Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Side Bar

As a side bar to the Great Wolf Lodge trip.....

Coulter and I were snuggling in bed on the morning of our trip. He looked up and saw a round thing with a light. "Mom, is that a fire thingy?" I told him it was. He then said, "What's it for?" I explained that it was to let us know if there was a fire or smoke so we would be safe. Coulter, still looking confused said, "Why? They don't have an oven here." Our's goes off anytime you turn the oven on.... I had to explain that it's to let you know if there is a real fire or smoke. He's always thought it was just to indicate that the oven was being used.

Great Wolf Lodge



We went to the Great Wolf Lodge for Coulter's birthday. We ran the kids ragged. I think I ran 100 flights of stairs the first day alone. Honestly! I counted up all the slides and the times I went up and it was close to 100 flights. God only knows how many the kids ran. The water slides and whole park were amazing. The hotel, ahhhh, not so amazing.

Check in is a zoo. We got there at about 1:30 because you can start sliding at 1:00 the day of arrival. Our room was $400 so we were going to slide as much as possible. The line to check in wasn't too bad because you can't get into your room until 4:00. So I waited, they checked my credit card and gave me braclets so we could go to the water park.

"Do you have a bellman?"
"No, we don't have bellman."
"Can you store our luggage?"
"No. You can just leave your things in your car until check in time"
How convenient for them! Fine. I am told that I will have to wait in line to get my room after 4:00.

I went back at 3:50 and waited for 45 minutes in line. Got my new braclets and some brief instructions.
"Where can I find a cart to carry my luggage?"
"On the other side of the lobby." She points. I look.
"There are no carts there."
"Then we're out for now." Great. How convenient for them.
I go up to the 7th floor and luck into a cart. Grab the cart, go back down the elevator, walk across the whole hotel and convention center. This is quite a distance. I unload all the luggage, place it artfully on the cart, go back across the entire complex and off load in our "suite."

The rooms at first appearance were fine. We had a Kid Cabin Suite so the kids had their own "area." I say "area" because there is no door to the kid part. That would have been nice. The beds must have cost about $50 a piece because they are crap. I am used to staying in places that Heavenly Beds. This is the opposite. The up sides are; there is a fire place, the kids have their own TV, there is a small refrigerator and a microwave. Luckily I knew this and I brought all our food. I was not going to spend any more then I needed to.

I went back to the pool and collected the family plus Sophia's buddy and Grandma and Grandpa. They joined us for the day. The kids were worn out but we needed to dry off for a bit and eat. It had been a while.

As we left the pool we passed the candy store, pizza place, video arcade, regular arcade and a bunch of people playing the game Magic Quest. Craziness!!! We hit the room and the kids all were running around, NUTS!!! Finally they calmed down, had some dinner, birthday cake and a bit of quiet time.

After saying good bye to Grandma and Grandpa and a little show it was BACK TO THE POOL and SLIDES! We closed the place down at 10. The kids were beat but it was fun. We got up the next day, had breakfast, packed up because you have to be out by 11:00 and we went back to the waterpark. Of course we had to store the stuff in the car again. More convenience for them. We stayed until 3 and then spent a little time at the arcade and headed back home.

It was a fun 24 hours. I am not sure if it was worth the $500 it ended up costing us but it was fun. If you do go to the Great Wolf Lodge make sure and give me a call and I'll fill you in on how to best do this. And if you work for Great Wolf Lodge call me because I have lots of ideas for you.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Birthday Boy


...................................................................................................................Today is Coulter's birthday and he is 5! He was born at 8:04 am in the middle of a serious snow storm. We got out the "snow storm" part a bit early this year but the 29th has stuck. So at 8:04 this morning there were hugs and kisses all around. Coulter was annoyed that I had picked him up.....HELLO!!!! Tom and Jerry is on.... His favorite. I don't care that I annoyed him. Today is the day when my lovely boy came into this world. The boy that makes me crazy in so many ways but gives me joy 10 times greater then any craziness.

He is affectionate almost to a fault. When he is sleeping he almost can't be alone. He wants to wrap around you.

He is funny. He just wants to make you laugh and will do almost anything to get it.

He is dramatic. If he is hurt, he is more hurt then anyone has ever been. Amazingly, if you find the thing that will make him happy, he is better immediately.

He is in it for now. While this can make me crazy it is also a wonderful perspective to have when approaching life. I am working on his anticipating consequences. For instance.... Last week he went out to play in the snow and go sledding WITH OUT GLOVES. And, it was after both Bob and I said, "Put on some gloves before you go out." 5 minutes later, his hands were colder and hurt more then any one's hands have EVER been cold or hurt. Drama rearing it's ugly head. But my point is, he was in it for now and right now my hands are fine and the sled is calling, "Coulter, Coulter."

He is friendly. Coulter makes friends easily and with everyone. If you are worried you won't know someone at a party, take Coulter. He looks at a room full of people as friends he doesn't know yet. Then he dives right in, in almost a methodical fashion working the room from who ever is closest to him to the farthest reaching corner. "Hi, I'm Coulter. What's your name? How old are you?" When it's time to go everyone is saying goodbye to him. What's not to like? He's funny, affectionate and friendly. A party hit!

And best of all he is ours. Like I said, he can make you crazy but the upside is so much greater that it's worth the ride. And occasionally it makes for great stories. When you don't account for consequences sometimes they are funny or dramatic or both. I love my son in every way and embrace all the parts that make him Coulter.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Christmas with 3 kids is interesting. Sophia is so excited that she doesn't know how to process it. She doesn't want to have a "party" tonight because she wants the day to be over so she can sleep so Santa will come and Christmas will be here sooner. Why the time continum changes whether we have a party or not is confusing to me. And it's not really a party, it's family and a couple neighbors for dinner. Trust me, I will be shooing them out so Santa can get his groove on. Santa is a bit behind. Snow schmow.

Coulter is excited but he's been excited for a while. He know's Christmas is coming and all about Santa. He's not sure as to the timing because he won't sit still long enough to get a grasp on what is going on. It's not happening RIGHT NOW so in Coulter's world it doesn't exist.

Kees is excited based on what everyone else is doing. If Sophia is excited, Kees is excited. If Sophia wants to build a gingerbread house, Kees wants to build a gingerbread house. And, because he isn't overly excited he's pretty easy to be around.

Tonight is going to be a zoo for sure. A couple years ago Sophia heard Santa on the roof and almost peed her pants. Not really but she was soooo excited she couldn't sleep. I know there will be excitement, only a little bit of sleeping and if all goes well, Santa will have enough time to get his groove on. Man, I hope he has time because Santa has contacted me and is feeling a bit stressed.

Merry Christmas to you and yours. I hope Santa fulfills all your wishes.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Over Indulged

I know I am not the only one that is guilty of over indulging my kids. But recently they are all WAY OVER INDULGED!!! And now it's time to pay the piper. Although Christmas is only 3 days away so I guess, in all reality, they will be indulged again. And then we are going to Great Wolf Lodge for Coutler's birthday. More indulgence. Then we're having friends over for New Year's Eve and we have fireworks and everything. So really I am going to over indulge them for another week and a half.

It all started with a week off for Thanksgiving. Followed immediately by a trip to Mexico. In Mexico we did exactly what the kids wanted, we went swimming and played on the beach, all day every day. We went on a zip line and a day cruise to a fabulous beach. When we got home they had to go to school for an entire week. Ohhhhh... And then the snow came. I got them sleds and Bob built them a luge course down the front steps and driveway. Oh, here's a good one. Last night they all slept in our bed. 5 people in one bed....forget it. They are taking over. Well tonight I put my foot down.

Tonight at dinner....OK well, kids dinner. I had been out shopping until 6 so it was pretty much take some thing out of the freezer and quick cook it. The kids were barking, "I want chicken nuggets." OK, put a few of those in the microwave. "I want some pot stickers!" Alright...put a few in boiling water. I put their food on the table and crap....where are they? They're up running around the house. "Hey, get back here and sit down." "I don't want that." WHAT? Oh man, I almost lost it. Sophia insists that she didn't want chicken. Coulter then says, "Yeah, I only wanted dumplings." And Kees is just being insolent, has no idea what he wants and is just being a butt to see how far he can push it.

We sit them down and explain that their behavior is totally unacceptable and that they need to straighten up. Mommy and daddy do not feel appreciated!!!!"Tonight you will all sleep in your own beds. Do NOT come into our room." They nod that they understand. "Tomorrow, no TV. Don't ask or you will loose TV for multiple days." We talk about setting a plan for tomorrow and that they need to occupy themselves for part of the day. They agree. Then Sophia and Coulter go make a list of things that they can do tomorrow. Some are things they can do on their own and others are things they can do with our help.

I know it's our fault for letting them get away with murder for so long. It always goes like this. They get away with it for so long and then they take total advantage of us. Then we have to pay the price to get them back in line. We'll see how this goes.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Yaaaayyyyy Another Snow Day!!!

I was so excited when I heard that school was out today. Awesome!!! A snow day.... Oh wait, no, that wasn't me, that was Sophia. And why is she excited? I have no idea. We don't have any plans to do anything exciting. And when Sohpia is excited the boys get excited. Lots of us here have lived in many other places. I lived in Denver for a few years. I'm not sure what the "cancel school" limit of snow is for Denver but I know it's more then 10 feet. And I walked to school, both ways, up hill, barefoot.... You know the drill. I also realized that Sohpia and Coulter will only have 6 days of school between November 21st and January 5th. We were out of town for 4 school days but the rest was all school district decistions.

I got a call from a neighbor who said they were going to OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry). That sounded like a great idea to me so....we're in. We started out at 12:30. First let me say that the roads were in great shape so getting there was easy. Then OMSI was a ghost town. Awesome... It's usually crazy there so I was totally jazzed. I checked the movies because we had some passes to get in free....Cool, they have Polar Express on the IMAX screen at 5. That will make for a longish day but that's alright. Maybe THAT will get me in the mood for the holiday.

We found our friends. The kids played and could take their time because, hello, no lines. It was great. We went and had some lunch, played a little more and then went to the movie. The kids loved it. I had not taken into account that this was a GIANT movie about a MOVING train. About half way through I thought I was going to throw up! Oh man, I was nausious for over an hour after the movie. On the way home (still clear streets) I had the windows open. The kids were like, "What the????" it's cold. MOMMY is not feeling well....leave the windows open.

So other then the obvious end of the day nausea it was great. The kids all had fun, didn't mess up the house (more) and now they are really tired and passed out.

All in all, it was a pretty good day, especially for a snow day.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Oh The Weather Outside Is Frightful.....



..................................Last evening I started making dinner at about 4:30. The kids wanted to sled. The problem is that when they sled they shoot out into the street. They swore to me that they would be careful but no, no, no..... They were not going to sled without an adult out there. It's just too dangerous and their collective 14 years of experience did not ease my mind. I know Coulter. He'd do it anyway and not look for cars. He is in it for right now, not 2 seconds from now RIGHT NOW! And sledding is fun, really fun RIGHT NOW!

So the kids were out side with a ban on sledding. I was inside making taco meat. I love tacos and all the stuff that goes with them. These were going to be good and I was hungry. Making tacos, making tacos, making tacos..... When it dawned on me that my kids can have tacos anytime. Summer, winter....who cares? They like tacos fine but they really love sledding. They aren't going to remember that we had tacos a few days before Christmas when they were little. They would remember sledding, mom laughing with them and being really happy.

So I turned off the burners, bundled up and headed out screaming, "Get your sleds! Get your sleds!" They jumped up and down and got their sleds. They went down the driveway about 100 times and I caught them every time. Sometimes with my shins but I caught them and they were safe and happy, really happy. I hope they remember sledding with joy in their hearts. I will.

And late taco dinner was pretty good too.....

Monday, December 15, 2008

More Things Over Heard at My House

Bob reported, "Sophia has Coulter on a leash and Kees is shooting them from the deck. Peeouw, peeouw."

Driving quietly down the street Coulter suddenly yells, "Turn it on!" I said, "Turn what on?" and he says, "Sunday" WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?????? I get a lot of these things / statements / questions. It hurts my brain.

Sophia and I were sitting in the nook having lunch. She was stareing at my hair, then she touched it and said, "Your hair is really stablized today."

Coulter was lying in bed with me this morning. I got out to go to the bathroom. When I got back he said, "I am laying in your spot." I said, "Move over." He said, "You're my spot." and then he wrapped himself around me and went back to sleep.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

That Was a "Great" Day



This is a story I wrote in the Spring of 2007. I had to share....

May 17, 2007

Today was a day that I had to write about. It started out as usual, getting 3 small children ready for their respective days. The 6 year old had to be dragged out of bed and assisted with getting dressed. Usually she gets ready herself but oh, no, not today. The 3 year old was dressed and then immediately crawled back into bed and passed out. The 1 year old was happy as can be when he got out of bed and then 2 minutes later was nuts while dressing him. Seriously, it’s like dressing half formed Jell-O when he gets like that. OK so they’re dressed.

Everyone gets their lunch made while they eat breakfast. Good, good…. Except the 1 yr old throws up (The throwing up is a point of information that my husband has left out of the briefing at the later pass off) and the3 yr old now relieves himself mid pancake bite while the 6 year old yells, “Gross, gross….. AHHHhhhhh” Change pants, clean off the 1 yr old, move forward and off to school we go.

Daddy takes the 6 and 1 year olds and I take the 3 year old because I have a doctor’s appt and daddy is going to keep the 1 yr old for a bit. (Note – I have been looking forward to this appt so I can have some quiet time.) We get to school and my son looses his cool, flopping on the floor, screaming and generally refusing to go in. Thank God for his teacher who comes out, coaxes him in and then holds onto him (he’s screaming) while I head out. I know this sounds cruel if you don’t have kids but believe me, his screaming is a performance solely for my benefit. I called the school an hour later to check on him. He was like, “Mommy who?” He was fine.

The doctor visit, blood work and all was a blast compared to the rest of my day. And, my doctor said I was in great shape (not my actual shape but all the blood work and all.) I get home, my husband says all is well but the 1 yr old is jonesin’ to go on a walk. OK, I can do that.

We go on a walk through the park and past my daughter’s school, the 1 yr old plays, gets whiney and it’s time for a nap. We head home and stop at the school. We spend about 15 minutes there and are treated like heroes. That was nice.

During nap time I clean, do dishes and do laundry (always LOTS of laundry.) I wake him up 2 hours later pack him in the car and throw some raisins and milk at him. He wants nothing with the sandwich and fresh fruit that I packed for him. I pick up the 3 yr old, zoom back, pick up the 6 yr old and her buddy (play date) and we go home. I now make snacks and serve small people for 45 minutes and everyone wants something other then what I make. Too bad guys. Buddy leaves and I pack my 3 into the car.

It’s Family Night at the 3 yr old’s school and his class is doing a skit. This is exciting. But, Daddy’s big boss has come into town and needs to be “entertained” for the evening so no Daddy tonight. Don’t worry, I just charged up the video camera for 30 minutes and he’ll get to see it. Oh, and I have the camera. First, swing by the 6 yr old’s school to pick up items left behind outside on the playground. Hurray, they’re still there. Second, go 10 blocks and then go back home to pick up the backpack for the 1 yr old. I am going to need it to keep him contained. Next, swing through the KFC drive through and get what I know they’ll eat while they yell at me what they think they want. The 1 yr old is just yelling because the other 2 are yelling. He doesn’t speak yet, at least not English. I guess he is talking in his own way. Whatever…..

So I say we’ll have a little picnic on the school grounds and then go in for the show. Great plan. I look in the rear view mirror and the 6 yr old is nodding “yes” to the plan and the 3 yr old is passed out. Gone. You need to know that when a 3 yr old falls asleep in the late afternoon he isn’t going to be waking up happy in 20 minutes. Nope. So we get to the school, I pull out a blanket set everything out and convince the 1 yr old to join us. This is after moving away from the dog poop and straightening out the blanket 6 times after he, the 1 yr old, has moved it all over the place. Parents are going in to the school and I can hear the thoughts, “Nice dinner mom.” I hope they could hear my thoughts back. Two minutes into dinner the 1 yr old starts burping and gagging and then throws up all over himself and the blanket. Awesome! He does it twice. More awesome! The 6 yr old is gagging. I tell her to stop it. It’s making me sick. I clean off the 1 year old by striping him and then dressing him in a jacket I found in the car and pass it off to choking. (Wouldn’t it have been nice if I knew it wasn’t the first time that day?)

I now wake up the 3 yr old because it’s going to take a few minutes (if I am lucky) to get him going and into costume. He is going to be an elephant. He is crying and saying, “I want to go home. I’m tired.” The 6 yr old announces she has to go to the bathroom, “Baaaaaaad.” I tell her she’ll have to wait. I bag all the barfy stuff, clean up the picnic, put the 1 yr old in the backpack (now see, it was worth the little side trip) and pick up the 3 yr old off the ground 5 times. “Wake up!” He kind of does but not really.

We go inside and plant ourselves in the front row. The 6 yr old finds relief, the 1 yr old is swinging from side to side on my back and the 3 yr old is refusing to put on his costume and perform. WHAT THE HELL? Come on, I have waited all year and then have gone through all this and now nothing? The 6 yr old who has, until this point, been encouraging her brother starts to cry, “I want to see him perform. I have been waiting forever for this.” She really IS sad. It’s cute but not helping my mood. The 1 yr old starts burping and jerking. Parents know this means, “I am about to throw up.” The 3 yr old decides he has to pee. I head for the bathroom that is in the back of the room. He is screaming, “I want to go to the bathroom DOWN STAIRS.” Forget it buster. We go in, he’s still screaming about the downstairs bathroom. I, now behind a closed door, grab him and threaten him. “You are going to pee and then put your costume on.” “No, I want to go home.” He finally pees…….like a pregnant woman, 3 drops. I break down and while we are in there I bribe him. “I’ll give you a lollipop if you do the performance.” “No, I want to go home.”

We go back to our seats. I keep trying. The 1 yr old is jerking me all over the place and crying. The 6 yr old is crying, “Please, please do it. Pleeeeeaaaasssseeee” After 15 minutes of pushing and prodding the 3 yr old decides…… He’ll do it. We put on his costume and I march him out in to the hall with the rest of his class. His teacher is glad to see him. He’s all smiles. He knows what he’s doing, being stubborn and all. Great.

I go back in, sit down and pull out the camera, the video recorder and my cell. Gotta get that cell shot. I try out the video camera and CRAP, I left it on and the battery is dead. Deep cleansing breath. Good thing I put new batteries in the camera and it has a video setting. It’s not very good but it is better than my video camera at this minute. The 3 yr old files in with his class and is so cute. He smiles, starts to sing and then eats boogers through the WHOLE thing. Seriously, I fed him dinner! In the middle of one of the songs the 1 yr old, who is on my back remember, starts to jerk and burp. I whip him off my back. I DON’T need barf in my hair, really. I hold a rag up to him and thank God, it passes…..again.

At the end of the performance the 3 yr old starts ripping his costume off. Picture the Incredible Hulk. He finds a little rip in the neck line and proceeds to rip it off his body. Hey, at least it was the end. We all applaud the performance and my daughter takes flowers up to my son. Very cute. I march everyone out to the car, give the 3 yr old the lollipop that was promised and a Tootsie Roll to the screaming 1 yr old. He knows what I am doing when I go into the “Treat Hole” of the van. Everyone is quiet; I explain what is going to happen when we get home and get their buy in. At home the 1 yr old gets a bath because he stinks, the 6 yr old gets in her pj’s and the 3 yr old brings me his. Everyone gets ready for bed, we go through the evening routine and everyone, after a bit of fussing and screaming, goes to sleep. It has been a great day.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

There's No Place Like Home




Hola mi amigos! Como esta? Bien, y tu? Tequilla por tu? OK enough of that. Yeah, we're home from our awesome trip to Mexico. The weather was perfect, the kids all played well and there was a bit of tequila happening and cerveza as well. Beer to you gringos. We all had a great time.

The kids got up at 4:30 in the morning the day after Thanksgiving. Bob and I were prepared for a total nightmare but they were great! The 2 flights to Mexico were flawless and we didn't even need any of the crap that I had prepared. I was sure that I'd be handing out new things to do every 2 minutes but no, they were totally happy. On the flight out of San Francisco Bob put the headsets on the boys and tuned it to the station where the pilots converse with the tower. After about a half hour Kees took his head set off and happily announced, "I LIKE listening to the pirates."


First things first in Mexico. We quickly unpacked and went to dinner with everyone! Mom, Ed, aunts, uncles and cousins. There was a beautiful sunset and everyone got reacquainted.

Now the real fun..... POOL, BEACH and SUN. The kids all played so nicely together. Kees and Coulter played like best friends. The weather was so great. One degree cooler would have been too cool and one hotter, too hot. And if you were too hot there were all those palm trees to sit under. As the first order of business, Sophia and I had our hair braided. It was nice not to have to worry about hair for a week. Not that it is really high on my daily agenda but it was also cooler.

So less the hair braiding, read the above and repeat 6 times. Life near a beach and a pool with kids is well.....life at the pool and the beach with kids. They don't care what or when they eat so long as they get to. They never want to sleep but eventually just pass out. It was so nice. I went to the grocery store each day and bought what we needed so I could make sandwiches for the day time and something simple but hot for dinner and breakfast.

Our 2 excursions were as follows. On the 3rd day we went on a bus into the jungle and Sophia, Mom and I went on zip lines. There were 16 in all and the longest one was a quarter mile long. Sophia was a bit nervous at first but after the first one she was an old pro. The on the 5th day we took a boat out to a neighboring town. It was just a loud boat ride to another beach. Not really so different then the other days just a different view. The waves were pretty treacherous but Bob saved all the kids a few times and a couple of adults as well. Then back on the loud boat to beach #1.
Mom and Ed watched the kids a couple of nights so Bob and I were able to go out. That was fun. We took the kids out a night or two but mostly it was pretty slow paced.


We got home at midnight on Friday. That was the least fun part of the trip. Luckily the kids each had their own row of seats and were able to sleep on the plane. Getting them up and in a cab was a true challenge.

So that was it. Fun in the sun. Especially nice this time of year when it's so cold out. I was finally allowed to take my braids out today. Sophia insisted we have matching hair for her first day back to school. It's very strange that Christmas is only 2 weeks away. There is not all the same hype down in Mexico about sales and Christmas. That was also nice. But I am having a hard time getting into it. As a matter of fact, we're not having a Christmas Party this year for the first time in about 10 years. Because.......I just don't feel like it. So there. But I digress....

BTW, the pictures I have on here are two of the 5 that I have. Bob walked into the ocean with my camera. I was so relaxed that I got over it in short order. Not my usual demeanor. Thanks again to Mom and Ed for facilitating this trip. We all had a great time.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mexico

To my friends,
We will be out for the next week. We're looking forward to sun, swimming, and general family fun in Puerto Vallarta. We'll be looking forward to seeing you all in a week or two.

If you are not my friend,
Ahhhh, we may be gone but our alarm is on and our friends will be keeping an eye on our house. We have lots of friends so don't try anything. OK? I mean it. And my next door neighbor is an attorney and tougher then you for sure.

I am sure I'll have good info for blogging when I get back.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Parsnip Soup

I have never in my life had a parsnip that I recall.....until 2 days ago. I don't know what you use parsnips for but I can tell you they are YUMMY as a soup.

I joined SPUD a couple weeks ago. I have a standing order for every other Thursday. They send you a message a few days before you get your order incase you want to ammend your basket. I wanted to amend mine because, "What the heck do you do with parsnips?" But alas, I was too late and I got my box with....parsnips. Thanks goodness for the internet. I checked out a few recipies and this is the one I came up with, Parsnip Soup . This soup is not only delicious but it is really easy and great for a cold winters day.

So not only did I love the soup but I am going to make sure I have parsnips in my SPUD order next time.

ENJOY!!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Spoiled and Certainly Comfortable


..................................I have been trying to ride my bike a lot lately. My goal is to ride more then I drive. It's tough but I think I have done pretty well. Portland is not very big and most of what I need is within 5 miles of home. One of my main rides is taking the boys to school 3 days per week. The other 2 days I drive the car pool so that would be too many kids (See my entry Oct 21 "More POOP" for a driving day story. Maybe this is why I like my bike).

This morning it was cool out and I want to make sure my boys are warm. If they are uncomfortable my trip will become the same....uncomfortable. I pulled the blanket that was in the trailer out and threw it in the dryer and then I got an old milk container and filled it with hot water. The milk container was in the bike "tent" as I call it and warmed it up. When the boys climbed in they were so happy. We covered them with the blanket and then set the milk container between them. Yep, worked, they were happy and WARM. Off we went.

I am going to try really hard to keep this up through the winter unless it's REALLY bad weather. Though I may have to go to 2 milk jugs.
Have a great day and get out there and RIDE!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Kees Made a Joke.....A Good One.


Tuesdays and Thursdays are Kees' days off from school so we just hang out. Today after dropping big brother off at school we were getting in the car. Kees noticed a sticker of a witches cauldron on the floor of the van. This was a sticker he got for Halloween from Spook-O-Rama. He saw it and said, "Mom, look at my sticker. It's a pot." And then he looked at me, smiled and said laughing, "It's a pot sticker." (You know like the chinese dumplings?) We both laughed.....hard. I didn't know he had it in him.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gratitude in Your Heart




...........................................So Bob has been out of town all week. We all went to drop him off at the airport on Sunday evening. This was good because it involves the kids and Bob took us out for dinner on Kaiser. I hope I don't get him in trouble by posting that but really, Kaiser owes me. Dinner was pretty good and Sophia and Coulter were really well behaved. That being said, Kees was not. He wouldn't sit still, wouldn't eat anything but french fries, kept poking Coulter and was generally annoying. He is going through a really annoying phase. I guess that is his right since he is only 3 but I am done with that so he should be too. Have I mentioned that I DO know it's not about me I just have a hard time fully accepting that.




After dinner we all gathered in the area before security and said good bye to daddy / Bob. The moment he turned his back they all started in, "Can we go to the play structure? Can we? Can we?" I will tell you that using the term "play structure" is a stretch. I give in, we go. They all run around this thing like it's Disneyland. At first it's fine but 20 minutes in there are 15 kids running around and I think, "There is going to be an accident." So it's time to go. They are pretty good about leaving.




We walk through the terminal toward the car. They're all lagging behind. "Can we ride the elevator?" "Can we go up and down the escalator?" "Can I go on the evegator?" (that's Kees, the evegator, I love that.) We ride the elevator, get out and are approaching the car when Sophia says, "I can't wait for daddy to get home." And I say, "Meee tooo" apparently with a lot of attitude in my voice. Sophia stops and says to me, "Why do you always say it like that?" I say, "What do you mean?" and she says, "Like we're a pain in the ass." I stop dead in my tracks. She's right. I said it exactly like that. Like my beautiful, wonderful, healthy and generally well behaved children are inconveniencing me. I feel about 2 inches tall and am shocked into her reality. And I know that if she is able to articulate that, that her brothers feel it too. I walk around the car and get in facing her in her seat. I say, "I am so sorry. You're right I did say it like that but I don't mean it. I'm not going to do that again because I love you very much and you are not a pain in the ass. We are going to have fun this week. Sophia, I am really, really sorry. Do you forgive me?" She says she does but it still stings. I still feel badly thinking about it. If she said it now she must have been feeling it for a while.


I remember when she was a baby and you could say whatever you wanted around her. As she grew we all learned to refrain from certain words. Then, of course, we went to spelling. And until last weekend it hadn't occurred to me to worry about my inflection. They say that body language is 90+% of what we convey and isn't inflection verbal body language? We can all say, "Are you wearing that?" in 50 different ways. Some are excited like we love it and others are completely condescending and rude. And I, by saying that I couldn't wait for daddy to come home conveyed a message that I never intended. I meant it, but didn't intend it for the kids. So I have learned a very valuable lesson. First that I need to be very careful about how I say things. Kids are smart, very smart and they know what we mean. They carry things around in their hearts so we must be careful what we put there. And secondly, I needed to adjust my attitude, and I have. I need to be grateful for my time with them and I am. I need to be grateful that my husband has a good job and I am. I need to be grateful for my smart, wonderful kids and I am. So rather then just adjusting my inflection I have tried to take a different perspective, a perspective of gratitude. We all get busy and in those times we can treat our kids as a bother and they feel that. I am trying to show them that I have gratitude and that is what is most important. I want them to carry gratitude not sadness in their hearts.


So It's been a pretty good week. We got a new movie and they have all seen it twice. We don't usually have TV during the week but this week was different, plus they didn't have school on Monday or Tuesday. We've eaten pizza, had play dates, friends came over for dinner, we've done art and I even got to chaperon a field trip with Sophia's class. I love my kids so much that I can't imagine my life without them. I am grateful for their existence and for my opportunity to raise and support them. They are little people with all the same feelings and perceptions as big people I just needed a reminder of that. So now I am going to carry gratitude in my heart and let that be the feeling that's inflected in my voice.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Great Weekend for Me and Mine

I am loving life today. I slept in my bed with all 3 of my kids all night. Bob slept in Kees' bed. He didn't feel like moving the kids. So I had the honor. While it is frustrating to sleep with all the kids because they take up the whole bed, they sleep sideways, they take all the covers and they wake up OR occasionally pee in the bed. Yes, that is my personal favorite, pee. I try and take the attitude that this is only a short period of time and some day I will miss them peeing in my bed. Oh wait, no I won't. I will, however, miss snuggling with their little warm bodies, smelling their hair that still smells sweet, and merely the fact that they want to be with me that much. So today I took that attitude. The one that loves sleeping with the kids. When I woke up at 6:30, I went back to sleep. When I woke up at 8:30, I went back to sleep. When I woke up at 9:30 I called a friend. And then I called another friend. And then my mom. And then Bob's parents. It was great. The kids climbed all over me, the bed and each other. They built a blanket fort. They talked on the phone too. Bob brought me breakfast in bed. And at noon, I took a bath BY MY SELF. OK by my self for 5 minutes. Then Kees and Sophia hopped in. After an hour long bath I climbed out and got dressed. So finally at 1:30 I managed make it down stairs so I could blog and tell you all about my great day. I have the classical music station on the cable. The kids are playing out front. Sophia is creating a pirate treasure hunt for Coulter, Kees and Max, the kid next door. There will be no play dates today, it's a family day. And the kids don't know it yet but we're taking them to see the new Madagascar Movie at 4:30. They are going to be sooooo excited. We'll have dinner at the mall. It's a kids dream. Tomorrow, after church, we're headed to one of the indoor pools around town. It should be fun! Our summer was so packed that we never got to just hang out. I love weekends like this. So we are having a great time. Nothing too exciting but it's perfect for me and hopefully the rest of my family. I hope you are having a well deserved, relaxing weekend too.

Things Over Heard at My House This Week

Coulter crying histarically responds to the question, "What are you crying about?" "Fia won't let me watch her sew!" I can totally see why he's upset.

I heard my self say, "GET OFF THE DOGS HEAD!" Why, why, why do I have to say that?

Kees hung a wash cloth on the side of the bath tub and said, "Look, look what I did." I said, "You're a genious!" He frowned and said, "I'm not a genious. I'm a Kees."

Friday, November 7, 2008

New Reality

I think our country is settling into the reality that we are going to have an African American President. Being a white woman (and growing up as a privileged white kid) I have no idea what it means as a black person and how it will effect that reality. I can see the excitement in the faces of young people of color and it is thrilling. I can see excitement in most people's faces, especially here in the northwest, and that makes me thrilled and proud. Most of us have been told all our lives that, "You can do anything you want to. You can be anything you want to be. Even President of the United States." I think and have heard from prominent African American people that while they have heard that all their lives there was always an, "Yeah, right." in the back of their mind. I pray that voice is fleeting if not gone now. This is an equality that is so important. Not just for African Americans but for all of us......AMERICAN AMERICANS. No matter what you think, this is not about you, it is about us, all of us. Together we are stronger, we have more resources and more hands to help. We need to rebuild from the inside. Literally from our insides. We have become sad and passive as a nation. This new hope has given me a burst of energy as an individual and an American. As we feel stronger we can work together to build our nation. We need to take care of one another. As we become stronger as a nation we can take care of other nations. America has always been a beacon of light to other nations. Our light was diminished but did not go out. We are now given the opportunity to work together and become stronger. Stronger as families, communities, cities, states and as a nation. I love that Barack Obama knows he is faced with a huge challenge and responsibility. He is facing that as a man, an American man. May we all learn to treat each other as Americans and not to tolerate one another but celebrate each other. This is our time to shine and show the world that, "YES WE CAN." And that we will......

Sunday, November 2, 2008

This Has Been the Definition of a Weekend

It's been a busy weekend. Friday night was, of course, Halloween. We started the evening with multicolored cheese pizza. The kids thought that was sooooo cooool. Then I stayed home to hand out candy while Bob took the kids around the 'hood with another dad / kid team, the Wangs. I was glad to be at home alone because Bob was traveling last week while I was here, alone, sick with the kids. So the moment they left I cracked open a bottle of wine and poured my self a glass. And then I waited for some trick-or-treaters, and waited, and waited. I was really disappointed because we only had a few and I really like seeing the kids. I will tell you that the first group was all teenagers. At least they had costumes on. It makes me crazy when a bunch of 16 year olds show up, say their half hearted "Trick or Treat" and then stand there with open hands. Come on....aren't you embarrassed? I am embarrassed for you. Anyway, I could hear them coming up the stairs and then I flipped the switches. We have a smoke machine, blinking lights and scary music with screaming. I heard one of the kids say, "That's not cool man." Ha ha, scared you. I was pretty happy with myself. Our kids were only out for a short time. Kees came home and Sophia and Coulter stayed at the Wang's house for a sleep over. Kees was so happy to be an only child. He ate candy and watched America's Funniest Home Videos with mommy. We laughed, a lot! He got to sleep in our room (with permission) opposed to the rest of the nights where he has to sneak in.

Then yesterday Sophia and I shopped for dinner. We had such a nice time together even though she didn't want to go because it was, "So boring." Ha ha, it wasn't. Score one more for mom. We were having our friends the Stewarts over. It's been a really long time since we did that. We used to do dinner almost every Friday Night. Anyway we were looking forward to seeing our friends again. I ordered 2 lbs of ground lamb and then a 5+ lb lamb shoulder. The guys at the meat counter were like, "Whacha makin'?" They wanted to come over. One of them said, "Lamb two days in a row? You are living large." Pretty funny. So we finished our shopping and headed home. I made dinner, the kids played and before you know it the Stewarts were here. We all had a nice time, the kids all played well and then Gracie stayed for a sleep over. Bob and I stayed up too late but it was fun.

And today we have more friends coming for dinner. We're having braised lamb shoulder....yummy. Their kids were actually here for a few hours earlier today so they could have some grown up time. We had 6 kids running around here and they all had a fine time. I also went to the grocery store to pick up a few things. As I was picking up a bottle of wine I felt like it was Groundhog Day. Wasn't I just doing this yesterday? Yep. So I got more wine and a few other things and back home to make dinner for our friends the Wangs.

Dinner is cooking, the kids are playing, it's grey outside, the TV is on but it's on the Classical Music Station, I am doinking on the computer, this has been a great weekend. We didn't get much done, the house is a mess but sometimes this is what the weekend brings. I am pretty relaxed and just enjoying being in my house with my family doing weekend things.

Have a great week.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Barack for Hope and Change



It has been a long election season to say the least. Didn't McCain start campaigning during the Johnson Administration? And Barack was in 4th or was it 5th grade right? Or so it seems. Man, I hope they do something about this for the next election or I am moving to Canada. ;-) OK so I am not moving but this is really ridiculous and I think we all know that.




So now the election is days away and our neighborhood is all a twitter. I have friends that are losing sleep for fear that Barack Obama will not win the Presidency. We are in the most liberal part of Oregon and Portland for that matter. I would be nervous if I had a McCain sign in my yard. As a matter of fact, the other day we were on the play ground and Coulter felt compelled to tell me he was voting for John McCain. I immediately bent down and said, "Ahh, you may want to keep that to yourself around here." And then we had a little talk about why he was voting for McCain. After our talk he switched his vote to Obama. To his credit, he's only 4 and he knows who both candidates are. I'm impressed with that. We have had lots of conversations in our house about what the two major parties represent and what they "say" they are going to do. Our kids have been very interested in this process. If they only knew what it meant to their future they might be equally scared. Because of that I am taking this vote very seriously ESPECIALLY because I am the only voting member of my family BOB! For those of you who don't know, Bob is an alien. He wears thick make up to cover the green.




I have thought long and hard about who I am going to vote for and have decided to vote for Barack Obama. The world is changing and McCain, while a hero and experienced, is stuck in a 70's mentality about world politics. I think we are all aware of the dangers of Al-Quaida and the delicate situation in the middle east. The fact that Barack will talk to people gives me hope. Who cares if it gives some yahoo in the middle east "street cred" to talk to a world leader. I think if the guy has bombs and nothing to loose we may need to chat a bit. There needs to be greater equality in this world so that no one and no country is so desperate that they have nothing to loose. That needs to start here at home. Those of us who "have" need to be taxed. If we don't get our health care situation in order we are screwed. Every major industrialized nation in the world has national health care, every one but us. We can send troops around the world but we can't take care of the little old lady down the street who has to eat dog food and then has to decide between heat and her medication. She has to choose! Come on. That is not the America that I grew up in and I certainly don't want it to be where my kids grow up. We need to take care of each other. The lady next door, down the street, across town and across the globe. It only makes sense. Barack has a new view and less baggage and maybe he can start a dialogue with other nations where we don't seem like the giant democracy pushing US values slinging monster. A conversation, if you will, and those go both ways. What happened to give and take? We need to get our energy consumption under control so we don't have to count on OPEC. We need to make AIDS medication affordable for parents in Africa and the couple down the street. Talk about nothing to loose. We need to invest in 3rd world countries so their economies grow and they can join in the world economy. We need to redirect our money and energy from consequences and jails toward education and prevention. We need to have honest politicians who protect the interests of their constituents rather then line their own pockets. We need there to be accountability for those bastards on Wall Street that just STOLE our money by creating a total financial disaster. They knew all along that collapse was just around the corner and if they didn't know they are morons.




So I lay all that out knowing that the task is too big for one man. Even if that man is Barack Obama. But there are so many of us out here who believe that he will make the changes we need. He has to. We can't continue on the track that we are on or it will lead to total disaster and collapse. I hope we can change, I hope we can reclaim our place in the world's view, I hope we can take care of our own, I hope we can calm the fears of other countries, I hope we can create health care for all, I hope our children receive the education they deserve, I hope we can feel secure in all ways in our later years and I hope our children will inherit a better country and world. For all these things I HOPE that Barack Obama will be the change that our country and world deserve.




So now, after getting all that out, I may loose some sleep too. This is too important to loose. No matter what you do, please vote. This election is at such a pivotal point in time and we have the power to change the course of history. May the best man win and I think (pray) most of us know that is Barack Obama.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sick and Tired

All mothers have done this. They are tired, they are sick but they still try and make things happen. Today is supposed to be the last nice day before Halloween. We still had not been to the pumpkin patch and I felt like we had to go. I am not sure what happens if you just get a pumpkin at QFC. Is that bad mojo? I am not sure I want to find out. So today I pulled Sophia out of school a half hour early and headed to the patch. The kids get very excited and act as if this is the outing of the year. We had to go without daddy, that is a first but he had meetings he couldn't get out of. Now let me tell you that I am sick as a dog. I can sing "Old Man River" better them 90% of the professional baritones out there. I have a fever and I hurt all over but damn it, my kids were going to the pumpkin patch. I tried to be as light hearted as possible but I seriously felt like I could keel over at any time. The kids seemed to have a good time and the dog had a great time. We rode the hay ride, the cow barrel ride and climbed the hay stack AND got pumpkins. I do this trying to be a good mother and to give my kids happy memories. But, I don't remember ever going to the pumpkin patch as a kid. I am not saying that I didn't but I don't remember it. If my kids forget this trip there is going to be heck to pay! They better remember that I went out sick as a dog. Although the dog seemed pretty good. But they won't remember and they will blog or whatever the medium is at that time that they didn't go to pumpkin patches when they were kids and they turned out alright. Maybe, but maybe they will remember that today was fun. I hope so...... I know I tried really hard.

Dog Gone It

Damn dog. Don't get me wrong, we love our dog Iva but what the heck is wrong with her. I now have over a $1000 in beautiful X-Rays of our dog. They are model X-Rays that show a perfectly healthy dog....except she's not, healthy that is. Yesterday she underwent an exploratory arthroscopy. Don't people usually get this type of procedure? Nope, my dog. They couldn't find anything definitively wrong but are still willing to do the $4000 surgery tomorrow if we want. Ahhh, let me think....NOPE! I have now spent over $2000 and have no answers. It isn't the doctors' fault, they are just as frustrated as I am. And I think she is better today then she was last week. So I think we'll wait a while. If there was something that we knew would work I would do it but at this point we might have to dip in to Iva's 529 if this continues and then what would her future look like? Ha ha.... Looks like last year's Christmas present might cut into this years loot.

I'll let you know if there is any change......

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

More POOP



Why is the word mom synonymous with cleaning up poop. I know that babies poop and so they need to be changed and cleaned. I know that dogs poop and in today's world that poop needs to be picked up, bagged and properly disposed of. Mom's wipe butts when kids potty train. Hey that is a big improvement over the previous step of cleaning the butt after pooping in the pants. Moms clean shoes when kids step the poop that daddy didn't pick up. Come on daddy. OK it's not ALWAYS daddy's fault but I like to blame him and he takes it pretty well (read "by ignoring me" there). We wash underwear that has poop on it because I wasn't there to assist in the last step of the pooping process. Maybe they were at school. But this morning was a great poop story.






So Tuesdays and Thursdays are my days to drive the carpool to school in the morning. We take another boy from down the street with us. I try really hard to get everyone in the car before he gets here so we can be at school on time. So this morning the dog decides she is going with us. As soon as the front door opened she ran out and jumped in the car. I don't really care if she comes with us, that is fine. The only problem I usually have with her coming is when we get out of the van she runs around inside in a total panic like we are NEVER coming back. She barks and goes wild and in the process gets nose prints all over the inside of the windows. I have actually gone to the trouble of parking so that the back of the van is pointed in the direction that I have to walk. That way she stares out the back window and nose prints that window up instead of the windshield in front of where I sit. But I digress...... So she is in the car. Everyone is buckled in and Iva, our dog, is sitting in the drivers seat. I shoo her out and notice that there is poop on my seat. Gross! I wipe it up with a baby wipe. Thank goodness for baby wipes. I then look over at Iva and see that now there is poop on the passenger seat. She is sitting there staring at me. "What? You don't have to clean this up." I march around the car, open the passenger door and quick grab Iva by the tail because she is trying to jump in the back. Yep, there is the offender, a poop blob stuck in her fur. I grab more wipes and try to clean her butt. I try and try and try....about 15 wipes worth before I realize this is a bath situation. I really didn't want it to be a bath situation. Meanwhile in the back of the van there is a chorus of poop talk and laughter. Oh man there is nothing funnier then poop when you are 4. "Ha ha, you have to clean the poop." He he he ha ha.... Shut up! I am thinking this really loud. This is not funny and I am now getting to the late side of things and you boys are totally annoying me. They are having a great time, I am not. I drag the dog out of the car and into the back yard. I have never left her outside when I was gone but I don't really have a choice. I hope she didn't bark but I am pretty sure she did. The hilarity ensues in the peanut gallery. Everyone gets to school safely and I go back home. The dog is laying on the ground with her snout shoved under the gate so she can watch for us. I get her and it is into the bath tub for her. If you have a dog you know how much they love to be in the slippery tub all wet. She is fighting it. I get the water flowing, pour water on her and ah, yes, nothing finer then pulling dog poop off your dog with your bare hands. Yes, yes this is great. I get her clean and try to dry her off. No go. She eventually leaps out of the tub and does the doggy shake all over the house. My house is now damp and smells a bit like a wet dog but there is no poop. Oh wait, Kees is screaming from the upstairs bathroom. "I pooped." More poop duty. I am living the dream.

Giving Up Dress Up



A few weeks ago I was going through our upstairs storage closet. This closet only has a few things in it; our suit cases, a few coats and pieces of winter clothing, dress up clothes and a box that has the clothes that the kids have out grown. We would put more stuff in the closet but the kids like to play in there. Nothing is better then a secret fort when you are little. I remember that very well. So I was in there picking up the dress up clothes. I yelled out to Sophia who was in the other room, "Sophia! If you don't put these princess clothes away I am going to get rid of them!" And she replied, "OK. You can get rid of them."

was totally taken aback, it stopped me in my tracks. As I started to think about it I hadn't seen her in those for ages. I can't believe that my baby doesn't want to dress up anymore. I will tell you that when she was in the dress up phase I let her do it. My motto was, "You should be able to go out as a princess any time you want to." knowing that she would only do it for so long.

When she was 4 she went to the Nutcracker in her full fairy regalia. She was so cute! Sophia was so proud and everyone thought she was dressed as the Sugar Plum Fairy. She, of course, thought she had fooled everyone because they thought she was the REAL Sugar Plum Fairy. She felt sneaky because the fact that she wasn't the Sugar Plum Fairy was our little secret. She had on pink tights, a big puffy layered purple skirt with a silk ribbon at the waist with flowers and beads all around the top, a body suit that had a dragon fly motif, an old head piece from someone's wedding and of course glittery, jeweled purple wings. I let her go out in that get up any time she wanted. She wore it to Christmas Tea at the Heathman Hotel. Oh, you should have seen the smiles on all the little old ladies' faces. They almost glowed with approval.

I don't know what it is that makes us smile so when we see kids dressed up in their daily life. Perhaps it's that they don't care what anyone thinks about them, that THEY think they look and feel cool and we wish we had that strength. They don't think anything is unusual about going to Home Depot dressed as Spiderman with pink feathery wings. Or wearing snow boots, no pants and a fireman's hat (backwards) while mowing the lawn. Maybe we should dress up again and be a princess or a superhero (Or go pantless?). Why not? Why do we care so much what society thinks? Why are we so self conscious? I'm not talking about looking like a freak or anything, well, except, I guess ahhhh...... If I wear the fairy regalia out what would happen? Would someone call the cops thinking I had escaped from the funny farm? Maybe. Who knows. Maybe I should try it.

But I am off point. My point is that Sophia is out growing dress up. She still dresses up but it's usually in grown up clothes and she did comment that her wings are all floppy and can't be worn that way. But it's fading away and that part will soon be over. I love the girl she is becoming. She is lovely, thoughtful, beautiful, smart and strong and I am blessed to be her mom. I want her to be confident and self assured as well. I will miss seeing her imagination show on the outside in her clothing and try to give her the confidence to be a fairy or a princess whenever she wants. I think we'd all be better off if we dressed up more and judged others less.

Friday, October 17, 2008

You Can See the Wheels Turning


When Sophia was 2 years old she was drawing "people." Coulter just started drawing people and he is almost 5. He has been drawing "roller coasters" and "race tracks." To the rest of the world they are scribble circles. He has added cars to the pictures lately so at least he gets it....a little. He has also started to write his name. Until 4 months ago he couldn't have cared less. He is writing letters (individual letters not "Dear Mr. President" letters) and is starting to string them together. You can almost see the wheels turning. So he put together some of his skills and came up with this picture. Every time I see it it makes me smile. He brought it to me and said, "Mom, this is for you. It's Coulter thinking about the alphabet." He explained that he worked really hard on it and told me that he had used his ruler to make the letters and then added the "think" bubbles so show what he was thinking about. I swear that each year gets better. I love watching my babies grow and develop at their own pace. It is a miracle each and every day even when they are making me crazy. Watching their wheels turn is an amazing thing and today my life is a straight out privilege.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Potty Time

So today I took the boys to school. Before we got there Kees insisted that I spend some time with him in his class before I left. He's never cared if I was there or not. Now let me remind you that Mondays are almost sacred time to me because this is the day that I have 8 hours to myself. The boys are in school all day. But, I promised to stay with Kees through "Circle Time." So I sat there with him, read a book, sat through circle time and then kept reading. 5 minutes into reading after circle time Kees says, "I need to go poop." Now if you've read any of my stuff over the past few days you know Kees and poop are a big topic. This explains why he wanted me there, he hadn't pooped at school and wasn't sure about what happens when you poop at school. So I jumped up and took him to the bathroom. Now you need to know he had been to this bathroom many times because he has been peeing in the potty for the whole time he's been at school. So we get to the bathroom, go in and I close the door. He says, "There is a door on this room?!!?" Seriously, he was totally shocked! So he tried to go potty but he was so enthralled with the door that he couldn't go. It was too exciting. It had never occurred to him to look for a door. I guess his little world is totally changed and he now will look for a door but he still may not connect a door with a bathroom for a while.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

We Only Have ONE Special Car

As you can see here we hardly have any cars for little boys to play with . The top picture is a box that is about 8" deep with cars. We have a whole other box about that same size that I couldn't find when taking these pictures tonight. We have big cars, trucks, race cars, buses, you name it. Not only do we have 'em all but usually in multiple sizes. Everything from pocket size to ride on size. So why am I boring you with the details of all the cars strewn all over my house? Because this morning I was in my kitchen while my boys played in the basement. Most of the time they played pretty well. UNTIL..... they found the car. I don't know which car it was, I don't CARE! All I know is they started screaming at each other. "I had it FIRST, ahhhh." "No, I had it." "OWWWIEE!!! He hit me. GIMME MY CAR! It's MINE!!!" Crash, bang boom. "Ahhhh"



And then lots of crying. What the hell? We have AT LEAST 400 cars of every shape and size. How is it that there is only one special one? Usually I would step in but I was not in the mood so I just let them duke it out. Well not duke it out, they weren't hitting each other but they were yelling. I only had to get in the middle of them once but other then that they worked it out......eventually.....after lots of yelling. But I must repeat.....What the hell? How can they both want the same car when there are 400+ cars. Maybe this means that I can get rid of the other 399 +/- cars that aren't worth playing with. Now THAT would be awesome!

Friday, October 10, 2008

I Don't Have Anymore Babies!

OK I know you are all sick of hearing about it but I am NOT sick of talking about it. I have had a kid (or two) in diapers for almost 8 years now. If you do the math that is about 10,000 diapers. Dawg, that is a lot of diapers! So I am happy that;
A) I don't have to change any more diapers,
B) I don't have to carry a diaper bag anymore,
C) I don't even have to go over to that section of Costco anymore,
D) If I smell poop stink it's either a fart or someone else's kid. I have boys so a fart can go a long way!

Kees said to me the other day, "You don't have any babies in your house you only have big boys!" He's right. I only have big boys and girls. I have never been a baby, baby person. I much prefer when they can express what they want and you can (kind of) reason with them. Or at least they can understand, "If you don't ______ there will be no_______ for a week!!!!" That gets their attention. Just recently I have started thinking babies are cute again. For the longest time I didn't want to hold one (if it wasn't mine), change it or interact with one. Now they are cute.....for short periods..... generally from a bit of a distance...... if they aren't whining.

That may all sound grouchy but I am done with that stage and I love the new one. Sophia and Coulter can dress them selves, get them selves in the car and buckled and get their own snacks. Sophia can do all that plus turn on the TV on Saturday mornings AND she can help Kees do all the other stuff. Just this morning while I was getting dressed she got Kees dressed. There is light at the end of the tunnel!

I loved my babies, but I am now loving that they are getting more independent. Of course they will always be my babies but I am loving this new stage and adventure. And our adventures are a little bit easier sans the diaper bag, baby bed, stroller and extra clothes.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Amish Way. Cruel or not?

OK so yesterday I used the Amish way to clean my boy off. So it was about 60 degrees out and the water was fairly cold but it wasn't torture. If it scared him or something I wouldn't have done it but it was just unpleasant. Wait..... wait...... Kees just came in from outside saying he needs to poop. Wait here... do, do, do, do, dat, dat, da, da, da, da, boopy, ba, ba, do, do, do, dee, de, hum, hum, YEEE HAWWWW!!! He did it, he did it, he pooped in the potty. We're doing the potty dance. I can't believe it. This is the first time he has pooped in the potty because he decided to. Oh, man this is great. I am freakin' happy. If you told me the stock market only fell 100 points today instead of the usual 500 I couldn't be happier. That is how happy I am.

Well I originally was writing this blog entry to get your opinions. My question was, "Is the Amish way cruel and unusual or just uncomfortable?" Kees just answered that question for me but what do you think? What measures have you implemented to potty train your kids? What have you heard of other people doing? What has worked?

I sure hope this sticks.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Improvement



I am looking better every day. I am a bit tired today but other then that I think my overall (general) appearance is improving.......given my circumstance. The pictures are the proof. I will tell you that I think Arnica Gel is miracle potion. I have been applying it 3 times per day and taking the little pills that disolve in your mouth. You can almost see my chin getting better. So the next time you land on your face use Arnica!


PS - Don't land on your face.

Ahhhh.... Never Mind

Re: That last post. I just came in from another hose off for Kees. Seriously, how much poop can a poop, pooper poop if a poop pooper could poop poop? That is 3+ poops today. I can't do that even if I try! I am loosing my cool.

What's the Deal?


What is the deal with kids and pooping in the potty? My youngest son is 3 and soooooo knows that pooping in his pants is taboo. He has to poop in the potty for school because at his school, if you are not potty trained, you can't go there. But he's not potty trained because he doesn't want to be. He goes to school and God bless those people there, they love him and when he has an "accident", or in his case, an "on purpose" they assist him into new clothes. I have threatened him with no school but really that punishes me more then him. If the school calls I will, of course, pick him up. Maybe that would really get across that there are consequences for his actions. Obviously the consequences I have put in place don't have the desired effect.

I have tried everything I can think of. Now let it be known that my other two didn't really finish potty training until they were 3-1/2 and of those two, Coulter was the easier of the two. So now here I am with #3 and I think he is willing to hold out until college. I have tried bribes, taking things away, swats, treats, ignoring it, sitting with him for hours in the bathroom AND having him clean himself and the clothes after a poop and then the bathroom after all that because it is filthy. His cleaning skills really need improvement. Today I am trying the Amish way that a friend suggested. I love this and he is beginning to hate it and believe me, if it goes much longer he's going to hate it even more. If you poop in your pants in an Amish home they take you outside, strip off your pants and clean you off with a hose. This wouldn't have worked in the summer but now that it's starting to get colder.....well you can see that there might be some motivation on his part. It is 1:30 and I have already used this tactic twice today. At about..... wait right here.... he SAYS he pooped in the potty..... I'll be right back..... do de doooo, da, da, da.. hum a little tune. La, lala, la dup de doo. Wait, hold the blog...... HE DID IT!!!! HE DID IT!!! You can't imagine how happy I am right now. Just 10 minutes ago I had executed the second application of the Amish technique. He was standing RIGHT NEXT TO ME and started to have an "on purpose." I stopped him mid stream, took him outside, squirted him off and put him on the potty. He sat in there and screamed and cried at me for about 10 minutes that he couldn't poop. My ass, I know Waaaaayyyy to well his pooping habits. There was more in there. So I did my best to ignore him while he screamed and sat on the potty. I was willing to go one of two routes. Route one, he poops in the potty and we celebrate. Route two, he screams, refuses to go, wears himself out and then takes a nap. Either way I win. Yes, yes I know it's not about "winning" and it is certainly not about me. Right? Right. I guess. He did it and now we both win. He got LOTS of praise, we called daddy to tell him about it, he got a bag of M&Ms and he says he'll go poo poo in the potty next time. If he goes in the potty with out pooping in his pants next time he'll get a cake party after dinner! So this started out being a frustrated entry and now ends up as a really happy one. Well there you go, we went on a little journey together from Argggghhh to WAHOO!!!!

Have a great day..... I am!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Holy Crap




That is all I have to say about this week. Holy crap. It has been an eventful one to say the least.

On Wednesday I took the boys to school in the bike trailer. I have been trying to ride my bike as much as possible. Taking the boys to school is almost the perfect thing because I get some exercise, they're learning by example to exercise and the commute is only about 5 minutes longer then in the car. I do worry about cars but I wear a dorky construction reflector vest and I try to stay on side streets as much as possible.

So I dropped the boys at school, was riding home when a friend of mine saw me and invited me to breakfast. Awesome. I hadn't seen my friend for a long time and it seemed like the perfect thing. I went home, dropped off the trailer and put my cable lock and fanny pack on the rack with a bungee cord. I haven't ridden without the trailer in months. Seriously. As I rode down the street I was amazed how easy it was to ride without it. That thing creates LOTS of drag. I went to breakfast, caught up with my friend and her family and then headed home. Again, I was so happy about the freedom of riding without the trailer.

When I was 100' from my house the bungee cord broke. The rubber band part separated from the hook. Ahhhh.... It started to get caught up in my back wheel along with my cable lock and fanny pack. "Oh crap! I don't want to ruin my bike!" I immediately grab the brakes (these are my brand new, really good brakes) and go over the front of the bike. Luckily I come to an immediate halt when I land on my face. Yes ladies and gentlemen, I stopped courtesy of my face, more specifically my chin. I scrapped my hands up, banged my knee but really most of my injury was my chin.

I laid in the middle of the street for a couple seconds taking inventory and trying to figure out if I was alright. I seemed to be. My neighbor Jay came over and assisted me off the street and up the side walk. He asked me, "Are you going to be OK?" I, being the kid of a doctor replied, "Oh yeah, I'll be fine." Meanwhile I was almost passing out. I am pretty sure I was in shock. I barely made it into the house and I collapsed on the couch. After about 10 minutes I was able to get up and put some ice on my chin and take a peek. "Yowza, that looks nasty."

My "friend" Nolee called, I told her what happened and she stopped what she was doing, went and got coffee and came right over. I say, "friend" because she and our house guest, Nancy, as soon and they knew I was going to be alright, started making fun of me and my big, purple chin. Nice. In all seriousness, I was glad to have them here. I felt fine for the next 4 hours. I put band aids on my chin just to save others from being shocked when I went to pick up my kids. I took the car this time. People were still shocked. Later I went to Sophia's school to pick her up. We walked. More shocked people. A bunch of people told me to go get checked out. I'm a doctor's kid. We don't go to the doctor. I did call them though to see if I could get some muscle relaxers. The doctor's office said, "You need to come in ASAP."

As soon as Bob got home my friend Sarah drove me to the urgent care center. She is so funny. Not only did she take me but she made sure I got checked in and seated comfortably with some good magazines. When I got in the diagnosis was a mild concussion. They gave me a tetanus shot (that hurts) and say to take some Ibuprofen and rest. The rest part almost makes me laugh out loud. Tell that to my kids. IBUPROFEN? Have you seen my face? I want the good stuff. I ask for some muscle relaxers and the guy says, "I don't really believe in them." What? That they exist or work or what? I tell him I do and I want some. Not a ton but now I am in pain. He finally agrees. I get my meds and Tina, my sister in law picks me up. I get in the car and say, "What do you think?" She says, "I thought it would be worse." The big purple protrusion isn't impressive enough? Anyway, she gets me home safely.

So today, Saturday, I have a headache from the concussion but I am recovering. I decide to sleep in since I have not had time to rest and recover at all. At 10:30 I get a call from Bob. He took the kids and the dog to a preschool get together in SE Portland. He says, "You need to come over here right now. Iva (our dog) was running (and she runs really fast) and ran straight into a pole."

I jump out of bed, get dressed and go straight over there. She does not look good and Bob's hand is bleeding pretty bad. Apparently, she bit Bob when she was freaked out. He said that he thought she was dead when it happened. She was all bent up and screaming. Sophia saw the whole thing and was terrified and hysterical. I decide that he should take the kids and I'll take Iva to the doggie hospital. We go our separate directions.

Iva is whimpering in the back of the car and trying to get up on the seat in the back. She gets up there but is crying the whole time. Poor baby. I get her to the hospital and they meet me out at the car and carry her in. After an hour and a half they have given her sedation medication and a pain killer. SEE even the vet believes in good meds! They take some x-rays and there is only one little area of concern on her left shoulder. They'll have to wait until Monday to talk to the radiologist. Iva wouldn't walk for them so it's really hard to tell where she's hurt. I call everyone and tell them she should be alright. She can't play or be off leash for at least 2 weeks. Right now she is laying on the floor. I don't think she can get up. It's hard to tell how badly she is hurt but it looks pretty bad.

AND...... Bob had to go to the urgent care for his hand. I told the vet about the bite and he insisted that Bob go to the doctor. He went, they cleaned up the bite and got him some antibiotics.

So I am hoping that all will settle down now. You know how things happen in threes? Right after I crashed I thought, "Oh no, what are the next 2 things going to be?" I am praying that the dog and the bite are the other two and not considered by the powers that be, just one incident. The dog and I are resting well and taking our meds. I sure hope she gets better soon.



Be careful out there. You know I will be.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Becky's Post - Thanks for Sharing

This Christmas Letter was sent to me by my friend Becky Chasse. I love this stuff.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Once again, I’ll rely on Claire’s “quips” she’s said throughout the year to fill you in on what’s been happening with our family.

“Mom, did you used to ride in a covered wagon when you were a kid?” Mark and I both turned 40, not 140 this year. We ran away to Canada for Mark’s celebration. (Vancouver was fabulous; had a pretty good time in Whistler and Victoria.) And for mine, we celebrated in Portland with a very nice dinner party.

“I’m bored with this house. I’ve lived here my whole life!” We bought a house about a mile away within walking distance of Claire’s school. (It’s a relief Claire is excited about moving, too.) We’re hoping for a miracle of our own on 34th street: that our new house will stay cleaner and the Portland housing market won’t tank before we put this house on the market in February.

“We were pretending to play Little House on the Prairie, but instead of living on the prairie, we lived in Hawaii instead.” Claire likes to play pretend a lot with friends and little tiny figurines like Playmobile people. But art by far is her favorite activity.

“The kids have to give the teacher money so they can go out to recess”. Claire started kindergarten in the fall and likes it very much. She’s got a couple of close friends and likes her teacher, art class, and “writing” in her journal using kid writing. The schools are always desperate for funding, but we don’t think they have started charging the kids for recess yet.

“I know a secret special way to live for a long time… breathe through your ears. I can do it, just watch!” Apparently, she has inherited our science abilities.

“I’m an angel compared to Beegu. I haven’t been in a time out since he got here!” Beegu is a 5-month-old Boston Terrier puppy we got in September. Claire is much better behaved then he is. But he is adorable and goofy and is generally worth the effort. He reminds us of a mini-sized, extraterrestrial version of our old bulldog, Spunky. We know we’re alone in liking the name, but we think Claire picked the perfect name. Beegu is the alien title character for one of her favorite books.

“Did you know some people don’t even believe in Rudolph?” “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” is a favorite because is the only Christmas song we know completely by heart.

“The older you get, the less magic fairy dust you have.” Mark and I are trying to keep some magic fairy dust. I’ve been volunteering in Claire’s library. I love being around Claire’s class, all of the books, and the kind librarian. Next year I’ll have more fairy dust if I can limit the amount of hours I put in at my part-time job. Mark has been trying to fit in some more creative endeavors this year. He’s been learning piano and has been writing a lot of fiction. One short story was entitled “Fairy Dust” (inspired by the above Claire quip) was especially touching.

WISHING YOU ALL A HOLIDAY SEASON FILLED WITH LOTS OF MAGIC FAIRY DUST!

Becky, thanks for giving me more matterial. I love hearing your stories so I know I am not the only one going through this......alone. Amen, I am not alone. Keep sending material.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cleaning.....?

So a couple weeks ago I was being a solo parent for a couple days. My husband was out of town on business. To add to the confusion and frustration I thought, "Hey, I'll pack the kids up and go to my moms.....by myself." Sophia was off at a camp and the boys were home and playing together. All was going fairly well. I start packing. Oh crap, today is the day the housekeepers come. You know how you are supposed to clean the house before the housekeeper comes? I hadn't done it. If you were to look at my house you would think I did the opposite. Well it's too late at this point. My housekeeper shows up and, God bless her, says, "Don't worry about it." I don't. Well I can't at this point. Now, while packing, I am going to have to keep the boys out of the way. I tell them to play outside. They do. So I go back to packing the car.

Pack, pack, pack, check on the boys, pack, pack, pack, check on the boys, repeat. Wait, where are the boys? I run upstairs to find them. They are there, I send them back outside. They had been up there chatting it up with the housekeepers. The housekeepers asked me a couple questions, finished the upstairs and then moved downstairs. Great! I moved the boys back outside and continue with my packing and checking on the boys routine.

20 minutes pass and it's the time in the routine for me to check on the boys. Kees, check......where's Coulter? He's not outside, he's not in the basement, I yell, "Cooouulteeeeer." I go up stairs. He still isn't answering me. I see a shadow moving under the bathroom door. Coulter.... I open the door and he looks like a deer caught in the headlights. He has a rag in one hand and hair spray in the other. I look around and ask, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" He starts to cry, "I was cleaning." I am PISSED! He has sprayed hairspray all OVER the bathroom. Seriously, on the floor, on the cabinets, in the bathtub, on the mirror, IN THE CABINETS, all over the toilet.....everywhere. It was even on the ceiling. He's only 3 1/2 feet tall. How did he do that? I yell, "You are in time OUT! What were you thinking? What were you doing?" He knew this was bad. He's crying, I tell him I am really mad and that he needs to be away from me in time out. (Actually, now writing this maybe I needed the time out.) Anyway, he had seen the housekeeper spraying and wiping and was "helping." I can tell you, by the look on his face when I found him he knew he was doing something wrong. So he goes to the time out spot and I clean the bathroom AGAIN. Damn, 10 minutes ago it was perfect and now it's a sticky, icky mess. The only thing that saved me is that I found it before the hairspray dried. Can you imagine what a mess THAT would have been?

So, if you are ever bored you should get yourself a 4 year old boy. It's not always as messy or sticky but it is always interesting.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Take Time for Yourself

I wrote this in June of this year.

Take time for your self. That is what “They” say. Take time for your self. It’s important to put your self first. If you don’t take care of your self who will? Blah, blah, blah…. Do any of these experts have children? I try to do things for myself but really, when do I have time? My kids are pretty little and this time is precious. They need me. And I have to admit, I’ve almost forgotten what to do.

There was a time when given a free Saturday afternoon I would just take care of myself. You know, naturally, like breathing. Now I’ve been known to sit in the car and think, “Where should I go, what should I do?” I HAVE NO CLUE! How many times can you get your toes done? I’m not really a movie girl. You can’t go to a wine bar in the middle of the day….by your self….without getting stares. Trust me there. So what to do? And if you have an accidental bit of free time…. Whoa, that really throws a kink in the deal. It’s like winning the lottery with out buying a ticket. (I have heard that you need a ticket to win.)

So today my two oldest ones had a day camp. I tried to get my little one in too but the teenagers running the camp insisted that he be potty trained. Come on, I’ve been changing diapers for 8 years now. An afternoon won’t kill you. Anyway….. We ran errands and honestly, after he calmed down from being mad about not being included, we had fun. He was adorable and a good traveling companion.

After a couple errands we went to Fred Meyer. One of the greatest things about Fred Meyer is Play Land. A small child can go in there for an hour free of charge, FREE OF CHARGE! The lady who runs Play Land knows us by name and gets out our sign in sheet by the time I hit the desk. Her name is May so Coulter calls it May Land. She likes that so she likes him and now his brother, Kees. Kees just recently decided that May Land is a fun place.

For the first 9 months of his eligible time he wouldn’t go to Play Land. This killed me because I had been waiting for him to go there since the day he was born. If you have kids you know shopping by yourself is almost as good as a spa day. Seriously. So we go, he goes in no problem and I head to Starbucks. The Starbucks inside, not outside. Yes, our Fred Meyer has two Starbucks because we live in the northwest. I get my coffee, grab a Fred Meyer ad flier and head to the furniture section. Fred Meyer has some really comfortable furniture. Oh, I am really hungry. I swing by the dairy section and pick up some string cheese. I eyed some sushi and a sandwich but it isn’t my furniture and I am watching my weight so string cheese it is.

I plop down on a big fluffy couch and spend an hour with my coffee, the flier and oh, I should call a friend. I am having a fine time. A couple people give me funny looks but I do not care. Seriously I couldn’t care less. This is living. Yes, I have found my “quiet” place in the middle of Fred Meyer. For me this is better then the spa because it is fairly spontaneous. It is an hour of me time that I was not expecting in the middle of the day on a Monday. Awesome.

Oh crap, my hour is almost up and I only have one thing in my cart from my list. An hour goes pretty fast when you are having fun, by yourself, in Fred Meyer, on a big fluffy couch. I get up, get Kees, he’s happy and a good companion again though he does demand a cookie as hush money. I feel rejuvenated, I get him a cookie, get the rest of the stuff on the list and have a pretty good rest of the day. Yes, sometimes to take care of your self, you have to do it spontaneously, even if it’s at Fred Meyer.