Monday, January 30, 2012

Big Pink

One of my fondest memories as a child (and there were many) was fighting with my two sisters over 'Big Pink',

Big Pink, was my mom's huge furry robe. To say it was fluffy or plush would be an understatement. I'd like you to think of 'Kitty' from Monsters, Inc. This guy is the closet thing I can think of to explain big pink. Minus the horns of course.

My sisters and I would fight over that thing all the time. We wanted to be the first to wrap that monstrosity around us feeling the cool silk liner on the inside. After many years, the liner started to detach itself from the robe and we'd find ourselves climbing into two layers of softness. 

On Friday nights in particular, we'd wait in anticipation to see if Mom would come down for family movie night wearing it, or if it was fair game which would send the three of us girls racing up the stairs clawing our way past each other to reach it first.

Awww, Big Pink.

Over the years, Big Pink started to deteriorate until one day my mom had to toss her. I must have been in college at the time as the separation anxiety I felt was minimal despite my love for her. I assume she was out of site out of mind and my mom just quietly disposed of her.

I still think about her from time to time and today I had a giant warm childhood memory hit me with a wave of nostalgia as I covered my sick little girl into her bed for a nap. She whispered through fatigue, fever, and a 
Tylenol coma that she wants, 'big pink'. 

Big pink still lives, just in blanket form, and from the nearby target store. I sit here wishing I had another daughter to re-live those moments from my mom's perspective where her girls fought over not plastic expensive toys, or video games but a giant pink, hole filled robe.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

a week or more in iPhone photos

so there is this picture that was taken on our recent trip to black butte and it's awesome. it's so awesome, i can't wait to share it. however, it's on my real camera which only get's downloaded in a blue moon. so until then, enjoy these.

here is my week in iPhone photos.

Ian, (from his sick bed) made me play-doh lunch. Looks good eh?

Alex is now reading on her own, silently. Which allows me to do something fantastic! Read alone, silently.

Ian and Beck's friendship begins to blossom.

A typical day, a typical moment, my typical kids.

I pulled over one early morning on the way to work to snap this. The picture does not do the beauty justice. What a sight.

Tooth #5! Death by cantaloupe.

Ian thanks his sister for finding his long lost buddy! Hiding Place you ask? In the bottom of Ian's closet in my wedding keepsake box. OF COURSE! 
A terrible scene left by two dogs. Yes, that's my new carpeting folks. And thanks Stanley Steemer for your prompt arrival.

My nephew

This is what it means to live with a man. Socks have a hole? Shoes have broken soles? Throw them in the tiniest trash can in the house. Brilliant!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The not so shiny, sparkly, and glittery stuff.

Dear Carrie & Sean,

Just writing you a note, since I miss you at pick up time. It was another rough day for Ian, and I am not sure what is going on. Today he continued to touch people near their private parts, was potty talking, and burped directly into teacher Julie's face and thought it was funny.

If I can give you some advice as a teacher, mother, and grandmother I think his smile and charm have got him far in his short life. I think 'love & logic' is an excellent approach and he may need some tough love.

Please know I am only trying to help. Ian is such a great kid, he is just going through a rough patch and needs firm and constant direction for awhile. 

This is the letter we received from his preschool this week. When I first read it, this is what I heard;

Dear Carrie & Sean,

Just writing you a note since I'm never here when you drop off and pick up. Since he is one of the first here and last to leave I hardly get a chance to talk to you. In fact, I barely know you exist. Ian is not just here for preschool but before and after extended care as opposed to some of the other children who have mothers who can raise their own kids.

Ian has been a total shit lately and it's all your fault. Your too easy on him, and instead of punishing him in the 1 hour a day you have with him, you are letting him get away with murder. Please, in the time you do not have to parent your child please read 'love & logic' which should give you some tools you obviously do not have.

I know I'm being dramatic, it's what I do. But that was my initial response. There is SO much guilt involved in being a working mother. And just in case anyone isn't sure, (as friends have commented on this in the past) this is not my 'choice'. Had I the 'choice' to be home with my kids I would. But we are not all so lucky to have that choice. So I've done the best I can, and sometimes SURPRISE! It isn't enough. 

A friend of mine keeps a blog and recently wrote a post titled, the scraps of motherhood. This is a person who get's my life, and more times than I can count over the past 3 years has been my lifeline into the light. It's her and I that swear we'll start a club titled, 'extra-curricular activities against working moms' as we've scoured the internet simultaneously looking for dance, karate, and soccer we could enroll the kids in that wasn't on Tuesdays at 3pm. It's her that I text from my car, fighting tears when I forgot to send Alex with her lunch, or for the umpteenth time had to turn down classroom volunteering or chaperoning a field trip. We have both been through a lot in the past few years and picked each other up when we were down, offered a laugh when needed, but most importantly we've been there to say, 'i know it's hard. it's the hardest. you can do it, you are doing it, and your doing a good job'. 

It was these words, her words that got me through this one. 

After I had some time to let this letter sink in, I did what I always do and came down to a level of sanity and because I cannot change the amount of time I have with Ian I will have to come up with a new game plan in how I spend that time. 

Of course we have weekends to provide 'firm and constant direction', and in the evenings it will have to be less about me and filling the void I have from being away from him and more about him and steering him in the right direction. I guess.

Most evenings I get home at 6:15, start dinner and from that moment on I start my barking. 

'Alex, unpack your lunch'

'Ian, take off your shoes and coat and PLEASE HANG YOUR COAT UP rather than tossing it in the air'

'Alex, get out your homework'

'Ian, check Chips food and water bowl'

meanwhile, dinner burns and festers.

Some days Sean arrives home and we quickly eat dinner and head up for baths. Other days (and these are frequent as of late) I receive a text that he's 'running late', or 'won't be home til after bed'. These are harder days as I rush them through and maybe/maybe not give a bath.  My #1 priority is leave enough time Alex's 15 minutes of nightly reading. If I don't do this, I receive notes from her teacher like, 'what happened this week' and 'please make sure your making time for reading!'. Through it all there is still a lot of barking going on here regarding 'settling down', 'quieting our voices', 'stop fighting', 'Ian please stop running', 'Alex comb your hair', 'Ian, brush your teeth'. All the while the clock is ticking in my ear TICK TICK TICK. It's now 8:11 and the kids really need to be in bed at 7:45 latest so we can yank them out at 6:45am without too much of a meltdown.

With quick kisses and 'I love you's', I tuck them in and leave their rooms to go and clean up the hurricane that occurred in the chaos of the last hour. I at this point feel defeated, and sad, and lonely for their conversation. I then rehearse all the things I could have done differently, how I could have made better use of my time, and how I could have given each of them more. And then I wonder how I can possibly do it again the next day.

So you may understand that I'd rather gloss over the running, kicking, coat throwing, the burping, potty talk, and toy fighting because I do enough barking as it is. And the guilt of working, piled with the guilt of rushing through my only time with them, piled with the guilt of it not being enough is just sometimes crippling.

When I decided to have kids, I was afraid of being able to care for a newborn. There is so much emphasis on having a 'baby'. The long nights, the lack of sleep, the inability to get out of the house in less than 4 hours, the absence of a social life'. The newborn/baby stage was a blast to me. Taking care of physical needs is a piece of cake! Nobody talks about the really hard stuff. What comes next. Raising a responsible, respectful and caring person, citizen, and human being. That stuff is intense. It is only now as my kids approach 5 and 7, that I feel I have entered the throws of parenthood.

I must say that I love Ian's school. With the time and energy I have put into finding my kids good quality care over the years I could have swam around the world by now, but it's important. And his school and teachers mean the world to me. Despite my initial feelings on the letter we received, I can only commit to doing better and thank them for their caring so much for him and his well-being to make this an issue.

Today, after just 24 minutes at work I received a call that Ian had thrown up at school. My initial response was 'oh my god, i just got here', and 'i have so much work to do', and mostly, 'my poor poor baby'. but now, after having some time to process and as he sleeps quietly on the couch I think, 'oh joy!, a whole day with my sweet boy'. It's the little things.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

He's got it, ooh baby he's got it. Okay it's not cool what he has, but it is what it is.

Funny Get Well Ecard: Maybe you'll start feeling better if you stop reading WebMD.

i love in fact, i love it so much i've thought of sending cards to myself. like this one. i can't even tell you how many times in the 13+ years I've known sean he's said these words to me; HAVE YOU BEEN READING WEBMD AGAIN?

it's true. i'll get on there, type in my minor ailment or kids minor ailment and BINGO! I have glioblastoma. sounds bad, right?

kids are bound to inherit traits from their parents. it's also just the luck of the draw that they get some of the good, and some of the bad. 

ian got my mild (i like to call it mild because it sounds better) germaphobic tendencies and moderate (as opposed to severe) case of hypochondria. you'd think he took his fair share of challenges with one bum ear. 


so most days, he's sick. and now his teachers know to ignore this. and unfortunately for him, unless he has a fever or is vomiting, his not feeling well comments go where the boy who cried wolf cries go to. nowhere.

he comes home upset if someone at school has a cold, claiming 'they coughed on me and now i'm sick'. or grocery store visits end with disgust when he wants to sit in the cart, but 'there are germs all over it'. 

it's cute right? not when he's flailing on the floor in the morning before school pretending to be hit with the plague.

sean isn't as sensitive to it as i am. but i too have physical symptoms of illness when those around me do. i live in fear that whatever bug someone has is coming for me so i end up feeling ill 80% of the time. when i turned this age not to be spoken of i finally admitted this condition to myself and therefore have come to terms with it in a way. and just like i've learned to breathe myself out of a panic attack. i can now talk my way off the 'i'm about to die from a varying number of diseases' ledge. so when ian is concerned that the tiny red bump on his arm is the first symptom of the next 'swine flu', i can sympathize.

ian however, has taken this to a whole new level. 

now whenEVER he's mis-behaving (which is frequent as he nears 4 1/2) he claims to have been hit with a 'naughty bug'. he goes on to explain that the naughty bug lives inside him and the other kids gave it to him. the bug is telling his body to be naughty and 'sorry, mom. i can't fix it'. 

later he said, 'is there medicine for naughty bugs?'

last night in the bath as he was splashing around and ignoring my plee's to stop slopping water all over the floor he simply and nonchalantly shrugged his shoulders and said 'naughty bug mom'. then for good measure, he coughed. then wiped his dry nose. 

i think if i wasn't over the moon in love with this child, i would classify this as annoying. annoying is when he visits the toilet in the night and forgets to lift the lid, sleepily pee'ing all over the toilet and floor. annoying is getting up at 6am and persistently begging to go downstairs. annoying is growing up too fast and squirming when i want to rock and snuggle him.

Annoying, is strategically placing all your toy cars and planes in a 'deathtrap' formation for mom to ski down with a full laundry basket.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Four Year old's perspective on MLK day

Denver was kind of a while ago, but is still worth mentioning. Warning: this post could be classified as a novel.

When life get's busy, and when my list of to do's get's overwhelming I for some reason come here. It's like writing it all down somehow makes things organized or if the past is documented than maybe I can focus on the future.

Kind of like how I could never study in college unless my dorm room was clean. Or even now I can't relax unless the house is picked up. It's a sickness.

I blame my mother.

December was beyond busy. It was a month packed full of fun, but mixed in with the holidays it I believe pushed me over the edge a little. I moved past 'stressed' to having scary panic attacks and heart palpitations which lead to a doctor visit that resulted in a 'try to remove some stress in your life' talk.

For someone with a full time job and two kids you initially say, 'YEAH RIGHT' but it's true. I may have over-did it.

A weekend trip to Seattle for some needed girl time was followed by a weekend in Denver. In between there was a lot of packing and shopping and gift wrapping and planning. This trip was short notice and may have grown from an imminent need for Sean and I to have a break together. In our 'almost' ten years of marriage we have been away together exactly twice. Once for a wedding (3 days) and once to Seattle (one night) so you can probably understand that after 6+ years with little people running our lives we were beyond ready for a breather.

So, we scanned the country for not too far places with not to expensive flights and unanimously agreed to go and visit Sean's sister Lauren in Denver, CO. It didn't hurt that Sean's beloved Chicago Bears were playing and who'd miss a chance to see Tim Tebow down on one knee kicking the Bears arse's.

We flew in early on a Friday morning and spent the day walking around downtown Denver. It really is a charming City. The people are friendly, the buildings unique, and the sunny skies overhead were beautiful. We popped into a pub for lunch had a beer (or three) which reminded us of our elevation.

Sean doing his 'Tebow' move. Choreography credit goes to Chad Bartley who provided Internet imagery for inspiration. 

Tebow #2 in front of the baseball stadium

Weird but cool sculpture. 

Once Lauren was off work, we ventured out again and landed at a Brazilian restaurant I like to refer to as 'meat, meat, and more meat'. Really, it is called Rodizio's. We went hungry, and excited with the promise of men walking around with various kinds of meat skewered on large swords. Who wouldn't get excited about that.

The pawn of gluttony and the culprit of our pain

We started off slow with a salad bar and eased into the meat carnival. You had this little red/green puck thing you'd flip when you were ready for more meat. Green was GO and Red was, slow down or 'come back later'.  Sean kept flipping to green and Lauren and I struggled to keep up with the slabs of tri-tip, salmon, garlic beef (OH THE GARLIC BEEF!) and bacon wrapped shrimp was sliced onto our plates.

That's when it happened.

We got the meat sweats. Our faces flushed from wine and meat we started to slow down. Our puck was red unless garlic beef man came by to which we'd beg for more. It was one of my lower moments in life. And then Lauren and I ordered dessert.

After hobbling to the train, our stomachs full and aching I realized I had pushed the limit. I spent the next 6-8 hours lying in bed freezing, then the meat fever would come again, and then the cold. It cycled like this for munch of the night my stomach clenched and throbbing.

I blamed the meat, I blamed the wine, and I blamed the elevation. Lastly, I just sucked it up and blamed myself.

I woke up feeling tired but ok and perfectly well enough to move forward with our already planned road trip to Breckenridge. Lauren made sure that my dream and an item on my bucket list was fulfilled by riding up a gondola in a quaint little snow village.

It was a beautiful drive. We saw old gold panning buildings, lakes frozen over where people sat ice fishing, mountain after mountain of snow packed valley's and above it all the beautiful sun shined.

Breckenridge, CO

Breckenridge, CO
The town of Breckenridge was adorable. The main road lined with cute little shops and restaurants. We huffed and puffed around the small town gasping for air as the elevation was intense. We reluctantly decided we should 'probably eat' even though we were all still full and ill from the previous nights gluttony. And really, I just wanted to sit down and catch my breath.

Next we took the awesome and surprisingly FREE gondola ride up to the upper ski lodges. The view was breathtaking. The picture taken through a horrible scratched plastic gondola wall does not do it justice.

Later that night, we rallied. And I mean RALLIED because any one of us probably would have been perfectly content throwing on our sweats and curling up in front of the TV but we don't get much time to spend together, and we were on vacation! And in Denver! So we did what anyone would do and went to a local hot spot called, The Tilted Kilt. I think it should have been called, the non-existent kilt. Or, the too small shirt. Or maybe even, 'oh my gosh where are these girls clothes'. However, a place that dresses their girls in scantily clad outfits, serves mediocre food and serves beer in large personal beer dispensers is sure to drag in a fun crowd. It also drug in the large population of Bears fans that were there to see the big game too.

We walked around downtown, passing a few of the Bears players and a lot of decked out fans. People were hooting and hollering and yelling 'BEAR DOWN' and I think if Sean could decide his heaven it would have been there. In those bear fan lined streets.

Day 3
Game Day! I'll be honest. This was originally the part of the trip I was not looking forward to. I don't love or hate football. It just is. When it's on in our house, I'm usually puttering around after the kids to give Sean space or cooking food. I don't sit down and pay attention so really after all these years still don't REALLY get it. I try.

So on this day, with a lot of money invested in tickets I was sorta 'WHA WHA' about the whole thing. Plus, it was freezing cold and I hate freezing cold.

But something crazy happened. First we went to Sam's #3. To say this place is good is an understatement. In fact, only a picture can really do our experience justice.

See? There's bacon in my Bloody Mary.

Second, I really got into this game. The fans around us were great and energetic, there were fireworks, sky-divers, fighter jets, blonde girls on horses, and the noise was incredible. I mean, the Bears lost. No, they really threw it away. But we got to see Tim Tebow do his thing and then equally exciting we got to see the thousands of fans freak out about it.

We headed from the game right to the airport and prepared for reality. We really did have a great weekend together and with his sister. I'm so glad we did it, despite the work and preparation to get there.

Thanks so much to my parents for giving us this weekend away and who after the couple days with our darling kids, still loved them...barely.