. for instance on friday, sean picked him up and was told that he was running around the playground with his pants down chasing girls. i have never been so thankful to have asked sean to grab him that day. oh the embarrassment. but on this tuesday, the problem was this: 'ian, after 4-5 helpings of lunch is complaining of a stomach ache. we want to know how you'd like us to handle that.'

i'm not gonna lie. i laughed.

my sweet, caring, emotional, empathetic little boy is also a bruiser, a human wrecking ball, and he can eat like a grown man. he is most recently known for running into his room and super man flying onto his bed. when he hurts himself (which happens 90% of the time) he responds with, 'when am i ever gonna learn' crying through tears the phrase we say to him a million times in one week. also this week, during the hectic 30 minutes before we all leave the house was something that went a bit like this:

(immediately following a series of crashes and bangs and an overall sound of what can only be compared to an earthquake)

sean: ian, i just don't understand you. i cannot keep you safe.

ian: i wasn't even being crazy

(another serious of loud noises)

sean: ian, you are going to hurt yourself!

ian: no, i'm not

(tears and wails from ian as he apparently crashed into some cupboards)

sean (mumbling): i cannot keep you safe from yourself. sit on the stairs until it's time to go, i don't know what else to do to keep you alive.

anyway, back to the school sitch. i suggested they cut his helpings down to just 2nds or 3rds and if after a half an hour he is ethiopian style STARVING they could give him something else to eat but chances are, he will have long forgotten about food and be more interested in throwing large objects towards the ceiling, running in circles, and folding paper airplanes. sure enough it worked.

and today? 'Carrie, we did as you said and he's been doing much better'.

i love this preschool so much. for loving my crazy son for the good, the bad, and the weird he brings each day.

all in one day i find myself just so swollen with pride over alex's school report and at the same time oddly proud that ian is no longer eating himself sick at lunchtime.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

does this stuff just happen to me or am I the unknowing star of some reality tv show?

nothing ticks me off more than when good intentions go awry. when you make a concerted effort to do something good and it backfires. when you pump yourself up for something dreary and then it fails.

today = train wreck.

this morning, sean found me stretching and contorting my body in strange ways near the dining room table as we were getting ready to leave. he didn't ask questions probably because the look on my face was something resembling hate. if hate is a facial expression.

what i was doing, was stretching out my jeans so when I got into the car i wouldn't lose circulation to my lower extremities on my way to work. a friend today referred to my current predicament as 'the growth of my winter coat'. well, it's just nearly fall i'm not ready for a winter coat, muffin top or anything resembling it. so quickly, i packed my gym bag this morning. it's time to put a stop to this.

i was actually looking forward to it. taking a break from work, getting out in the fresh air and taking an hour for myself each day is good for my soul. it gives me more energy, it makes me happier, and it is the one thing i can do that is my choice in a days time.

a co-worker dropped by my desk around 11 today and with a look of, 'i'm gonna ask you anyway, even though you always flake on me' asked if i was going to hit the gym today. I say yes, WITH enthusiasm and point to the gym bag next to my desk and say 'I'M IN'. she says we should take the office bikes over and i politely decline because a)riding bikes in jeans makes my teeth hurt much like seeing people in flip flops and socks and b)i needed to hit the atm machine so opted to drive. also c)i'm lazy and working out is hard enough without riding a bike to get there.

after circling the parking lot 3 times i opt to live on the wild side and take a 4 hour 'visitor spot'. i mean, you can get towed but squeezing this workout in with an afternoon meeting looming was bringing up the anxiety monster in me. so i pulled in, put the car in park and hoped for the best. i think this is when karma swooped in, donkey kicked me in the gut, and then slapped me in the face.

I walked around the car to grab my gym bag out of the back. just then, another rule breaking citizen pulled in to the 4 hour visitor spot next to me. to allow him to park and get out of his car, I had to slightly shut my door to let him by. when i turned around i realized i had just shut my keys, my phone, and my gym bag in my car.

all doors locked.

after the gentlemen walked away with his gym bag in tow i stood there and stared at the car for a bit, tried to open each door three times each and then said a few words i won't repeat here. not knowing what to do i threw out some options to my own self. i could call sean, IN SALEM and maybe in an hour and a half he'd be here to what?, call the locksmith for me? i really didn't want to put up with his looks of, 'how did you let this happen' as if i did it on purpose because standing outside my locked car with a blouse in my hands in an illegal parking spot is super fun. i could call my dad but he's leaving for his big annual hunting trip today and nobody wants to stir up flashbacks of the time in high school i skipped school with friends, went skiing, and then my car died on the way down the mountain (also the day before his big annual hunting trip). because, that was not awesome.

just then a co-worker who i had also planned to meet up with walks by and says, 'it's so good to see you here! it's been awhile'. i look at her with sadness, holding a white blouse that had fallen out of my car in the shuffle. 'i don't think this is gonna cut it for the treadmill' I said.

luckily i was able to use her phone to call campus security who after just 25 long minutes in the crispy cold air came to my rescue with raised eyebrows as i was CLEARLY breaking the rules. they used a blood pressure type thing to crack my door just a tinch, and then slid a big pole in popping the locks for me. apparently, it was a record for the gentlemen who made it happen in less than 6 minutes time where their previous rescues were well into the 7 minute time frame.

so with my lunch break gone, and my spirit shattered i got back into my car and went back to work. not without doing a few deep squats to loosen up the jeans before settling in for the rest of the afternoon.

i'll try again tomorrow and maybe ride a bike over, or god forbid walk. and maybe today is the day there's a big fatty check in my mailbox for that new candid camera show that's out there filming my daily drama's. here's hoping.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The trials and tribulations of home ownership and a human wrecking ball.

there are days that i'd like to sell all i own, and move to an 800 square foot loft in the pearl district. i want cement floors throughout that I can sweep with a push broom in a giant drain into the center of the room. If they are really dirty, I'll hose them down. i want a couch, a chair and a television mounted on the wall AND NOTHING ELSE. we won't have toys, or tiny metal cars to puncture the bottom of our foot on. we'll live the simple, non-cluttered, minimalist lifestyle that does not coincide with child rearing.

so for fun, we'll go to the park and roam the streets of downtown. we'll live the city life and we'll have time to do this because we won't be raking up 9 giant bags of leaves, or replacing the floors in our bathrooms.

one can dream.

3 weeks ago, we wanted to do the responsible thing and upgrade our downstairs toilet to a more energy efficient model. that, and it couldn't handle our son. or, anything for that matter that required more than one square sheet of tissue paper. basically it was worthless. so on a saturday family outing to home depot we picked up a beautiful kohler thrown and left the store shaking our heads at the things you get excited about in your 30's.

sean is now a pro at replacing toilets and this being his 3rd installation thought it would be a 20 minute job and he'd be watching football by noon. hahahahaha.


basically it went like this:

1. sean removes toilet

2. sean begins swearing

3. i run into the bathroom and find him scraping the wood floor beneath the toilet WITH A SPOON. that stuff was coming up like chocolate pudding.

so after a brief assessment we realize the entire floor is not just dry rot, but wet rot. so we do what any responsible home-owner does and spent the next few days ignoring the problem. we thanked our lucky stars the floor did not give way while grandma was visiting and we shut the door and weighed our options. put the house up for sale? no. hire someone to come and charge us a million dollars? uh, no.

so we called my dad who over the course of the last three weeks has once again saved our bank account from a significant casualty. so now for steps 4-10

4. sean and dad tear out the floor. FUN!

5. it becomes clear special order wood is needed. YAY.

6. 2 weeks later we locate 'special wood' at parr lumber in albany for $8. SCORE.

7. sean barrels down I-5 with a 12 foot board sticking out the back of his pimp honda accord. TOTALLY SAFE.

8. sean and dad install new floor, replace tiles, and install toilet base. WE ARE ALMOST HOME FREE.

9. somehow during #8 (explanation vague) a hole was put into the sheet rock.

10. i arrive home after a few hours of errands hoping to find the project done, but instead come home to a cracked toilet tank in the middle of the garage floor and a very guilty looking 4 year old who apparently was 'helping'. SUPER.

so although i'm sleeping better knowing raccoons can no longer crawl into my house at will, we still have a hole in the wall and half a toilet which SURPRISE SURPRISE requires a special order replacement tank for a mere $80 extra dollars. here's the crime scene. I took the opportunity to draw a tank and the line below the toilet use to be the raccoon and opossum's entry site. I KNOW THEY LIVED IN THERE FOR A WHILE. with the spiders.

thanks to my dad for getting us through this disaster and thanks to sean for remaining relatively calm and patient during this difficult time.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The week according to my iPhone

in honor and respect of mr. Steve Jobs, here is my week according to my iPhone.

here we have a summary of what my 2.5 hours in the car looks like. speedometer at zero, break lights as far as the eye can see, and rain.

look what we have here. a collection of my childhood barbies and clothes strewn about the room by the beloved SOB. arms and legs everywhere. i might as well have bought him a $79 chew toy, and allowed him to crap on all my childhood memories.

a happier moment this week where ian asked if we could take a photo kissing. he's only 4, it's still acceptable, right? RIGHT?

i done chopped my hair off.

my gap toothed girl taking a bath, all smiles. love.

and this here sums up my week of words with friends. kicking me while I'm down (100 points) with a bunch of vowels. If only e-i-e-i-o from old mcdonald were a word.

Monday, September 26, 2011

the sick is back.

it's that glorious time of year again. the time of year that northwester's prepare for their 9 month hibernation by retreating into their homes clutching their bottles of vitamin d (and other drugs) their backs into the corner crouched on their hind legs in the fetal position, rocking back and forth waiting to live again. or wait, maybe that's just me. i am reminded that for those optimistic types this time of year brings that crisp cold air, crackling fires, beautiful fall foliage, homemade soups and fall tv premiers. for 'others' it brings sadness, a deep desire to sell all you own and buy a one way ticket to somewhere, silent fights over the thermostat and last but not least, it brings the sick.

each year, like clockwork as the kids return to school (which i'm not positive is really school but a giant, airless room where kids hold hands, cough in each others faces, and smear snot on every germ adhering surface) i wait 7-10 days for the symptoms to start.

and sure enough. they came.

september thru may we spend the weekends seeking indoor activity for the kids, we take them to children's museums, omsi (a hands on, snot science establishment), and any enclosed plastic padded jungle gym we can find. we travel to grocery stores with antibacterial wipes to swipe the shopping carts down in hopes of eliminating just half of the microscopic vermin waiting to pounce. then, monday thru friday we juggle sick kids and work and sit at our desks waiting for the phone to ring and wonder if fever, cold, flu, pink eye, or the swine will be the culprit this time.

i love this time of year.

last week, a co-worker PISSED at another co-worker decided to park her sick face at my desk and complain in between sneezes. i mean, how ignorant to come to work infecting those around you right? popping cough drops one by one, she bitched. and today, i thanked her personally for spreading the love and with the turn of my heal left her desk with her leftover bag of hall's mentho-lyptus. in cherry flavor.

to make matters worse, ian has been showing signs of what my grandmother (who wrote a book on parenting and teaches classes on the subject) calls 'indulgent behavior' by claiming he's sick, or his stomach hurts at the drop of a hat. it is usually following a request to brush his teeth, or pick up his toys where he will flail to the ground in a fit of pain and grab his legs and cry, 'MY LEGS'.

the kid knows his mother is a)deathly afraid of 'the sick' and b)is a self admitted (mild) hypochondriac. in other words, he get's attention for this behavior in the form of me kind of flailing to the ground in a fit of 'woe is me' claiming the world may be ending and how will i juggle life and work and the sick. all, while sick. people call me dramatic.

i need to work on that.

so, we deliver him to school each day with stomach aches, headaches, and feelings of near death and hope for the best. we've talked with his teachers and received permission to do so and i've gotten pretty good at driving to work and getting through my day, all with my fingers crossed.

this morning ian stumbled into our room rubbing his eyes and in the sweetest (i'm about to melt your heart) voice said he 'hates mondays and doesn't feel good'. he then crawls into my lap, the lap i just drug out of bed after wavering for 15 minutes between snoozes on whether my cough was bad enough to call in sick and says, 'can't you just stay home with me?'

i have never wanted to indulge him so bad in my life. so, here we go. andy williams sang it's the most miserable wonderful time of the year. we'll see about that. please feel free to disregard all posts until may unless you'd like to join in on what will surely be the diary of a crazed woman.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


whenever someone asks me how old my kids are I say, 4 & 6. not like, 'eh they are oh......4 and 6' all nonchalant as if it's old news. instead it's more like, '4 & 6!' while slightly yelling and followed by a million invisible exclamation points. i mean, can you believe it? i'm reminded of this monthly as one of my passwords (OK, it's for my water and sewer bill just go ahead and break in and pay the heck out of it if you want) is '2 and 4'. how did 2 and 4 become 4 and 6?

how did i get here?

yesterday, alex started first grade. and it still feels like just yesterday she was tugging on my pant leg in the kitchen signing 'more' with her itty bitty fingers and then saying 'dee doo' (thank you) after handing her a drink.

last year, i cried for days before school started. i dropped her off, walked her to her room and was quickly 'shoo'd' away with a, 'mom i got this'. i had bought her
several new school outfits, a new backpack and lunch box. her hair was freshly cut and i left her there with all her baby teeth still in tact. i mean, she couldn't even read! i walked quickly from the school swallowing my sobs until i made it safely to my car.

this year, i left for work before the bus came and sean saw her on. she walked herself to her new classroom in the 1 new dress we managed to snag at target while picking up laundry soap. like a pro, she braved a new teacher and new classmates. when i picked her up that afternoon and asked her how her day was she said, 'you know...good. it's school. i only had 1 recess' with a bit of a lisp as she has one big fat front tooth and another dangling. she waved to her friends, dropped a few steps behind me and that was that.

how quickly my life has transformed from diaper bags and bottles, strollers and burp clothes to school, and homework. and soccer practice. and summer journals. what? I am nowhere ready for this but when in the world are we ever truly ready for big change. i look at ian daily with a feeling of loss as i prepare myself to next year walk him to his classroom and have him wave me off as if to say, 'you can't do this for me mom. just go'.

i know it's coming, like a giant freight train. and no matter how many times i sneak into his room at night and wrap myself around his tiny body, it's never tiny enough.

i'm thankful for work this week, for deadlines and due dates. i'm thankful for our busy schedule of work and soccer practice, birthday parties and distractions to keep me feeling like life is 'normal' when deep inside i feel like it's anything but.

being a working mom, i'm used to turning my children over each day. i'm used to seeing them off, and spending hours away from them at a time. and you'd think that the 'dreadful' day i like to call it, when I first had to leaver her at 4 months old would have prepared me for these milestones but it didn't. before you glance below at a photo sean took just moments before i had the biggest emotional breakdown of my entire life, please take into consideration the following:

  • i was 25 pounds from pre baby weight
  • sleep deprived
  • owned a completely inadequate camera that used, wait for it....FILM.
  • i obviously (apparently) WAY over-did it on the concealer and look far more like a geisha than a financial analyst.
  • i'm lie smiling here because i was no kidding worried that i'd forever remember this day with horror, sadness and the 2 boxes of tissues i went through if i didn't smile

and now, i just see a fatty and a faker and so, with that...

and today?

it's pretty clear to me that alex was much more ready for first grade than she was for daycare that day. and here i am smiling for the camera yet again when all i want to do is cry, and steal my own child away forever.

i'm so proud of my girly. i hope that every year as we take these photos we are still smiling, that she still lets me hug and kiss her (eventually in private i assume) and that i always get to have a say in the first day of school outfit.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Saturday, August 20, 2011

2011 Kolmer Family Vacation

i think we drove 830+ miles in the past 4 days. during the drive, i'd chuckle out loud at two things. first, a feeling of nostalgia as i was actually living the stories played by the griswold's in the 'vacation' movies. no, we didn't go to europe. no, we didn't go to wally world. but we went to southern oregon, and these kids said some funny things.

after 5 minutes on the road, I had torn a piece of scrap paper from alex's workbook and began scribbling the commentary amidst our 830+ miles and 16 combined hours of car time.

our first stop was 3 1/2 hours south in winston at wildlife safari. what an amazing experience to drive amongst free wildlife in what felt like the africa safari. the zebras, giraffe's and rhino's ran free. some others (bears, hippo's and other) were behind fences and I do believe those pesky and disgruntled ostrich's belonged their too. thank god for electric windows.


'dad, are you a monkey liker?' -ian

'look at those beauuuutttiiifffuuuul butts!' -caden (about the zebras)

next we drove another hour south to grants pass, where we settled in at a super classy la quinta inn. This (according to the kids) was the highlight of their trip due to the indoor swimming pool. who knew 4 days of fun filled activity could be substituted with a dank and over chlorinated indoor pool? we had a nice dinner at a local brew pub where we were served free flights of beer much needed after 4 hours in a car with three kids.


'can you guys be quiet so Ian can go to sleep? -carrie
'what if I need to sniff really loudly? -caden
'well, that would be fine.' -carrie

'i've never been to a hotel before' -caden
'it's just like staying at someone else's house but nobody really lives there.' -alex

(at restaurant)
'can we go?' -ian
'we need to pay the bill first' -sean
'who's bill?' -Ian

day 2 we headed even further south to the oregon caves. i'm so incredibly proud and impressed that all three kids (without complaint) maneuvered 500+ stairs (some very steep) and over 1 mile of terrain all within temperatures of near 40 degrees. we were oftentimes in the dark with bats looming overhead. they loved the experience and even humored us for a mile hike afterwards.

later that night we made camp at our good friends parents house in medford and enjoyed some fountain play, crochet on the lawn, and a lovely visit with our gracious hosts.

day 3 was spent in central point/ashland/jacksonville with a dear friend of mine ali (and her husband jeff) who i've known since high school, roomed with in college and have kept in touch ever since. she has a spectacular family and we were lucky enough to spend the day with them enjoying breakfast, a jaunt thru lithia park and later, a boat ride on their brand new boat.


'look at that old car' -sean
'oh man, that must be from the 1970's' -alex
(it was clearly from long before then)

(jeff to carrie at breakfast while enjoying tri-tip steak omelet, and biscuits and gravy)
'i'm on a juice diet. trying to cut weight for elk season'
'how's that going for ya?' -carrie
'i'm kind of loose with it' -jeff

'BURP' -caden
'excuse you!' -sean
'thanks' -caden
'you don't get it' -sean
'hhmm' -caden

day 4, we were up and at em early for our last excursion CRATER LAKE. it took us 2 hours to get there but was well worth the trip. it really makes you realize how fantastically beautiful oregon is. we were reminded of this when we ran across a motorcyclist who asked us to take a photo of him with the snow in the background. He said, 'you live here?' we said, 'yes'. his response, 'damn, you have a beautiful backyard'. it's true, i complain many months of the year about the drear, the rain, the clouds. but it is worth every second for just this week of pure wonderment. crater lake is a must see for anybody and i was so happy to share this with the kids, and sean who was visiting for his first time.

the steepness of the cliffs, the height at which we hovered above the water (i'll be honest) scared me. i envisioned the kids falling over the edge, tripping and flinging over the hill (i know, i'm psycho). i see heinous injuries before they happen, or ever will. who knew that it's size and the height at which we perched would inflict a panic attack? i have these frequently, and usually can breath/talk myself out of them and this one was no different. had i had a paper bag, i would have been the chick in the corner rocking and breathing with my eyes squeezed shut but to no avail i had lives to save. i clutched the kids hands tighter, held onto their shirts, and sean shook his head at his lunatic of a wife.

we circled half the lake, stopping at various viewpoints for photos. we'd point and stare in awe of this giant hole in the earth. it's brilliant blue, the history, all amazing. i'll be honest, getting 3 kids in and out of their seats every few minutes got tiring and soon we set up camp for a picnic to rest for a bit before our 5 hour trip home.


'we are 5 minutes from crater lake guys!' -carrie
'eh, well. i sort of feel like riding a horse instead....MOO' -caden
'?' -carrie

'most of the volcanoes exploded when the dinosaurs were alive' -alex
'yep' -ian
'uh huh' -caden
(and this was the first time the 3 agreed all week)

'i've seen 5 different license plates. there's 6, 7.....8' -sean
'yeah, this place is like...a national deal' -carrie

(at picnic area about some fellow campers)
'look at those people, they are having a garage sale' -ian

(thinking she's talking about the crater)
'okay everybody, this is amazing. i think my tooth might fall out this week' -alex

we made one last stop for gas, got gatorades for the kids (bad idea) and an orange fanta for myself at which sean scoffed and said it looked disgusting. I drank it with glee and maybe moaned a few times in it's deliciousness. 10 minutes down the road when he got thirsty, he took a giant swig, looked at me with a grin and said, 'this is not good, it's just wet'. moral of the story is: nobody can deny the orange fanta.

from there, we endured a beautiful drive along the umqua river to roseburg where we all lost steam, and damn near got angry with each other. the iPad had lost it's luster, the seats were no longer comfortable, and the snacks no longer tasty. the bathroom breaks got old, real old. and that's when from the very back row of the car, ian says 'i'm just gonna pull all of this stuff out', and that's when we just didn't care anymore. it wasn't long after that sean slapped a dollar bill on the dash of the car and DARED caden to stop talking for a few exits, and slighty before he slammed on the breaks, pulled to the side of the road and gave ian the look of hate. this kolmer happy vacation was o.v.e.r.

for more pictures of the 'happier times', please look here.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ian Patrick Kolmer, NICU, ER, MBA.

so far, these are ian's 'credentials'. he received his 'NICU' when he was a few weeks old and the medical and panda express (ambulance) bills started rolling in. we joked that he wouldn't be getting a college education due to the medical bills in his first week of life and we'd surely be paying off the debt of his 1 week stay at OHSU until he was 34. in addition, the yearly visits to doernbecker for hearing tests and screenings would cut into any contributions we could make into a college fund.

last week, ian furthered his education beyond NICU and received a degree in 'ER'. just one short week after i stupidly proclaimed my shock that ian (our rough and tumble, crazy, can't ever walk boy) had never had stitches or some other serious injury aside from your average goose egg.

i'm now eating my words as 8 stitches slowly dissolve into Ian's head.

thirty five minutes before sean and I were to leave for edgefield to enjoy some golf and a fleet foxes concert with friends, cries from the cul-de-sac caused a change of plans. our neigbor (age 6) who the day before had her training wheels removed from her bike, plowed into ian (on his bike) causing him to hit the pavement. then, she ran over his face.

15 minutes later, we are in the ER.

the aftermath

day 2

day 3

day 4

for his quick recovery and his bravery, I'm awarding him with an honorary 'MBA' (major bad ass) degree. what a sport, what a bruiser.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A special Day, An act of kindness

9 years ago today, I woke up on a beautiful June day. I nudged two of my best friends who were still sleeping and said, 'It's Today!'

Back then, 'Today' was my wedding day. The day went so quick, that if I try to remember all the details it appears like a commercial you fast forward through. It was here, and it was gone. But each year as we celebrate our anniversary I like to sit and reflect and remember everything I can about that special day. I thought it would be fun to make a list of my top most memorable moments. In no particular order:

1. The immense feeling of love I felt that day as all our friends and family came together to celebrate us.

2. All my girls, and mothers, and sisters getting our hair done together in eager anticipation for the day.

3. My grandfather standing before us, such an incredible example of a good man, husband and father asking us to 'repeat after me'.

4. The quiet and 'private' moment we setup where Sean could see me in my dress for the first time. The look on his face, and the giggles and tears from my bridal party who spied on us from around the corner.

5. Walking down the aisle with my dad who sensing my nervousness, patted my arm and just smiled.

6. Brent's (Sean's brother) best man speech. We tease him now, but having him be there standing by Sean's side, and being THAT nervous was so endearing.

7. Dancing with my dad for the first time in my life where I wasn't standing on his toes.

8. A photo I have and still cherish of me with all of my girlfriends. Some of which I've grown closer with, some who our relationship has remained the same, and others who over the years we've grown apart.

9. The moment during our ceremony where the ice sculpture deliverer dumped a bucket of ice that echoed throughout the entire hall and I realized that 'weddings are never perfect'.

10. My first dance with Sean as a married lady and realizing that I could not be any luckier.

11. Watching our family members approach the DJ and request songs like, 'celebration' and 'YMCA' and have them turned down. They sure did stay true to my 'do not play list'.

12. Our friend Darren, and one of Sean's groomsmen removing his dress shirt during a dance and revealing a t-shirt with 'I fear no beer' and then watching him use the dress shirt as a prop in his dance moves.

13. Looking around wide eyed for my grandparents as the song 'baby got back' played. Feeling the judgement, but only caring a little.

14. Looking around during the reception at nearly everyone on the dance floor, jumping and dancing and smiling and thinking, 'now, THIS is a party'.

15. Driving to our hotel, IN my Honda Prelude, STILL wearing my wedding dress.

16. Starving to death (as most brides do), ordering pizza, and falling asleep with the box on my chest (in my wedding dress still).

I knew that day as Sean and I stood together that I loved him. I had no idea how much. I had no idea that with the birth of each of our children it would seem to double and triple. As the years pass we've matured, we gain more respect for each other every day, more understanding, and strengthen how we operate as a team. This is not to say we have not had our rough patches, that we are perfect, or that we both don't have days where we want to ring the others neck.

However, if Sean can make it 9 years screwing the toothpaste lid on for me, and I can pick up the clothes off the bathroom floor for him, and together we can survive this thing called parenting I think we'll be alright.

Today, after a frustrating afternoon, a horrible commute and two stops to pick up the kids, I drug them into the local Fred G Meyer for an anniversary card. I stomped around the store, my hands wrapped tightly around each of their hands as they bounced and flailed and asked for a new pillow pet. I regretted my tardiness in this task. I still had two more stops before home, and a mountain of laundry to do, bags to pack, and food to buy for our 4th of July weekend. Ian's birthday is in 4 days and I have nothing for him. I even maybe laugh out loud a little at the irony of the cards I was reading which said, 'Happy Anniversary'. I thought they should say something like, 'Tired Anniversary' or 'Wish we could celebrate our Anniversary', or 'Let's at least shoot for 5 minutes of adult conversation on our anniversary'.

I looked for the shortest possible line to pay and ended up in a line with just one woman in front of me. As I dig for my wallet I see the MOUNTAIN of clothes and accessories she's purchasing and the (for lack of a name on his name badge) potential brand new employee ringing her up. My eyes grow wide, if it were possible steam may have come from my ears and I prayed for calm, peace, and serenity.

All I wanted to do was beat Sean home so I could write on his card and un-wrap the take-out I planned to pick up on the way home. Maybe if I had the time to put it on a plate (because that is less ghetto) I'd feel better.

The woman glanced over at me and reads the cover to my card which of course read, 'Happy Anniversary'. She then looks down at the bouncing bundles of energetic JOY who were pleading for a snack and says to me, 'Is that all your're buying?' I say, 'Yes, they were all out of straight jackets'. She laughs and takes the card from me, and asks the cashier to scan it for her. 'Have a happy Anniversary' she said.

I thanked her profusely and I may or may not have teared up at this random act of kindness. I try to perform these acts spontaneously throughout the year and this was the first time the karma was blatantly returned. And it was in a moment when I needed it most.

I made it home with our brown bag of food, a card, and some renewed perspective. I don't think that woman will ever know the profound effect she had on me. But I do plan to pay it forward.

To Sean, who after 9 years is still putting up with me I thank you deeply. I was so lucky to find such a dedicated, driven, and 'mostly' patient man to live this crazy life with. Nobody knows me better or deeper and there is nobody I'd rather deal with the bad or celebrate the good with. I write this in hopes that one year from now we are just as happy, and maybe a little tan after a well deserved week somewhere tropical and relaxing where children are not allowed.