Friday, March 27, 2009

Coined or Said by Kees

Kees has a way of combining words. Who can blame him? There are too many words to remember especially when you are 3.

Marshmallows and S'mores. Schmarsmallows.

My friend Nancy who owns a cabin in Manzanita and the name of the town. He calls it all, the cabin and the town, Nancinita. Love that.

We went to see a nature reserve today. Out in the distance there was an awesome herd of elk. About 50 in all. When he looked through the telescope Kees was amazed to see all the elves out there. What was HE looking at? And now I wonder if that is who he thinks makes all the toys?

When the kids get their ears cleaned out we call it a Shrek Competition. Coulter almost always wins. You don't want to know what's in there. When I was cleaning Kees' ears he wanted to know if they were green yet. I don't think he quite gets the reference.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Only on the Oregon Coast

The Oregon Coast is much different then any other. Our state has done an amazing job keeping this amazingly beautiful place available to all and keeping it clean. That being said, this time of year it is really cold and often quite windy. You see things on this coast that people in California or Florida would find totally absurd.

On Saturday when we arrived the weather was pretty good. The forecast for the week called for lots of rain so we decided that a little beach time was in order. The first thing that we do when we get to the beach is take off our socks and shoes. Last year it was snowing on the beach and the kids still took off their socks and shoes. The boys had their big dump trucks with them and they love to push them through the surf. So rather then getting their cloths all wet I had them take off their pants. Sophia had on short pants and she's too big to be striping down any longer. So here are my boys running around on the beach in underwear and a tee shirt and Sophia in short pants and a tee shirt while everyone else is wearing winter parkas, hats and gloves. It's hilarious. The cold eventually caught up with them and we headed home to a warm bath. They were out there for almost an hour in their underwear. I couldn't get over it.

The next day we went to the park in between rain showers. There is a tennis court, a basketball hoop, swings and a big play structure. After an hour there it started raining so we packed up and went home. But we were the only ones. There were people playing tennis in a total down pour. Being a (sort of) tennis player I can't imagine playing in the rain but there they were, as if it was a beautiful sunny day. Again, not something you would see in California or Florida.

Oh and yesterday, and this doesn't go along with the last two weather related things but I had to write about it, Kees pooped in the park. Yep, that's what I said. He was playing on the play structure and the next thing I know he's standing there with his pants around his ankles. I said, "Kees, what are you doing?" And he said, "I had to go pee and poop." And I look down and there is a big poop in the sand. "Dam it Kees. Why did you do that?" He says, "I had to go pee and poop." (Duh mom!)Mind you there is a restroom 20 paces from where he was standing. Luckily I had dog poop bags and baby wipes in the car. Every time I think I am done with poop problems someone reminds me that I am not. Thanks Kees.

We have been having a great time here. We have some friends sprinkled around town and have spent some time with them. The kids have been doing crafts, making blanket forts and have been playing really nicely. We went to the Tillamook Cheese Factory on Tuesday and to Cannon Beach on Wednesday. There is a great little toy store there. We've watched lots of movies during the evenings and listened to NPR and music during the day. It's been a really nice week. In a bit we're going back to the beach and renting 3 wheeled, low slung bikes. Coulter was pretty sure he would die if he didn't get to do that. And later today I am going to have a spa day, massage, facial and something called an Eyelash Enhancement. I was pretty sure I would die if I didn't get to do that. Then tonight we're having dinner with friends at their place. I could definitely do this for a couple weeks but Bob has a job and the kids have school. Oh well.....

I hope you are having a great Spring Break as well. Happy SPRING!!!!!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Break

Yeah it's that time again...............SPRING BREAK. When I was little it meant a week at home with my mom and my brother. As I got older it meant hanging out with my friends. In college it meant going to Mazatlan Mexico. There was a crazy time. Of course between college and kids there was no Spring Break. And now it means going to the Oregon Coast with my kids and husband.

Last year was our first year staying the whole week. It snowed. It snowed the WHOLE time! And our silly kids ran around on the beach bare foot. That is a sign of a true Northwesterner. When we go to the beach we expect rain, wind and cold, NOT SNOW. Last year when there was a moment of sun Sophia would yell, "Quick! Let's go to the beach. It's not even snowing!" If it's sunny and nice that is awesome and really just a bonus because again, we generally expect and accept the worst. And when it comes down to it, this time of year we go to the beach to relax and have family time at a cabin. Last year we beaded. We made trees, necklaces, decorations, bracelets, all kinds of things. We took naps and read stories. It was really great.

This year we are expecting a lot of the same. The weather is taking it up a notch and just raining. We might have one rainless day according to the forecast. And that is fine. This year we are taking 10 yards of felt in a total of 20 different colors. We've been sewing around here. I am taking my sewing machine and we will be sewing. The kids design stuffed animals and I sew them together. We also have burlap, embroidery hoops, embroidery thread and dull needles. Coulter has been sewing at school with burlap and has been loving it. We'll be playing games too. We've been playing games together and the kids love it. We don't really play by the rules or have winners or losers half the time but we do it all together and that is what is important.

For us going to the beach means no home improvement projects, no pressing appointments, it means casual dinners, nap or quiet time each day, reading stories together, playing games, doing crafts but mostly it means playing together as a family. I know that the time where the kids want to hang out with us is limited. I know that this type of Spring Break is short lived and soon the kids will want to be with their friends. I am so grateful that our friends have allowed us to use their cabin to facilitate this great time and that I will have these memories of close, casual and calm family time. For right now I am living only for now. I am really in the moment and loving it.

I hope your Spring Break is full of fun and good times as well.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Black Men

I just sent the boys out to the car to get their stuff out. They came in empty handed so I knew their lunch boxes, coats, drinks etc we out there. They have few responsibilities but one of them is getting their stuff out of the car and into the house.

After about 10 minutes I figured I had better go check on them. I knew they were in the car playing. Yep...there they were. Kees was in the drivers seat and Coulter was "riding" shot gun. They had found a couple pairs of sunglasses and were looking awfully cute. I opened the door and said, "What are you guys doing out here?" And Coulter says, "We are black men." Ahhh, that took me a bit back. I said, "What do you mean?" And Coulter said, "Well we wear black glasses, black clothes and black hats." Oh, Men in Black. I was glad to hear that.

Up until recently my kids hadn't really noticed color. It's only this year that Sophia has noted that people have different colors of skin but the boys still don't know that people are said to be black or white. They think that we are all just different shades. Sophia used to think that we (she and I) were of different ethnicity. She once said, "Mommy you are really darker and Coulter and I are BRIGHT." She was right. It was pretty funny.

I am glad that the words that Coulter used were something that he still doesn't understand. That it was innocence speaking. We all come to know about racial differences soon enough. I am glad that so far they see us all relatively the same. Hopefully we can continue to encourage their color blindness and know that by birth we are all equal.

I did correct him and tell him that it is "Men in Black" not black men. He said, "Oh." and kept on playing. They came inside and told Sophia that, "We're Men in Black" and then sang some rock and roll music. And then Kees yelled, "Let's get this party started!" What? They are too funny. I don't know where they saw "Men in Black" but apparently it is in their DNA to know that Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are terminally cool as these two dudes that are "Men in Black."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Just a Few Things

There are some things about being a mom that are great! There are other things that are not so great. One of the things that is driving me NUTS right now is the following.....

My boys are going through a phase where everything that comes out of their mouths must be preceded with, "Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom" It doesn't matter if I am driving, talking on the phone, working on the computer, making dinner, doing laundry, sleeping IT DOESN'T MATTER! And if I don't acknowledge them they just come closer and get louder. They can keep this up for an amazing amount of time. I suppose that this "skill?" will come in handy some day. Maybe as a reporter in the White House pool. "Mrs. President? Mrs. President! Mrs. President? Mrs. President! Mrs. President? Mrs. President!" Yeah, like she wouldn't be annoyed. (And yes, in the future we will realize that we have been wrong all along and understand that as natural multitaskers WOMEN make better Presidents. But that is beside the point.)

Next comes....."Um, mom, guess what." So now I have to say, "What?" Because again, if I don't answer they'll start the repeating routine again. "Mom, mom, mom. Guess what." "Guess what mom." Believe me, by about 8 am I am totally done with, "Guess what."

But that isn't all. Then they bestow upon me their very important information. It is often a factoid like, "Look at that truck over there." or "There are clouds in the sky." or "I went to the Monster Truck Show." Ahhhhh... hello.... I am the one that bought the tickets to that and you went 2 MONTHS AGO! Lot's of times it is information that makes NO sense. "Remember when we were in that dream and it was all blue?" or "Sometimes at school......" and then nothing. Or "I like to play." I try to make sense out of it but really, it hurts my head. Sometimes I even ask, "Coulter, I can't remember your dreams. What happened in it." and he'll say something like, "Why can't you remember??" We go through a lot of those.

Lastly, they have to end the phrase with, "Right mom?" or "Remember mom?" or "Can we mom?" or any other variation that ends in "mom" And I, again have to respond. In this post it doesn't seem like such a big deal. But for me this whole interaction is happening in about 10 seconds. And it is happening over, and over, and over again. By the end of the day I am at my wits end. Can't you just say, "I had fun at school today." Instead of.......

Them - "Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom"
Me - "What?"
Them - "I went to school today. Right mom?"
Me - "Yep." (We are in the car driving away from the school. The school that I dropped them off at this morning AND picked them up at 2 seconds ago.)

So that is my complaint today. I love them all very much and am glad they want to talk to me. Some day the word "mom" will probably make them sick. They won't want to talk to me. Maybe then they'll start a blog and talk about what a freak their mom is and how she is always trying to get them to talk to her. Until then, I could use a little less conversation baby......

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Igpay Atinlay

Remember when you had tiny babies and you could say anything you wanted? With babies you can say aweful things so long as you say it with a soothing tone. Not that I was saying aweful things but you could.

When the kids started to understand we took to spelling. That was a funny time. One time I said to Bob, "I think Sophia needs to take a B-A-T-H." Sophia responded with a howling, "I don't want a 6a-Y-Z." To this day a 6a-Y-Z is a bath at our house. And recently the kids were sledding. Sophia was spelling, "I am C-O-M-I-N-G." Not to be out done, Coulter said, "I am 10a-2-D-Y." There is some funny stuff when they understand spelling but can't do it.

Of course we can't spell now when it comes to Sophia. And sometimes when we spell in front of the boys Sophia will say what we spell. Ahhh, thanks Sophia. Helpful. Now we have started speaking Pig Latin. She doesn't get it....yet. Everytime we say something in Pig Latin she gets this compleatly confused look. Awesome. We are still able to stay ahead of our 8 year old. Aren't we smart? Not really. I know she will figure it out in short order but for the time being this is working.

So next I guess I will have to learn Dutch. FAT CHANCE!!!! I have tried to say a few things and I sound like a total idiot. I don't know why Dutch is so hard for me. When I was singing I sang in every language you can think of.

SO what next. Maybe braile? Sign language? Any suggestions?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

This is Good Information....

Bob and I are in the process of refinancing. Our current rate is pretty good but our new rate is going to be a full point lower. Wahoo!!! So in the process of getting this new loan we filled out the big packet that has all of our personal finance information in it. I call it the "Credit Theft Packet." That information could sink us in a couple of days in the wrong hands. I took it to Gary Boyer of Guarantee Mortgage Company . Gary submitted our information to the appropriate credit checking places and came up with some interesting stuff. Apparently Bob has another mortgage out there opened in 2003 for $115,000. The good news is that it is current.

So I get a call from Gary a few days ago and he says something like, "Do you have another house?" And I say, "No." And then Gary asks, jokingly, "Does Bob have another family?" And I say something like, "I sure hope not because Bob has a weekly allowance for lunch and gas only. If he has another wife she needs help because he isn't supporting her like she should be. If he has another wife I am on her side!" Of course Bob doesn't have another wife but there is someone out there that has sneaked onto Bob's credit. SCARY!!!! Gary talked to the credit gods and got that mortgage thing straightened out.

Today I went on line and put a fraud alert on Experian for both Bob and my accounts. It's free and you can do it every 90 days. DO IT! When you do that you can look at your credit report. It doesn't show your score but you can see all the accounts and make sure that all your information is.... well..... yours. On Bob's account there is a Robert Lee all his credit information. I had his address, social security number, home phone number, work phone number, work address etc.... I had everything! So I called Bob Lee and told him he needed to call Experian as well. I didn't give him any information on my Bob other then the fact that their identities have become intertwined. I told him that he needed to make sure that his stuff was separate. Luckily all his credit cards were current. Can you imagine what it would do if they weren't? Robert seemed like a decent guy and was at the ready with a pen when I gave him Experian's phone number.

So next I called Experian and started to go through the push this, push that menus to correct the bad information one by one. When I got to the one about a disputed social sec # it connected me to a person! I have never been connected to a person at one of those places. I think there is really only one person that works there and everything else is computers. Any whooooo.... I pretended to be Bob and lowered my voice as much as I could. I was on the phone for about 10 minutes and was just sure that one of my boys would come in and start yelling, "Mom, MOOOOM!" but it didn't happen. Feeeyoueeeee!! The guy said that he would get it all sorted out tomorrow and send me an email. He needed to wait until some of the stuff that I updated in the pushing buttons part changed in the system before he could make more changes. Then when he was hanging up he said, "Is there anything else I can do for you?" and I said, "No thank you." and he said, "Thank you ma'am." So I guess I didn't fool him but what's he going to say? "Hey dude, you have an effeminate voice." No he just had to think it and help the dude, Bob.

So we were lucky because Robert is an upstanding guy who pays his bills. He wasn't trying to steal Bob's identity it was an accident. But the fact that it happened by accident is pretty scary too. And if someone got on there and had bad intentions it could be devastating to our family.

So I am here to tell you to put a fraud alert on your account. You can do it on line at Experian or you can call at (800) 204-1410. If you do it on line you can look at your credit report immediately. You can also contact Trans Union or Equifax. Once you contact one they will automatically contact the others for you.

So there is my advice for the day. Don't mess with this one. Add a fraud alert and do it every 90 days. If you think losing all your money in your 401K in a poor economy is bad try adding identity theft to that. If you have questions or need advice on this call me and I would be happy to help.