Friday, July 31, 2009

Life at three and a half

Dear Logan,

I've typed and deleted this letter more times than I can count. It's taken me days to sit and ponder on what I'm going to write about when it comes to life with you as a three and a half year old. Sometimes, I just don't have the words.

Much like other three and a half year olds, you are stubborn. It doesn't help that you got some of that from me, making you twice as stubborn. We butt heads. A lot. There are times that I just can't argue with you any more after I ask you to do something and you yell, "DON'T TELL ME!" I quickly pack up my work and take a break in the office.

I've given into the requests of "chocolate milk" (which is really Carnation Instant Breakfast, but you wouldn't know that) and "apple bars" (which is whatever flavor of Nutrigrain bar you pick out at the store that week) and you have this for breakfast every single day. For lunch it's always a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and you help to grab everything I need to make it. Dinner? I give up. You rarely eat. Which makes me wonder... If you hardly eat, how on earth do you have all of this spastic energy? It defies the laws of physics. I'm baffled.

Despite the never-ending chorus of "No", the insanely annoying Dinosaur growls that you speak in most of the day and the crazy bouncing off the walls as if you had just chugged a pot of coffee, your sweetness and humor shadow the times that drive me nuts and near strangulation.

The mornings when I wake up to the sound of you and Carter playing because you snuck into his room to say good morning, the bedtimes where your Dad and I lay down with you in bed and we each read a book to each other, and the times you play excitedly with your friends being nice and sharing your toys - sometimes, three and a half is more fun than I can remember.

You are sharp as a tack, knowing your ABC's and counting to 20. You know the names of many Dinosaurs. You ask about people and places we've been. Every morning I'm asked, "Where are we going today?" and God forbid we don't have something going on because you will insist that we do. When we drive around town, you point the directions out to me, knowing where to turn to go to Dad's work, where to turn to go to the daycare center, and where to turn to go to the gym. You are thrilled to start preschool and ask if that's where we are going that day. You are my little Personal Trainer urging me to go to the gym on the days I've only planned to stay at home. When we drive by, you point, "There's the gym! I want to go play!".

You still have an intense phobia of dogs, but spiders, bees, grasshoppers and everything I find gross is fine with you. You are drawn to the dirt patch in the back yard (which was supposed to be a garden - maybe next year!) like a moth to a flame. I tell you more than ten times a day to get out of the dirt and it only goes in one ear and out the other. "Boys are noise with dirt on them", so true in our house. So very true.

I love how you jump in puddles, cuddle with everyone on the couch including Kitty, teach Carter new things, run into the office to scare me at night and end up giving me a big hug and your zest for the simple things in life. You certainly add more to our lives than we could have ever imagined.

Hey Sweetie Pea. Guess What? I love you. Bunches and bunches.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I wish I may, I wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight

The pendulum of life and luck swings methodically throughout time. Certain moments in life are nothing but trials and tribulation, one challenge after the other and sometimes it's difficult to see the positive in anything. Other moments are amazing, full of happiness, care-free and easy-going.

I don't believe in God, or really, the type of God modern Christianity preaches about - the almighty being that controls everything at their whim and based on The Grand Plan. I don't believe that good things happen to people as a reward or bad things happen as punishment. But, I do see life patterns. The highs and lows, the happy and sad, the easy and difficult. The rise and recession of the tide. The Yin and Yang. There will always be dark periods in our lives and there will always be moments of joy.

Our family has had it's fair share of both. We've been through some terrible times, some of them lasting months to years. And we've also had our lucky streaks that have lasted months as well. I don't think we have control over those moments, we can't make the untroubled times happen more often. It is what it is, and we're just on the ride and going with the flow. A lot of the good stuff in life is matter of luck.

In three weeks, we may come across some luck that is too good to be true. I try not to think about it as it's a rumor and uncertain. Most things in life that are too good to be true are just that. But if it's true and solid, it will be life changing for our family.

I am hoping and wishing harder than I ever have that this happens without any strings attached.

Monday, July 27, 2009


I'm sure someday this will come back to bite me in the butt. I can see Logan getting older and scaring me so much that I die of a heart attack right there on the spot, especially since I scare so easily.

Logan loves to be scared and startled. He thinks it's the funniest thing ever. It all started innocently enough, startling him by passing by when he least expected. "You scared me mom!" he would say laughing. Then it escalated. I would pop out from a door way and he would jump and laugh some more. "Do it again! Scare me again!" he would plead.

So, on and on this went, eventually becoming part of his bedtime routine. After Bill gets him out of the bath and dressed in his pajamas, they both sneak through the hallway to come scare me while I'm working in the office. I can hear Logan giggling and pausing by the doorway with his hands over his mouth. It is so funny! He comes running in, "I scared you mom!" and gives me a big hug.

Then one day last week, Bill came home from work a bit early. Logan was playing outside in the back yard and Bill hid in the living room behind the partial wall that separates the living room from the kitchen. I called Logan inside telling him that I wanted to show him something. He came in, unsuspecting, asking what was going on. Then Bill pops out with a yell and scared the living hell out of Logan. He let out a high-pitched scream, unlike any scream I've ever heard come from him before, and he jumped about a mile high. And then? He laughed and laughed. We were all laughing. I was laughing so hard I was crying, doubled over on the couch.

We still get a good laugh when we talk about it.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Carter is 10 months old

On the move and getting into trouble. That's the stage Carter is in now at 10 months old.

Since he's so mobile, he refuses to lay down and go to sleep. He pops right up as if he were going to try and climb out of the crib. It's gotten to the point where I just have to let him try his best, cry and wear himself out after many failed attempts at getting him to settle down. Although, when is he asleep, he stays asleep for a good while.

He likes to hold his own bottles and actually refuses to eat if I'm holding him. It kind of makes it easy to give him a bottle while he's rolling around on the floor dealing with his own distractions and I can do my own thing. When he feeds himself a meal, food is flung all over the floor. I don't even bother with putting Cheerios in a bowl or blueberries on a plate. Everything goes right onto his high chair tray...and then all over the floor.

If he's not flinging food around, he's crawling at the speed of light, pulling up onto the stairs and cruising the furniture. He will grab a car and with it in his hand, crawl around "driving" it to whatever destination he had in mind.

He is starting to pay more attention to the TV when it's on and Logan is watching cartoons. They are both mesmerized by Sesame Street (which isn't bad I suppose, it could be worse). In addition to the TV, Logan is teaching Carter how to clap, walk, play with cars, read books and they play all sorts of wrestling bother-type games all morning. There are no words for how cute this is. The game they both want all of us to play is the "crawl -chase" game, where we are all crawling and playing tag upstairs. Carter laughs hysterically and it's infections. We all start belly laughing and squeal in delight together.

Carter babbles and is learning how to use his voice. He used to say Mama and Dada more often, but is over it now. It's the same with waving bye-bye and clapping is on the outs soon too. I think he gets bored with new skills and waits for the next to develop. He does his funny face where scrunches up his nose and snorts - totally hilarious. I finally got it on film, if only for a split second...

I love this age, and it's only a matter of weeks before it's gone and the toddler phase is in full force. I can see it already...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Time keeps on ticking

Tonight Bill told me that his parents are back in town, only for a few short days at the tail end of their month-long vacation. We were supposed to have scheduled and appointment with Aunt Ju-Ju's counselor, just Bill and I, so we could work on (a pointless) mediation. Bill never called and wasn't proactive about getting this done. This procrastination was more than fine with me, as I wasn't about to ask him to, remind him to do it or even utter a word about anything related to his family. I was more than relieved that we never did this and won't have anything to do with them while they are in town over the weekend.

The happiness in our home has had some ups and downs over the last few weeks (unrelated to the in-laws) and we've finally pieced everything back together and got back on track (our usual pattern it seems - fall apart and piece together. Repeat). Adding in the extra stress of the in-law problem isn't something we need right now. We are on a good streak, everything is feeling hunky-dory, smiles, happy times and making fun memories with the kids. The last thing I want to do is start adding in turmoil and risk us spiraling down again.

In our conversation Bill was telling me about how depressing his parents visit to their home town was. Family members are getting older and some aren't expected to live much longer. Grandma L's brother-in-law is one of them. He isn't expected to live more than a few weeks. I sat there in the office chair listening to Bill tell me about his aging family members and thought how sad it was that his parents aren't too far behind in age. Their years are limited and they would rather spend them feuding rather than attempting to make amends, although, it really is too late for that now.

I wonder what they think. I wonder if the lies, the hateful words and the blatant disrespect was worth it.

Bill will see them tomorrow for lunch and I doubt anything meaningful will come from it. More conversation about the weather and superficial chit-chat. Just wasting more life.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Teaching him from the start

When parents have two or more children, they often wonder what the siblings will teach each other, mostly, what the older ones will teach the younger ones. There are always jokes about bad habits being taught or older brothers teaching their younger siblings how to get into trouble, but there is a whole other side to that coin.

Logan loves to teach Carter anything and everything. He loves to teach him how to play with cars and now they play together every day. He loves to teach him how to clap (as he started clapping yesterday). Now? He loves to teach him how to walk.

Carter has been trying to walk and cruise the furniture. I've taken him by the hands and walked him around the living room with Logan yelling with excitement right beside him. "You're doing it! You're doing it all by yourself!"

This afternoon I left the two boys to play in the living room while I went upstairs to grab some work. I wasn't gone long, but longer than a few minutes. I came back down and Logan had Carter by the hands trying (not so gracefully) to walk him around the living room. Both of them were smiling, especially Carter. He loved it. After telling them how cute that was and praising Logan for being such a nice Big Brother, he (not so gracefully) let Carter drop to the floor, who was still all smiles.

Last week I had been talking with friends about the role of the oldest sibling. Being the oldest myself, I always felt responsible for my sisters at certain points. I would often get in trouble for things they did as well. My friends and I wonder if that's just what being a first born is all about or if it's something the parent puts on the eldest.

Logan certainly takes on responsibility for Carter, making sure baby gates are closed, entertaining him at times, and when I tell Carter No or try to redirect him after he's getting into trouble, Logan is right there to enforce the rules and take over the minute I turn my back. It seems he feels a bit responsible for the upbringing of his little brother. Already.

I often wonder how much of that is Logan and how much of that is me putting that responsibility on him. While most of it is cute now, will he resent it later in life? Will he always feel responsible for Carter? Is this a nature versus nurture situation?

Monday, July 20, 2009

The chicken or the egg?

Kristin wonders if I'm crazy to keep myself busy of if I'm busy to keep myself from going crazy. That was my facebook status update sometime last week. I have been so busy, especially last week. It got me thinking. I tend to take on a lot - activities, responsibilities, obligations - do I do this because that's just how I roll or do I do this to escape from everything else?

I still can't tell.

I had quite a few "extracurricular" activities going on; a night out for margaritas and dinner with some friends one night, wine and cheese with others another night, cooking club, writing group, workouts all in addition to the kids activities of sports, playing at the park and a baby shower. At almost every function, I was asked "How do you do it all? You are so busy! Do you ever sleep??" Jokingly I would respond "It's the 6 cups of coffee I drink everyday", which really is the truth. Many times I ask myself this same question. How do I do all of this? I just do, I guess. Because I don't know what else I would do if I didn't.

Sometimes I think I would be absolutely miserable if I wasn't busy. If I was at home doing "home stuff" with the kids, lounging around in pajamas, coloring, playing with play-doh and watching them play with cars for hours on end - I would go nuts. Boredom doesn't sit well with me. I tend to get bored easily, but when I'm bored, I'm left alone with my thoughts which, depending on what's going on, could be a bad thing. The busier I am, the less I think, the happier I am. Maybe being busy is my drug. Much like how some escape through drugs and alcohol, I escape through groups, clubs and friends.


What's even more strange is when everyone is asking me how I do it all, in my head I'm thinking, if you're not as busy as I am, what are you doing all day?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I'm not alone

On both Sunday and Monday nights I went out with friends for some get away time. On Sunday night, it was margaritas with my wild and crazy friends who make me laugh hysterically and we always have the best time going out. We ate delicious Mexican food, drank our margarita limits (there's a limit of 2-3 at this place) and then took our pregnant designated driver out for an ice cream cone at Ben & Jerry's. It was a much needed break. We laughed, complained, vented, but mostly goofed off and laughed so hard we cried. I am so lucky to have this group of friends in my life because without them, I would be one miserable person.

On Monday night it was wine and cheese (mocktails for those who didn't drink) with mostly playgroup friends. It was a more relaxed night with lots of conversation. We ate spinach artichoke dip with fresh spinach from the host's garden (it was awesome), ate cheese and vegetables, cheesecake squares and talked the whole time.

On both nights, not only did I get a much needed break from my family, the much needed time to unwind and relax, but I also got a much needed reminder...

I'm not alone.

Whenever a group of moms get together the conversation always includes discussion about parenting issues that are being dealt with, like discipline, the stupid things our husbands do and say, how tired we all are and how do we all manage to do the things we do. It sounds like a massive venting session, but really, it's a time where a group of stay-at-home moms (or mostly stay-at-home) can connect because we're all experiencing the same challenges. It's a time where we are listened to by women who understand and these moments are vital to a mom's sanity level.

I needed this more than anything. The last few weeks here at home have been beyond draining. Then with Bill coming home and making comments that make me want to give him a concussion (like how I am the only one doing what I do), it's amazing that we're back on speaking terms (because we weren't for a while there).

Much like the comments that I get on this blog, all of my friends are in the same boat. Our kids can drive us nuts, we get frustrated, often find ourselves yelling more than we'd like and grasping at straws to keep it all together. Different things work for different kids and families, but we all understand what each other is going through. Getting that confirmation that I'm not the only one was more comforting than anything.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


So, we all know those "Mom Instincts", right? The ones where you know something about your kid; when they are hungry and haven't said anything, when they need to go to the bathroom before they do the pee-pee dance, when your baby cries and you know exactly why. Those mom instincts. Well, mine are kicking in again with Logan. I think I need to send him back into speech therapy.

I brought up my minimal concern with Logan's pediatrician at his 3 year check-up. She wasn't concerned at all and said that if I'd like to, I could get him scheduled with the therapist, but she didn't think it was needed. So, I chalked it up to mommy paranoia and away we went and not scheduling an assessment.

As the months have gone by, I've paid close attention to his speech development. I know what he's saying all the time, even though I have to slide in a "Huh? What did you say?" every now and then. But, in comparison to his friends? My God, I don't know how anyone else can understand him! Some of his friends speak clear as a bell. His younger friends! Every word is understandable! Sentence structure and all. Logan is fluent in gibberish and his sentence structure is all over the place and enunciation needs a lot of work.

I've tried to work with him, correcting his speech, correcting grammatical errors (his vs hers, etc) and really working with him on enunciation, but I don't really see a difference. The more days that go by, the heavier my stomach feels and the more I think I need to have him evaluated before preschool.

So, once we get some things squared away, I'm going to get him checked out again. I hope I can do this before school starts and if not, I won't be too worried because I've already talked to his teachers about speech delays. They've had plenty of experience in that department. However, I think it would help if we knew what to work on before going to school.

Ugh. I can't believe we're back here again.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Vacation alone?

One perk to having a job with a company is that you get vacation days. Moms don't get those. Or do they? Over the last week my brain went haywire (for MANY reasons) and steam came blowing out of my ears. Part of the problem was that I was (am) frustrated to the max (with MANY things) and asked for help. Logan is one of the parts of life I need help with. He just doesn't listen. TO ANYTHING I SAY. I know this is not uncommon and every mom with kids deals with this on a daily basis, but sometimes, this whole being ignored routine (by everyone) is like Chinese Water Torture. I get worn down and then snap.

This tends to happen to people who are over-worked and need a break. That's when most people take vacations days and hang out at the beach for a while. It came up in conversation that I should go on vacation. Alone.

Bill has plenty of vacation time and can take a week to stay at home with the boys while I go on vacation by myself. Going to Portland to see my sisters was mentioned, and I would love to, but would also feel kind of weird going without the kids. Does this sound weird to anyone else but me? Given the chance, would everyone grab their suitcase and start booking flights before their husband could even finish the sentence "...vacation alone..."?

I talked to a few friends and with mouths dropped to the floor "He said what? GO! DO IT!" and of course a group vacation was mentioned. This I would do. If everyone could really do it.

So, yeah. I need a vacation. Desperately. Who knows if it will actually happen.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Soundtrack: Girl Talk - Feed The Animals

One foot in front of the other
Shoulders swing to tempo
Breath in and out

Pick up the pace
Inhale deeper
Recognize the burn
Concentrate on the music...

"West Side walk it out

South side walk it out

East side walk it out

North side walk it out"

Adrenaline rush explodes
Shiver down the spine
Flowing through the veins
Saturating the marrow

Hair stands up

Flesh tingles
Cool ecstasy covers skin

"I got my drink and my two step, my drink and my two step
Got my drink and my two step, my drink and my two step

It's on! It's on, it's on (and I'm home) (Get the Patron and tell 'em that it's on)
I got my drink and my two step, my drink and my two step

Got my drink and my two step, my drink and my two step
It's on!
It's on, it's on (and I'm home)
(Get the Patron and TELL 'EM THAT IT'S ON)"

Wave of exhilaration
Pushing the limits to feel

Lungs expand
Chest heaves
Muscles ache
Legs sting
Mind clears
Soul releases

"Drop n gimme 50, drop n gimme 50
Girl drop n gimme 50
, Drop n gimme 50, drop n gimme 50
Drop n gimme 50, girl drop n gimme 50


Experience the beat

"Come on, come one, come on Let me show you what it's all about!"

Euphoria peaks
Head pounding
Body throbbing

Accelerate faster
Punish harder
Suffer more
Endure longer

"Body movin' body movin'
A1 sound in the town so soothing Body movin' body movin'
We be getting down and you know we're crush groovin'

Lip biting
Grip tightening
Moan stifling
Physical tormenting

Control the cadence
The gasp
The torture
Refuse to surrender

"Gimme Gimme more
Gimme more
Gimme gimme more

Base bumping
Heart thumping
Face dripping
Psyche focusing

Music moves
Body strides
Mind propels
Emotion fuels

"Upside down and inside out I'm about to show all you folks What's it's all about
Now it's time for a brother to get on the mic
And make this mother party hype
I'm taking it back to the old school 'Cause I'm an old fool who's so cool
If you want to get down I'm gonna show you the way whoomp there it is
Let me hear you say"

Sweating it out
Letting go
Physical relief
Cardio catharsis

Monday, July 06, 2009

4th of July holiday weekend

With the weather we've been having these last few months, sometimes I wonder if we're back in Portland again. We've had more rain than I can ever remember in the years we've been living in Colorado. It's getting a bit irritating because every single outdoor activity we plan is ruined by rain; planting flowers on Mother's Day, playing disc golf at a certain course on Father's Day, and the 4th of July was no exception.

Bill had Friday off, so we planned on going out for a country breakfast and playing some disc golf at a course in the woods. We woke up to rain and mud. Frustrated that our plans were dashed yet again, we decided to go anyway. We drove to this restaurant we talked about reviewing, watching the sky look more and more scary. Just as we were pulling up, thunder and lighting started. As we were eating, it rained and poured.

By the time we were finished, the sky was blue again and everything was wet. We went to the course anyway where we fought off mosquitoes and Logan stomped through puddles and fell in the mud. He had so much fun. Bill also had a great time, shooting a hole-in-one for the first time this season. It was an impressive shot! Carter, while tired because we messed with his nap schedule, was happy in the Kelty pack and enjoyed the ride.

On Saturday I took Logan to go see the new Ice Age movie, just the two of us (after Bill said that we needed to bond after I wanted to strangle him all weekend). It was fun and he was listening pretty well. It was cute to watching him inhale the movie popcorn.

When we got home, we thought it would be the perfect time to help Logan learn to ride his bike - that he so adamantly doesn't want to ride. He gets frustrated because he peddles backward and starts breaking. So we worked with him, encouraging him and letting him ride in the street of our cul-du-sac. He did great! He went back and forth, only breaking occasionally, until he fell off his bike and landed on his head. He got some respectable road rash on his forehead. Bill and I did not have him wear a helmet because we honestly didn't think he was going to ride that far. Our mistake! But, he was fine. He shook it off and ate a Popsicle, all smiles again. Next time he's not riding without protection.

We had plans to hang out in the driveway coloring on the sidewalk, light some fire works and eat hot dogs later that night. Again, we were rained out. Carter was in bed by 5:00, Logan and I had only 20 minutes or so to color and we discovered that our town doesn't allow for fireworks anyway - only pops and lame streamers. It was dumping buckets again, so we didn't think it was a good idea to go to the park to watch the City's firework display, however, Bill did end up taking Logan to his office patio where they could watch the show in a dry place while I stayed home with the sleeping baby. Logan evidently had a blast.

I would not say that this was the best holiday weekend ever, but it could have been worse. It's all because our plans never go as, well, planned. It just sucks that we're getting rained out all of the time!