Sunday, December 16, 2007

Pre Christmas

Wow. Almost two months since I’ve written in here?

We painted. A month or so ago. Hubby was in London and I talked my sister into coming down to help me paint, and Mom and Dad took the girls for the night. It was originally just going to be Friday night, and I’d go get the girls Saturday, but when we got the purple on the walls in the girl’s room the ceiling, which we hadn’t planned on painting, looked so dirty it was obvious we had to paint it. Kristin said it looked like there had been a fire and there was smoke damage all over the ceiling. So we had to take all the stuff down off the ceiling, and go get white paint, and paint the ceiling. That took much longer into Saturday than I’d thought.

Saturday afternoon I got a call from the Primary president and in talking to her came up with the plan of keeping Kristin another day if she could, and seeing if Mom and Dad could keep the girls, and trying to just keep going and paint the master bedroom too. That’s what we did. So in a wild weekend Kristin and I painted the girl’s room and our room.
We did a good job, actually, and it looks much better. I put the master bed on an angle and I like it except that the nightstands are kind of deep and it sort of closes off Hubby’s side of the bed, making it hard for him to get in and out. I’d move the whole bed but there is a vent right in the wrong place on the floor.

Thanksgiving was really nice. We went to Logan and the girls had a great time, I made the sweet potato casserole and brought pumpkin pie from Costco. I didn’t do the early morning shopping thing on Friday with Glade like I have done the past couple of years, and it was nice to sleep in.

We spent a week in Orlando, Hubby was there for a conference and really wanted us to come out and meet some of his friends. Ironically, we only met one, his friend Naresh from India. We had a five day pass to Disney World, and really had a great time. We went to the Animal Adventure the first day (Friday), the Epcot, then because the girls were getting so anxious to ride some rides we went to Magic Kingdom. The original plan was to go to Magic Kingdom three days in a row, and blow off MGM, but Thing 1 made a comment that she was getting tired of Magic Kingdom so we went to MGM. Of course there weren’t as many rides, but we found all the rides we could, and there were other interesting things and it was fun for me and Hubby too.
Thing 1 and 2 and I had first class seats on both of the legs of the trip home, Hubby was with us for one, the girls and I did the other. It was a bit of a juggling act keeping them happy from across the aisle, but we managed. We flew back on the 12th of December, and for my birthday Huby bought a glass cube that had images of the girls inside. It wasn’t a surprise because they did it at Epcot and it took 45 minutes, and I got involved trying to help get the girls to hold still for five seconds.

The rest of the week I have been trying to catch up. The house is still kind of a mess upstairs from the painting, I’ve only got one of the toddler beds out of the way, the other one is still leaning against the wall. Oh, did I mention that we bought an IKEA bunkbed that is short enough to put right against the wall. Kristin slept in the bottom bunk one of the nights she was here, and said it was much more comfortable than the futon downstairs. I had to paint it white to make it go in their room, and I took one of the two toddler beds to Kid 2 Kid in the back of Kristin’s car, but I haven’t had the girls out of my hair long enough to get the other bed to Kid 2 Kid, since I have to fold the seats down to get it in the trunk.

Thing 2 had a bad morning this morning.
She was playing with Thing 1 and when I told them it was time to go downstairs and have breakfast because we needed to get going to not be late for church, she wigged out. She attacked the Megablock tower Thing 1 had built, demolishing it. It was kind of like she burst into the Tasmanian Devil or something. Then of course Thing 1 launched herself and Thing 2 in retaliation for destroying the tower, and when I tried to intervene, Thing 2 just started screaming and yelling.

After the yelling stopped and she was asking to be forgiven, we came downstairs and started breakfast. Thing 2 noticed there are a bunch of presents under the tree that I put there last night, and started hauling them in to show us in the kitchen. Then it got quiet for a moment and Hubby heard tearing in the front room, only to poke his head in to see Thing 2 had unwrapped one of her presents. She hadn’t opened the box, but she had gotten all the paper off. Telling her it wasn’t Christmas yet, even telling her gently, only resulted in a new episode of screaming and crying. She was hollering that we hate her and she hates us and on and on… trying to reason with her is just a waste of time, I hate being near the screaming anyway so I don’t know why I bother. I went upstairs to comb my hair and she came up begging forgiveness again…

She wigged out one more time when we were putting her coat on, her sleeves were too tight to get her hands down her coat sleeves, and she started doing her fit thing. There are times I want to just toss her under a cold shower…

Otherwise the girls have been being fabulous. They are very ready for Christmas, excited about Santa. Thing 1 has told us she wants a Nintendo DS for Christmas. When I try to put her off with comments about how expensive it is, she came up with a alternate game plan. “I know,” she told me. “I’ll ask Santa for it. Then you won’t have to pay for it!!” Brilliant! Thing 2 also threw a curve ball by asking Santa for a teddy bear. A Teddy Bear? Yes, a teddy bear. Hmmm… hadn’t planned on that one, either. As often happens to me at Christmas, I start looking forward to it being over. Sometimes the extra work it involves just seems like more than I want to do. Right now, I would really like a nap. In fact… I might just be able to finagle one. There were a bunch of absolutely darling things I was going to write about the girls but have of course forgotten them.

Saturday, November 3, 2007


We had a great Halloween.
Carved a bunch of pumpkins. My sister sent a funny email with all sorts of weird pumpkins in it, and some were easy enough that we could do. We've got one pumpkin eating another, and one throwing up. Yep, that's me, I'm a sophisticated erudite person who carves pumpking vomiting out their seeds.

Once we had a cousin of mine answer the door so I could go trick-or-treating with the kids, but she told us later a lot of the kids were dissapointed that they didn't recognize her and we weren't there to show off their costumes to. So Hubby usually takes the kids around the neighborhood, since it seems like there needs to be someone there who recognizes the kids who come by (me,) so I often try and tell him a few streets to hit, but mostly they just wander around until the kids are cold.

Both girls wore costumes Grandma made them. Thing 1 had a fabulous blue and gold dragon costume, thanks to Grandma. Last year she was a purple kitty, thanks to grandma, so that's what Zoe was this year.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Raking leaves is fine, not my favorite chore but it's just fine. The good part is having the girls jump in the piles. I remember being frustrated that the pile wasn't soft when you jumped in it, but they don't seem to mind.

This is one of my favorite pictures of Thing 1.

And since I'm including photos just because they're so darn cute - this is Thing 2 picking her pumpkin at the pre-school pumpkin outing.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Zoe’s friend Maxine is here and they are alternately playing together very nicely, and not playing together. Zoe is pretending to be afraid of Maxine, and curling up on the couch in a ball. Maxine gets frustrated with this and comes to me for help. So she and I had a snack together with Thing 2 howling in the background.

Wytie’s grandma will be bringing Thing 1 home any minute. I asked her to pick Thing 1 up because I was waiting for a UPS package for Hubby that had to be signed for. The package came, but when it was time to go to school it turns out Thing 2 was embroiled in her unhappiness.

Hubby is in India. He left on Monday morning, and between the time changes and the expense and spotty internet connections, he hasn’t been able to call but for two minutes (yes, two minutes) last night. He used the new iPhone, and the call probably cost $5.00, but I was glad to hear he was okay. We texted quite a bit the day after he left, so I knew he was alive.

I am feeling a little… frustrated. There are so many things to do… and while I’m knocking off the little ones from my list, there are some pretty big remodeling projects that need to be done. The office needs to be emptied, painted, and new shelves and apparently a new desk needs to be bought. I need to move my stuff out, and make more room for his stuff. My frustration with this, aside from the fact that I will probably be doing most of it myself, is that while he certainly needs more room for his professional library, giving him more shelf space might mean more room for papers and stuff like that which I don’t quite know how to go through, no really more book shelf space. Another problem is I don’t really have shelves in the breakfast nook, where my stuff is supposed to go to, to hold my stuff. Of course there will be some shelves freed up when we get some new shelves for him, but it needs some serious reorganization in there too. Luckily I’m not hoping to get it painted before the reorganization is done.

Then there’s the girls bedroom. Thing 1 has pretty much grown out of her toddler bed, and needs a twin bed. We found a bunk bed at IKEA that is quite short and I think will be fine, but again, I want to paint. I don’t like the white-favoring-gray walls up there, and there’s no reason they should stay that way for another five years. Except that the carpet is gray. That’s my one limiting factor.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Thing 1 turns 6

Since we have a family celebration for the girls for their birthdays, I've limited the girl's friend parties to every other year. This was Thing 1's 2nd friend party. We just had it at home, with several games and things we've seen from pre-school and other parties. One of my favorite things was filling squirt guns with colored water and letting the party guests paint something painted on fabric on the clothesline. Thing 1 had a "pony" themed party, so Hubby painted horses and the kids got to squirt them.

We also did a pinata, we've done one for nearly each birthday party and the trouble is getting the darned thing open. We usually let the kids whack until they're tired, then just rip the thing open.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Noise Levels

I have a screamer. If Thing 2 doesn’t get her way, she screams. I do not know how to deal with it and it’s starting to cause problems.
When she started, my response was “That’s an outside voice so you get to go outside.” I would pick her up and plop her outside the back door. She got a blanket to wrap up in (she started when it was cold) and her binky if she wanted it at the time, though sometimes it took me a minute to go find it…
It got to be kind of amusing. She’d just sit out there in the cold on a little kid lawn chair. She’d usually immediately stop crying and screaming the minute I put her out there, sometimes she’d holler but not usually for very long. I’d give her a couple of minutes I’d pop my head out the back door and ask if she was ready to come in. most of the time the initial response was to bellow at me. I’d do this a time or two. Eventually, I’d poke my head out and she’d be waiting for me, all smiles, and say “yes, mommy, I’m ready to come in now.”
So it seemed to work for a while.
Then it seemed I was hardly ever putting her out there anymore, and when she did scream and I’d turn to her and say outside she’d turn on her heel and sprint off in the other direction screaming “I don’t want to go out side!” If I did chase her down and catch her, she wouldn’t just sit and scream or sit quietly like before, she’d open the door and come in. So I started locking the door. She’d then throw herself at the door and scream “Let me IN!”
Okay, so that wasn’t working anymore. But I’ve kind of been left with no options. She can let herself out of whatever confinement I’ve given her. We haven’t tried to time her out with no real boundaries, the uncooperative chair or whatever, maybe that’s the next step… but it’s just such a punishing scream. She’ll either let loose with this oncoming train blast, or sometimes she’ll just start screaming and crying and she kind of gets hysterical and can’t seem to stop herself.
There was one night in the bathtub she slipped into that mode, for whatever reason she wasn’t getting what she wanted and started screaming and wouldn’t stop. I pulled her out of the bathtub and quickly dried her off (still screaming) and popped her outside the bathroom door. And locked it. She continued her hysterics, kicking the door and screaming. She’s screaming she’s naked and cold. I got her into her pajamas, and I get fuzzy on this point, but the screaming didn’t stop and she ended up outside the bathroom door again screaming. You can come in if you stop screaming. She didn’t. Then she starts screaming “I’m done!” I open the door and say “Well stop it, then!” and she pushes herself into the door and into the bathroom where she continues crying and screaming with me saying “Stop it.” Finally. I turned on the shower (separate shower and tub in our upstairs bath) and plopped her into a cold shower. She really started screaming for a minute, she was very upset that her pajamas were wet, but she did stop after a couple of seconds under the cold water. So I got her out and she whined that the ONLY pajamas she wanted to wear were the wet ones, no others would do.
So, short of plopping her in a cold shower, I don’t know what to do with her. And I’m kind of saving that for those “I’ve gone hysterical and I can’t stop” moments.
She started on it today. She was eating lunch with Thing 1 and my niece who we had over. I was in the other room going through some mail, and next thing I know Thing 2 is in the kitchen screaming. I come into the kitchen to see what’s going on and she runs out the other door. Thing 1 and Niece are sitting at the table looking stunned (Thing 2 has one hell of a scream.) Long story short when she did come back to the table I told her she needed to apologize to Thing 1 and Niece for screaming at them. “I wasn’t screaming at them.” You weren’t? who were you screaming at? “I was screaming at you.” Me? Why were you screaming at me? __Insert wild contrived fantasy here about I was at the bottom and she was at the top and on and on about something that sounded vaguely like something that had happened a couple of hours ago on the stairs. Whatever.

About once, maybe twice a week, she does this. Her temper has always been on the explosive side, and in less time than I could say “Thing 2…” she’s gone from calm to hysterically screaming.

Last Saturday as we were getting ready to go to breakfast and then the zoo it started up again. It’s kind of amusing to me to watch Jeff try to handle it. A long time ago he chastised me for raising my voice to her when she started getting hysterical. I agreed it was ineffective and worked around to find other ways to deal with her (I think that’s what started the thing about putting her in the back yard.) And last weekend I got to watch him get increasingly frustrated with her and start to raise his voice. And yup, it was just as ineffective when he did it as when I did it. A couple of weeks before this he’d watched me lock her in the back yard and seen how ineffective that’s gotten, and pointed that out to me, so we’ve stopped doing that and now we’re kind of left with no real response. He was trying to get her attention to even begin to make her stop… My response was to say Daddy and Thing 1 are going to breakfast and the zoo. When you stop, we’ll go too. Then I tried to get him to go.
He didn’t want to go. He got as far as the garage, then came back and tried to reason with her some more. He’s home for 22 hours and he doesn’t want to spend it with just Thing 1 and leave me and Thing 2 home screaming. So he comes back in and tries to reason with her.
I don’t remember how it finally ended… I thought I had been doing pretty well, she’d stopped screaming and moved to begging that she wanted to go when he came in, and she’d immediately escalated it up a notch and started screaming again.
It’s just hard to watch her not seeming to make the connection between her screaming and her getting into trouble. You scream and the world stops being nice for everyone. What about this don’t you get?
She did it to me again today. I bought them a computer game when Thing 2 was with me at Costco. It’s really for Thing 1, it’s a little advanced for Thing 2, but she sure as heck wants to do it. She griped at me while I was installing and registering it to hurry up and get out of the way. Then it stalled several times, and when I’d try and intervene she’d gripe at me to get out of the way and let her play. We did get it to move forward some, but it doesn’t seem to be working quite right, and she was having trouble with the mouse moving off the edge of the table. I’d try and show her she just needs to pick up the mouse and move it to the middle of the mouse moving space, and you’d have thought I spit on her or something, she was so angry at me for interfering.

My patience is just about at its end with her. I told her I wasn’t helping her anymore because I don’t like being screamed at. Her response? A very confident “you’ll forget.”

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Waxing poetical

You’d think it would kill me to get to bed before midnight. It helps that my folks let me sleep in in the mornings while they entertain the girls… I just come up here and collapse.

Hubby called from DC where he is attending the Agile Alliance conference to say that he received the very prestigious Gordon Pask award. Yippeeee!!! What it means for us: it looks great on his resume, and on the back of his book, free marketing, and a travel award for him to attend two international conferences at their expense. Since we are now paying for his travel, this is a good thing. At this conference he learned the scuttle butt around ThoughtWorks is that he separated from the company to do his own thing. Most people who have separated from ThoughtWorks have, from what I’ve heard, gone out with more of a bang. He kind of quietly slipped out sometime last March or so, but they’ve just finally noticed that he’s gone and started to make it official.

So as I’m talking to him on the phone, it’s pushing 10:30 and Thing 2, who took a long late nap today, came upstairs again. I hung up to go put her back to bed and as I’m trying to politely convince her of her need of sleep, out of the blue she asks me “Who brings us the night?”
I was speechless for a moment… what poetry! What a beautiful line coming from a four year old! I asked her where she’d heard that… she kind of mumbled and made some reference to hearing it at a friend’s house, but I’m not sure. I’ll have to ask her friend’s mother, but it sure was poetry out of the mouth of a baby to me.

So I wrote a poem around it.

Who brings the night? My daughter said,
As I kissed the top of her small blonde head.
And tucked her, again, into her bed…

Why does it come, to close my day
And bring an end to all my play?
And send the sunlight on its way?

Why is it dark, she asked me, why?
Why are the lights not in the sky?
I’m scared of the dark and want to cry.

I whisper close to her small curled ear
The dark is your friend, my darling, my dear,
Like a big warm blanket, pulling near.

The dark is here so you can rest,
And cuddle the teddy you like best
And dream your dreams curled in your nest.

Tomorrow we have things to do
And you’ll be tired before it’s through
And glad your bed is waiting for you.

So rest your head and snuggle down tight
Let your imagination roam all night
Your dreams can gallop out of sight.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Bear Lake

We got an invitation to go to Bear Lake with my brother's family. It is funny that if you asked me ten years ago what my favorite thing in the world to do was, I would have told you waterskiing, but life kind of took me in a different direction, and that direction isn't really involved with watersports. Life does funny things. So here we are bumming a ride around the lake from my brother.

This is my brother sitting at the steering wheel.

The girls had a great time - this is them on the tube with their cousin.

They loved just riding around in the boat.

This is my brother skiing - he's pretty awesome. Yes, I hate that word, but yes, it applies in this case.

Grandma even came out for a ride in the boat. I decided not to put in the picture of my brother giving her a piggyback ride out to the boat that was anchored in the lake. You can picture that one in your head.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Thing 2 turns 4

It was Thing 2's first time for a friend birthday party. She wanted to have it at our house, but I didn't. It's awfully hot, and unfortunately the only place for us to do anything with the kids - any crafts or eating or anything, in the coolness of the house, is sitting right in front of the swamp cooler. If you turn off the swamp cooler, so the kids aren't blasted across the room, the temperature rises swiftly. So I copied someone else who recently invited us to a party, and we went to a swimming pool and had watermelon and chips on the lawn afterward. Then I took the kids over to a nearby kiddie ride place and bought them each a couple of rides.

The theme she picked was Hello Kitty. I made a cake, copying the picture on the invitation, and was quite pleased with how it turned out.

Catching up

Busy busy month.

We spent five days in Jackson with my family and had a glorious time. It was nice to see Jeff, after his week in India he was home for about 18 hours then went to North Carolina for a couple of days, was supposed to be back the night before we left for Jackson but his flight was delayed and he got stuck in Cincinnati for the night and ended up getting back to Salt Lake about 2 hours before we left for Jackson. He realized he’s slept in his own bed four nights in the past month.
We hiked a couple of days, and ran the river, and then spent an extra day playing by the pool with the kids. All in all we had a really nice time.

Grandma’s story is that once when she had the grandkids at the pool while Jeff and I were somewhere else, the kids in the kiddie pool, including Thing 2, were pointing out their parents to each other. Thing 2 pointed out my mother to the other kids and said “You see that Old Lady over there? That’s my Grandma!” Mom said she felt rather exposed, she’d never been called that before.

Jeff was in town for part of a week, then left for a conference in Chicago. We celebrated Thing 2’s fourth birthday on Sunday before he left, we had a really nice spaghetti dinner (her choice) and had a pony shaped cake from Sydney, the lady I know who makes the fabulous cakes. The girls and I had a quiet 24th, trying to get ready for her friend birthday party on on Wednesday. We met at the Liberty Park Pool and it was very nice, she just had a couple friends and my cousin Wendy and her three kids were in town. We swam until lunchtime then had watermelon, and I had made a Hello Kitty cake for her the night before which she was quite tickled about. When we were done swimming and eating I popped for some midway rides at the little park next to the pool for all the kids. Since I hadn’t been able to get Dominos to deliver to the pool, I had more cash than I had intended. I think Thing 2 had a good time overall, despite the few moments of being upset that Maxine (her friend) said she liked Thing 1 better than her. Thing 1 and Sophia (Thing 1’s friend) were playing pretty happily together… Thing 2 seems quick to take offense sometimes.

Later I hosted Wendy and her family and Janet and Gary for dinner – this basically doubled my usual contingent for hosting people, what with a birthday party and a dinner party all in one day.

We came up to Logan the next day. Thing 2 had a fit during breakfast because I asked her to take her Little Ponies off the table, then asked her to not throw a fit at the breakfast table. Her options were to eat without a fit, or to go outside with her ponies and her breakfast and have a fit. She took the third option, stumble around the kitchen screaming like a banshee. I got increasingly frustrated at her blocking my attempts to have a quiet breakfast. When she finally did calm down she insisted she was crying because I gave her too much cereal. Sigh.

When we were in Jackson Dad had a sty on his eye he was having trouble with. Apparently Mom told him to put Neosporin on it, that’s what she does with hers. Kristin and I expressed our surprise at that, and told him we heard you should hot pack a sty, slathering it Neosporin sounds counterproductive. I thought it looked better after he’d started hot packing, but he kept up with the Neosporin. Well, after a couple of weeks it wasn’t really getting better, and in fact on some mornings it was quite a bit worse. Finally one morning it was really awful. He says he’d gotten kind of sporadic about putting the hot packs on it because it was time consuming, and then woke up one morning and it was really awful. He finally went to the doctor, who was somewhat alarmed and sent him to an eye doctor because he thought they’d need to lance the infection. The eye doctor asked him what he had been doing to treat it… then told him the problem was he was having an allergic reaction to Neosporin.

I just find this so funny!

I had lunch with Sandra and Jill (old high school friends of mine) and some of their kids today. Jill’s 10 year old daughter Jessa came, and all of Sandra’s kids with her visiting Japanese student who was very sweet and handing out little presents to everyone with surprising frequency. Sandra’s kids didn’t have a very high tolerance for McDonalds and we didn’t stay too long there. It was awfully noisy and cold, too. So we went to Sandra’s house. When we were getting ready to leave, Sandra’s daughter Anna, who is a little older than Thing 2, went sprinting over to the neighbor’s house. Then when we left, Thing 2 completely came unglued because Anna wasn’t there to say goodbye to. I completely intended to stand firm and get her in the car and go, but she finally stopped screaming and sort of asked without crying if she could go say goodbye. I caved and let her go over to the neighbor’s house and say her farewells properly. It really ticks me off that she gets what she wants by having a royal hissy fit. What happens is I get outrageously angry at her for screaming and then give in just so I can get on with life. It still pisses me off to think about it. I feel bad that someday when Thing 1 and Thing 2 are reading this, a lot of my stories now are going to be about Thing 2’s fits. My quiet, compliant little Thing 1 doesn’t cause these kinds of problems that prompt me to vent my frustrations on the computer. Bless her little heart.
Thing 1 is finding herself at loose ends at Grandma’s. She has decided that what she needs to occupy herself is to dye some Easter Eggs. I keep reminding her that it’s not time for easter eggs and I don’t have any dye, but she has come up with a neat new scheme on how she was going to color the eggs and drew many diagrams showing us how she was going to decorate these eggs. She is very persistent about it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Another day in the neighborhood

Thing 1 and 2 are in the other room watching TV. I can hear their conversation through the open door. Thing 2 becomes inordinately upset and is wailing about a line on her foot. Thing 1 looks at it and says it’s just a line, just a wrinkle on your foot. Thing 2 says but I don’t want a line on my foot! Why is it there? Thing 1says “It’s just the way Jesus made you.”

For anyone else this would be normal, not particularly noticeable conversation. But for me, who has too long ignored my children’s religious upbringing, this brings joy to my heart. Somewhere along the line, from Church, from reading, or from me, Thing 1 has indeed picked up a little bit of religion.

This morning Thing 2 was quite excited about breakfast. She grabbed the Nestle strawberry milk powder from the pantry and galloped with it to the table. However the lid was not snapped on tightly and in her galloping, she was exuberantly tossing the container around as she galloped, the lid flipped off and about ¼ of a large container of pink powder went all over the floor, which she skidded on, and all over her clothes. Her response, not too unexpectedly, was to start to wail. No matter how many times she is encouraged to not wail as a first response, it is still her first response to anything the least bit negative.

Hubby came back from Italy on Sunday. The girls and I spent most of the previous week in Logan, culminating in a couple of days on Bear Lake with my brother's family. The girls had a fabulous time, I think their favorite part was riding on the chariot innertube thing with their cousin. But they really enjoyed jumping on the trampoline, riding in the boat, and playing in the water. We wore them down to the nub and even Thing 1, who isn’t much of a napper, fell asleep in the boat for a couple of hours. All in all they just had a fabulous time.

Speaking of which, when we were in Logan my uncle Glade and Aunt Vicki came up for a reunion the next day and since we were looking for a babysitter so I could go to the play with Kristin that night, we asked them to babysit. They said everything went well, but thought the girls exceptionally funny and cute. Glade was particularly amused when something happened that pleased Thing 2 and she said it was Fabulous. Apparently they’re not used to three year olds calling things Fabulous.

I came home and put up the 2nd tarp on the fort, so now both sections have shade. This was a no-question requirement for me, as the sun beating down really warmed up the decking, and from about 10:00 a.m. on the higher slide section was directly in the sun, and as the sun moved across the sky, the too-hot-to-stand-on section just got bigger and bigger. Yesterday we all had lunch on the fort about 2:00 pm. before Hubby left, and the whole deck was in the shade. I am very pleased with how the fort turned out. There are about three things left to do: We need to buy and dump in three or so more bags of sand. The two person swing needs to be put on, but I’m not sure I’m going to get to that. The rails are half nice redwood posts, and half shanty-looking cedar planks, but I don’t know if or when that will ever be taken care of. We do what we can...

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Jim Bridger would be proud

We spent the WHOLE day working on the fort in the back yard.

It started several months ago, my sister brought her truck, her husband, and her stepsons and they helped us clear off a foot of topsoil off the top back bit of our yard, to level out the ground for the fort. They shoveled off a ton of dirt which we wheelbarrowed through the garage - the cedar shingled structure on the right - out the alley to her truck. She took the dirt home to put in her corral. Thanks so much to them!!!

The next step was to begin the building process. The fort will be on the left, out of the picture here.
Our postage stamped sized grassy area has been turned over to the girl’s fort. We’ve spent several half days, and two full days working on it.

The ironic thing is how much time we’ve spent ignoring the girls and getting them to entertain themselves while we were working on this fort we’re building to make their lives more magical and fun.

It has since been finished, with a tarp roof and rails on the sides.

Friday, June 8, 2007

I do windows, though

Hubby has been so overwhelmed with writing the book, working contracts, writing articles for technical publications, editing an issue of a technical publication, preparing workshop handouts/papers/presentations for conferences... etc. etc. etc. he's just running down to the nub. So...Sunday afternoon I asked how I could help. He suggested that I start making dinner.


This is a pretty dramatic change of behavior for me. I can immediately see several potential problems:
1) he is by far the better cook.
2) he enjoys cooking a lot more than I do.
3) more than once when i did start cooking he came in midway and would start to suggest changes... which sometimes goes over okay, sometimes not.
4) he can usually find some way to improve nearly every dish, no matter where it is in the preparation or post-preparation process, which is often annoying, though sometimes not.
5) if he is in town, when he'll be coming home can vary from 6:00 to 7:30 pm with very little notice.
6) when it is just me and the girls, we have frozen chicken nuggets, hot dogs, or meat balls for more often than Hubby would ever tolerate. That is my kind of cooking.

But fine, i can roll with the punches. I bought him a Rachel Ray 30 minute meal cookbook a couple of years ago that has been sitting unopened on the shelf, so I pulled it out and chose a couple of recipes, and went shopping on Monday. Maybe if it only takes 30 minutes I can stand to cook something. I also like that she suggests the whole meal, not just one item. I am famous for pulling a main course out of the oven and blinking in surprise when Hubby asks what else we're having ... "Ahhh... raw carrots and .... a slice of bread for everyone! Huzzah!"

The other challenge is finding something that the girls (Thing 1) will eat. Her menu of acceptable foods is quite limited.

I don't usually talk much to Hubby during the day, but Monday afternoon I needed to ask him something and he casually mentioned he'd be at the library until it closed. This was news. Admittedly he'd said something about not watching a movie or anything that night because he needed to work late, but I had interpreted that to mean that after dinner and putting the girls to bed, he'd need to do some more work.
Do I continue to cook for myself, or do i blow off my new dinner making routine for another day?

I decided I'd go ahead and cook for me and the girls and he could eat when he got home. I made a chicken with gravy, (Thing 1 does eat some chicken if I wash off any seasonings it has on it and hold the gravy) cheesy orzo (I told her it was a different kind of macaroni and cheese) and some vegetables cooked in Balsamic vinegar. (Our balsamic vinegar was so old it pretty much ruined the vegetables.)
Thing 2 fell asleep on the couch while I was cooking, and would not be roused. I finally carried her lifeless body to bed at 8:00.
Thing 1 was enthusiastic about dinner until she walked in the kitchen and saw it on her plate. Then she yelled that she didn't want that for dinner, she wanted waffles, launched into tears, and ran out of the room. No amount of coaxing or rational explanation lessened her overwhelming sorrow.

Skip ahead to ten minutes later I am sitting alone at the table, eating my dinner. Thing 1 comes in, the weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth reaction has passed, and she calmly eats several bites of chicken, a decent sized serving of orzo, pronouncing them both "Good," but no thanks on any more than what she ate. She then asks for her frozen waffle, which has been the deal in our house. If you take a couple of bites of what's on your plate, I'll make you, within reason, something else. I am not completely happy with this deal, and think it’s going to change soon. But that’s another story.

Hubby had a plate when he got home.

That or something like it has been the story. Thing 2 of course wolfs everything down, proclaiming each dish "her favorite," and asks for more. When she's awake.
Over the course of the week, Thing 1's fits upon seeing what dinner actually was have lessened, last night she sat down and had her pork chop and cooked apple slices without hardly a peep, though she only ate three beans (one of each) of the three bean salad and pronounced them completely unpalatable.
Hubby has been high with his praise, has only made suggestions when asked.

So goes my foray into cooking.

This is Thing 1 all ready for her foray into the wading pool in our yard.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Harsh words

I just overheard Thing 2 telling Thing 1, “.... you ruined the whole world and made it upside-down!” I don’t know what Thing 1 did to spark such criticism…

Friday, April 13, 2007

International travel

Hubby is going to Italy in June. I want to go with him, but we just checked the airfare yesterday and while he can use frequent flier miles to buy his trip, he doesn’t have enough to buy mine. The current cost for a round trip to just about anywhere in Europe is around $1600, give or take. This is absolutely outrageous. I don’t remember what I paid for my airfare for London last year, but it was something along the lines of $800 less than two weeks in advance.
The other problem is right now Hubby isn’t getting paid and we’re living on savings. Even if our airfare was covered, it is still going to be close to $2000 in expenses, I’m guessing, while we’re there. I don’t know exactly what hotels and things will cost, but I imagine they’re not giving that stuff away.

Sigh. So I don’t know what to do. Put ourselves even more deeply in debt and go, or send him to this conference alone. I really would like to go with him…

One of the things I felt the need to document that probably hasn’t been before… I noticed the other day some artwork that Thing 1 scratched into the paint job of the Passat a year or so ago. She had a little rock with a sharp end to it, and while I was out in the back doing some yardwork, and I thought she was just puttering around the garage… she decided the paint job of the Passat was boring and needed some dolling up. So she scratched a little design behind the passenger door on both sides. There are also what look like initials scratched into the paint on the back, on the trunk. I heard suspicious noises coming from the garage, finally, and of course found her busily scratching away at the paint. She wasn’t very old… probably 4 or so, but she should have known better. Obviously she didn’t remember the reprimand she received after scratching the hood with a rock while we were in Jackson Hole two years before. And to think my father was worried that he put a long straight scratch on each back passenger door once with the handle of a mop thing he was using to clean the inside of the windshield when I opened the doors to do some vacuuming or something in back… Sigh. Just thought I should write that down for future reference.

Thing 2 has developed a new friend from school – Maxine, whom she plays with every week or so. Thing 1 and Sophia Blue have really become good friends. For the past several months we’ve swapped every Wednesday afternoon, with Sophia coming here one week and Thing 1 going there the next. But her mother picked up a new Wednesday shift at the restaurant she part times at, so now we take Sophia on Wednesdays and Thing 1 goes over there either Monday or Wednesday.

Thing 1 has her 2nd cavity appointment next week. I don’t know where these are coming from, I swear I brush her teeth fairly religiously at night and we picked up morning brushing too after the first cavity, which was only six months or so ago. Her teeth must be made of some sort of chalky substance.

I was released from my church calling as Enrichment Leader, and put in as the 1st counselor in the Primary. All in all, I’m pretty okay with this as I was getting burned out with Enrichment. We’ll see how long I last in the primary. I suspect they’re grooming me for primary president, just like happened when they moved me onto the Enrichment committee. They just don’t have enough moms to fill all the spots in the Primary, and I know that logically I just make a lot of sense. However, I’ve found my lack of honest religious devotion getting in the way of some things. How do I ramble on about my testimony when I am not comfortable doing that? My kids don’t say their prayers at night, let alone have any idea who President Hinkley is, we don’t read scriptures at all, let alone daily. Sigh. I’m afraid my private neglect of their religious edification is going to become public.

Monday, February 26, 2007


I can pretend my life is about me... but it's really about them. That's okay, they're more entertaining anyway. So I guess I'll just dive right in. This is a photo that they took of Thing 1 at school, and I really like it.

We spent two weeks in Oceanside with my folks this year, and had a fabulous time. One of the really great things was we didn't get robbed while we were there.

We had quite a bit of time to relax and play on the beach, which the girls really enjoyed. Of course in February the weather was a little cold, but we did have a couple of really good days and it seems like we were able to get out to the beach almost every day. Thing 1 and Hubby tried to build some sand castles, but Thing 2 was the professional destruction force that knocked them down as fast as they were built. They had a marvelous time running away from the waves, screaming a lot, and digging in the sand. They loved burying things and digging them back up, making lines in the sand, and crawling around. We also went to both the zoo and Wild Animal park and had really nice times there. Our memberships were good from last year, and so we went as much as we could... though I think we should have gone another day or two anyway.

One of the other highlights of the trip was three days in Disneyland. Like last year, the girls found a ride they liked and stuck with it. I think Thing 2 and I rode the Toon Town roller coaster no fewer than thirty times one evening. After the crowds leave if you ask them, they'll just let you go again and again if no one else is waiting to get on your car. Hubby got queasy after about the third time through and stuck it out to be a good sport, but Thing 2 and I could have gone all night. The girls were also more willing to pose with the characters this year. In the past they have been very shy of anyone in a big suit, but this year they were more willing to talk to and stand with the characters. They had especially good experiences with Mickey, who made a big fuss and spent a lot of time gesturing with them, and Tigger, who took one of their hands in each of his and hopped off with them. The rest of the crowd, including me and Hubby, followed like the pied piper's band. It was one of my favorite moments of our park visit.
I guess that's all for one night....

Monday, January 22, 2007


Since we've started talking about going to Oceanside Thing 2 has popped up with a memory from last year. Which is odd, considering she would have been 2.5 years old... it's kind of amazing she remembers much at all. Anyway, she talks about how Papa fell asleep outside on the chair. Apparently he was eating dry cereal, and he had some in his hand. Thing 2 remembers taking the cereal out of his limp hand and eating it, without waking him up. Which sounds completely plausible. When I asked her about this to demonstrate her amazing memory to Jeff, she added some richness and detail to the story that she hadn't before. All of which seemed to just verify the truth of it.

Both girls are so excited about going. They don't understand the concept of "we'll be going in a couple of weeks," they're ready to leave tomorrow. In fact several times they've suggested we leave later in the current day. When I picked Thing 2 up from school on Friday her teacher said goodbye a little more warmly than usual, then I guess saw me watching curiously so she explained that Thing 2 told her we were leaving for the beach. I had to explain to her that it will be two or three weeks before we go.

I've been on a vacuuming kick. Since I bought the Dyson I'm not just waiting to vacuum every month or so... I'm vacuuming several times a week. It's amazing... In fact I saw some stuff on the rug and I'd like to vacuum now... One of my problems is the girls usually have a mess all over the floor. This occurs even in their bedroom, despite the fact that almost all of the toys have been moved to the playroom now. So it means I vacuum upstairs one day, and downstairs the other. I probably vacuum each floor about every third day... downstairs, then upstairs and I sometimes even drag the Dyson up there, then I skip a day or two then start over. If I compare my PreDyson behavior with my Post Dyson behavior it is a truly dramatic change. Since I've been weighing the dirt I get out of the rug, I've been convinced that it is working. Either the thing isn't picking up as well or I am actually decreasing the amount of dirt in our house. I'm choosing to believe there's less dirt.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

My life as a ticking bomb...

I am too tense.

I was on the phone with my folks, cleaning up the house so I could vacuum before the kids make so much of a mess I can no longer vacuum.
Suddenly they appear before me with a set of scrapbook paper doll things I must have got from Current a while back. Time to hang up the phone. I REALLY don’t want to do this paper doll thing, I want to vacuum and then start the laundry, and then get the kids dressed because I have to take them to the store and buy stuff to make for the cooking group tonight.
But that’s not going to happen. Suddenly we are going to have a scrapbook paperdoll making party. Did I say the girls are still in their pajamas? It’s 11:30…
My idea was that they could decorate a page and put a photo on it. So I’m trying to control what paper doll things get punched out, and find some photos to put on the pages, and about this time all HELL broke loose. Paper doll parts were being punched out with gay abandon whenever my back was turned, the photos that I laboriously found on the camera were printing in 45 inch format instead of 4 x 6, Thing 2 came in and wanted to play Nemo on the computer while I was trying to control the damage from the photo and the paper doll thing, and suddenly the printer is printing off a back log of pictures that Thing 2 apparently queued up last time she played Putt Putt. They can send dozens of pictures to the printer and we've talked about this before. I got upset and made both girls cry... and had to do an overly dramatic worshipful “I’m SO SORRY” thing to get them to calm down.
Trying to contain my tension, we finished the paper doll scrapbook page with NO PHOTOS, just the little paper dolls. Thing 1’s really does look darling, but she’s currently drawing all over the back of it right now. I just need to go rescue it before she starts coloring on the paper dolled part on the front…
Thing 2 is standing next to me begging to play on the computer. Just a minute honey…
She says “I want to play Putt Putt..”
I say “I know, honey,”
She roars “I’m not FINISHED!” and starts howling at jumping up and down crying. She had wanted to say "Putt Putt... Saves the Zoo" or "Putt Putt... Travels Through Time" or something, but I didn't realize this and interrupted her. This is a common problem… it takes her about ten minutes to formulate a sentence, usually it’s the same one she’s been chanting at me for the past ten minutes… but while she’s saying it this time, I have to sit quietly and not do anything but listen or she’ll get absolutely pissed off and yell at me, which happens about ten times every hour.

I feel about ready to pop sometimes…

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Living up to a legend

We had a marvelous Christmas…

There are a couple of things I’ve been wanting to write since then… including one I wrote down and emailed myself that I may have to put in here later.
But right now…
I was playing Wii with Thing 1, and Thing 2 was on the computer playing putt-putt or something. Then I hear her going to the bathroom, which usually means she’s going to call me to come wipe her. But she doesn’t. Thing 2 comes in and announces proudly something about she only used a little paper, and she didn’t leave it on the floor. What does that mean? I do not know. She comes in and sits down to play with us. Sure honey, I hand her the contoller, and I go to do something (and find out what she means about the bathroom). She has pulled the toilet paper in a long streamer across the toilet, out the door, through the hall, and into the office.
I call her to find out what’s going on. When she come in she gets kind of vague. I ask her to help roll it back on the roll, since it’s all one big strip, and when she’s doing that I ask her again what happened, why she rolled out all that toilet paper. She starts talking about the time Thing 1 was a baby - crawling - and unrolled the toilet paper while I was in the shower, and when I got out of the shower and found toilet paper all over the bathroom and how I thought it was funny (and took a picture). We had been looking in one of our photo books and saw a picture of the bathroom after Baby Thing 1 had shredded a ton of toilet paper and spread it all over the bathroom.

She wanted to be just like Thing 1, I guess.