Sunday, December 14, 2008

Happy Birthday to me - cough cough

Had a wonderful birthday. The usual hassles of scheduling a date with Hubby, with Mom and Dad as babysitters, should have been easier because Hubby was in town. However, a storm on Saturday (yesterday) and tickets my mom had to the Tabernacle Christmas concert, and a nasty sore throat that Hubby and I both got earlier in the week complicated things to the point that my celebration with Mom and Dad as well as them babysitting for us, got put off for a while.

Hubby and the girls and I went out to dinner on Friday, my birthday, at Red Lobster. It’s usually a pretty safe bet as the girls like Crab and fish okay. It was all right, not fabulous, as Thing 1 wasn’t wild about her fish, though she did eat most of it. Thing 2 was pretty okay with her crab, though it took Hubby a lot of time to get it out of the shell for her, despite having upgraded to king crab legs instead of the normal little snow crab legs.

Hubby made a spice cake for me yesterday, and he and the girls got me some lovely presents. Hubby had let me know that he was looking for something in the mail for me, and I stupidly found it amusing that here I am, in trouble for Christmas shopping in July because the girls end up changing their minds… and I am married to this overnight shipping guy. Only to find that he DID order my gift two weeks ago, and thought he had plenty of time to get it here, but as it was coming from SCOTLAND it took longer than he thought, and so didn’t make it here until Saturday, thus throwing our family celebration off a day. He gave me a beautiful brooch and locket from a place called Heather Gems, the factory of which we visited in Scotland when we were there. Ironically, I guess he took the girls somewhere that has Scottish stuff and Thing 2 picked out a Heather Gems necklace and earring set. Thing 1 picked out a cute little inch high mouse figurine, that I admired appropriately and then put in the display case. Hubby told me later that apparently those are COLLECTIBLE figurines, and the first one she picked out was a retired figurine that sold for $250. He didn’t tell me how much this one sold for, but I suspect it was more than the necklace.

The cold I mentioned earlier was really awful. I felt exhausted a week ago Thursday, but Friday afternoon I figured I was coming down with something and started pounding the Echinacia, by Saturday morning I felt like I had the flu. I missed my mom’s birthday party, and just sent Hubby and the girls. We stayed home from Church, I spent most of those two days on the couch reading, or napping though by then my throat was hurting.. By Monday morning, I didn’t have much choice I had to be up and around. Beside, I did feel somewhat better, except my throat was worse. I made an appointment for Tuesday with the doctor. I had really swollen glands or something in my throat and the back of my mouth.
The doctor said my throat looked awful and despite the quick swab for strep coming back negative, she was sure I probably had strep throat and did the culture 48 hour test. She gave me a prescription.

By that evening, Hubby was coming down with it too. His symptoms mirrored mine, so we both started taking the prescription, and I got him into the doctor the next day. He got his own prescription.
Hubby got worse, I continued to get better, the swelling went down, and I hoped the girls had dodged it. Hubby was down for two days, though he was marginally functional by the 2nd day. I am about better, he says his throat still hurts a little.

Today Thing 1 is telling me her throat is feels weird. Both of them have swollen glands, Thing 2’s look pretty swollen from the inside of her mouth, though she’s not complaining of any sore throat. So I let them talk me into staying home from church.

Pretty comprehensive sick story.

I keep hoping that I can get on top of things, and that by me keeping the whole rest of the house clean, his messes will stand out more and he’ll just naturally take care of them. Without me nagging. But things keep happening that knock me behind, like being sick, or decorating for Christmas, or whatever, and I continue to not catch up on the house, or I do catch up on one room and three days later it looks like I didn’t do a darned thing, and we’re back where we started from.

I should shut up and go clean something.

Friday, December 5, 2008

My monkeys

I love their hugs. The girls squeeze so tight and so sincerely.. Thing 1 used to give monkey hugs with her arms around my neck and legs around my waist… Thing 2 squeezes so tight I think she’s going to pop my head off…

But at 2:30 am… or 5:30 am… any of those early morning hours, being woken up to walk into their room for the sole purpose of being hugged, my enthusiasm wanes.

Monday, November 17, 2008

DisneyWorld

As expected, dad’s Angioplasty revealed his heart is healthy and fabulous. The heart of a man 25 years younger. The Doctor said he’s short of breath because he’s so anemic. It was looking like his bones might be dying, not producing any iron or anything. This hints at leukemia.
So they went back to home, north 80 miles, from the hospital where the tests were done. Long story short, turns out his bones aren’t dead – ruling out leukemia and other bone cancery sort of things. He just had a colonoscopy three years ago, so today they’re going to look at upper GI tract sorts of possibilities of something bleeding out into his body. That happens later this afternoon.

We left for our Orlando vacation on the 12th. I picked the girls up after a morning of school and we flew to Atlanta, then changed planes and went to Orlando. Unfortunately our luggage didn’t make the plane change.
Hubby was there to meet us and took us back to the hotel. As we were letting them know about the luggage Hubby and I discovered we’d had a miscommunication about the hotel dates. I had reserved a Disney hotel for Friday and Saturday nights, but Hubby had told them we’d be checking out of the conference hotel on Thursday morning. He seemed to think that the conference would cover us for one more night, but he seemed a little unsure to me. Again, continuing the miscommunication, I figured it would be cheaper to stay at the Disney hotel an extra night than to pay for the fancy conference hotel. So Thursday morning I got on the phone with Disney, and got us another room. As he was getting out of the shower I told him it would be easier for me to stay in the conference hotel one more day while we’re swimming at the pool… and at that point I learned that he firmly believed it wouldn’t have been a problem for us to get the conference to cover us for another night. Oh well… too late.
So the girls and I had breakfast, then put on our swimming suits and packed up the hotel room, moved all the luggage to the rental car, then went swimming. We saw lizards... lots of them, around the pool. The girls loved it.


Everything was fine until around 3:00. Suddenly Thing 2 told me her stomach hurt… badly. I didn’t know what to do. She just seemed miserable. I sort of panicked, since I didn’t have a comfortable hotel room to take her to, and didn’t have anything in particular to entertain Thing while Thing 2 was resting comfortably on a couch somewhere, I decided to take them both to the Disney hotel and check in.
I had my first experience with Hubby’s navigator thing. It is lovely. Thing 2 fell asleep in the car on the way over.
Thing 2 was pretty much all better by the time I woke her up when I started feeling I had left them alone in the car long enough while I was checking in. We got to the room and I unpacked, then got a message from Hubby saying come pick me up.
We had dinner at a restaurant in downtown Disney called the T-rex experience or something like that. Very noisy, very crowded… and they lost Hubby and my orders. We didn’t get our food until long after the girls had finished.
Long day.
The next day (Friday) we went to Magic Kingdom. It seems like it takes us a while to get started, and it was somewhat crowded but not terrible. Half the problem was figuring out what we wanted to do, and where we wanted to eat. It was also really hot. Th girls were both complaining of being hot and tired…. Then Thing 2 really collapsed and just wanted to sleep. I told Hubby and Thing 1 to go ride some rides and I took Thing 2 on a search for some frozen lemonade, I thought that might make both of us feel better. I got some fairly close to where we left Hubby and Thing 1, and found a table. She almost immediately laid down across a couple of stools and fell asleep. I ate the lemonade and watched all the people go by.


Hubby came back around 5:00. He and Thing 1 had been riding rides and shopping. So we decided to swap. I’d go ride a few rides with Thing 1, and he’d stay with Thing 2. We went on Thunder mountain, and Thing 1 decided she’d be okay on Splash mountain. We had just gotten on the ride when I got a text from Huby saying Thing 2 had woken up and was throwing up.
By the time we got off the ride, she’d thrown up twice. It was close to 6:00. Thing 1 and I raced back to them, and we picked up Thing 2 and hustled back to the bus, and back to the hotel. She threw up on the trip back into a plastic bag that her toy of the day, a stuffed rottweiller, had come in.
Hubby and Thing 1 left me and Thing 2 watching TV at the hotel room, and went to downtown Disney to get Thing 1’s prize for the day, a build-a-dino at the T-rex store. Thing 2 seemed to be better and went to bed around 9:00, but woke up just enough to throw up twice more before about 11:00. Hubby and Thing 1 got in around 10:30, but had a marvelous time, and she was thrilled with her dino.
Saturday was our last full day, and we planned on going to Animal Kingdom. Thing 2 woke up and seemed just fine, so we went with the intention of renting a double stroller for her to ride in, and for Thing 1 to ride in if she wanted. That worked well. Thing 2 rode most of the day, Thing 1 rode with her some… and they had a nice time. Thing 2 was a little tired, as you’d expect from someone recovering from the stomach flu, but all in all it was a nice day. We left the park early, around 5:30, without having seen all the shows we might have liked to see. But considering what we were working with, I think we did good.

We had dinner at planet Hollywood in Downtown Disney. Thing 2 fell asleep in the way over and I struggled to wake her up once her food came. She didn’t eat much, but was cheerful and feeling better. The big change came in Hubby. He just seemed psyched to be there, and to have a good meal. He had a great evening.
We had the longest wait for a bus of our trip that evening, and ended up going to the boat to get back to the lodge. Every other time before or since the busses came either immediately or within a few minutes.
Sunday we had a nice big breakfast at the hotel restaurant, which was pretty yummy for me. I had these wonderful sweet potato pancakes with cinnamon pecan butter on top… really nice.
The girls were very excited to go fishing, which they did while I did a little last minute shopping. Hubby stayed with them to bait the hooks and take pictures should anyone actually catch anything, which neither of them did. I bought a Christmas ornament, and a new watch… minor stuff.


The flight back seemed incredibly long. Thing 2 and I sat together, and Hubby and Thing 1 sat together. I had my work cut out for me entertaining Thing 2, but Hubby just let Thing 1 play a game on his i-phone.

The whole trip was a lovely, if somewhat short.. I think a lot of what made it work so well was staying on the Disney property, as compared with last time we went when we stayed at another hotel that was by downtown Disney, but wasn’t affiliated with Disney. One thing I probably would have done different, though, was after we woke up on Thursday since we were staying at a Disney hotel that night, instead of swimming in the conference pool, I would have packed up and headed off to the Disney pool and gone swimming there all day. In retrospect it would have worked out better – a more interesting pool for the kids, and somewhere to rest when Thing 2 got sick. But at the time, we did what we could with the information we had.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Florida here we come

The primary program went really well yesterday. How could it go wrong when the kids were so heavily involved? I had several people comment to me after… and others tell me reports 2nd hand of praise for it. My name kept getting mentioned as having written it, which is nice… but a little embarrassing.

Hubby is in Orlando. We leave to join him on Wednesday. Which means I have to get packed. I am completely not ready. I didn’t get my house cleaned… and things keep piling up on top of everything else. I’m fighting a cold, which would be miserable to take with me to Florida. The girls are getting pretty excited.

My Dad is going for an angiogram or angioplasty tomorrow. We don’t really know which. Apparently this is pretty common, but it seems a little scary to us.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Morning battles

The push to get out the door in the morning is killing me.

I pause for one moment, to gather clothes, to start breakfast, whatever, and the girls slip away and turn on the TV. And once they do that, the battle lines are drawn. I can’t get them out from in front of it. I call cheerily. Nothing. I call louder, still cheery. Nothing. I start to bark. I bark more. I become a rabid seething pit bull. Finally they trudge in and sit down to breakfast. But they’re surly. They’re angry at me for interrupting their lives.

We eat. If I’m not sitting right on top of them, they slink back to the TV, usually. And we go through the same routine, minus two or three of the cheery calls and go straight to a sort of bark.
This morning, Thing 1 became upset during her breakfast when a package of plastic and cardboard encased magnets I had left on the table dropped into her cereal. She determined her cereal contaminated and was unable to finish. Since we’d already had an argument that she takes too much milk (I can tell by the two inches of it left in her cereal bowl each morning) I got my back up and put my foot down and refused to start over with more milk and cereal. She asked for some applesauce, which is what Thing 2 had for breakfast. About this time, I intercepted Thing 2 after her breakfast and got her dressed while Thing 1 was eating applesauce.
I took Thing 2 into the bathroom to brush her teeth and comb her hair, and heard a strange noise… I poked my head out and sure enough, Thing 1 is not getting dressed. She’s in the toy room playing with a helium balloon that was left over from Halloween. Being careful to not be too frantic – because me being frantic turns her into cold tar… I put my hands on her back and tummy and said softly “Can you please go get yourself dressed?”
I went back to Thing 2’s hair and teeth. I came out a few minutes later to find Thing 1 now playing with the balloon in the kitchen, standing next to her clothes. I grab her clothes, grab her, and she immediately resists and starts howling that she WAS going to do it, she was JUST ABOUT TO START when I INTERRUPTED HER. I hurry to get her dressed and she starts whining that she’s cold. She INSISTS she needs a sweatshirt. She goes to the coat area, and can’t find one. I say “Can you put on a sweater?” I’m standing next to the baskets full of sweaters. No. She goes upstairs to get a sweatshirt.

Thing 2 puts on her shoes, we get her some gloves, and she’s ready to go. I grab some gloves for Thing 1, get her coat, backpack, and lunchbox… We’re waiting at the bottom of the stairs, when Thing 1 comes to the top. She has the green, yellow, and orange sweater my mother made her wrapped around her waist. She starts down the stairs one… at… a… time. When I can reach her I lift her off the stairs. She is wearing blue pants, a short sleeved white shirt with a blue and brown striped long sleeved shirt on top. I say let’s take off the striped shirt, and just wear the sweater. She ignores me and pulls on the sweater. With the mismatched collars showing she looks like a homeless person who is wearing all their clothes at once to keep warm. I say we have GOT to take off that shirt… and we do… I hurry and comb her hair, ask her to brush her teeth…

Then she comes to the door with us. I see she isn’t wearing any shoes. Thing 2 and I are in our coats… “Shoes, honey! Run get some shoes!” She starts wandering, I goad her into a bit of a run, during which she is yelling at me, chastising me for encouraging her to run. “OKAY! I UNDERSTAND! PLEASE JUST GET SOME SHOES!!”
“I CAN’T RUN WHEN I’M WEARING ONE SHOE!!!”
…. “OKAY! I GET IT! STOP YELLING, JUST GET YOUR SHOES!”
She informs me “YOU’RE MAKING ME ANGRY!!!”

Finally she comes, we put on her coat. And gloves. She starts whining that the gloves are too small. I sort of pull her out the door and lock it. “Please can’t you wear them just this ONE day? We are so late!” She whimpers most of the way to school that her gloves are “squishy.” Okay, tomorrow you can wear your good ones (that I was hoping to not be sending to school with her on the expectation that it’s just a matter of time before she loses one or both…)
Time to buy her a new pair of “good” gloves.

There are days when I just want to come home and cry.
Instead, I need to come home and clean. I have a new babysitter coming tonight, and the house is a mess. I want to be one of those clean, Spartan people that don’t have crap piled in every corner. I am so not that way, and I seem to be more that way than anyone else under my roof. I feel like I’m rowing against the current… I can work and work but I look up and nothing has really changed. One room looks good for about 6 hours. Then, like snow… I turn my back only to turn around again to find it’s cluttered up.

Sigh. Not my best day at being a parent/housekeeper, I suppose.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Rain and dogs

This morning was very rainy. Now normally it is simply a huge problem for me to get the girls out the door on time. Rain, of course, just adds to the trouble with the inclusion of more appropriate footwear, coats, and umbrellas. Normally we often run, and sometimes I give up and we drive the four or so blocks. It takes us 7 to 10 minutes to walk them… With the added problems of puddles and holding umbrellas, I should have driven today. But I didn’t. I gave them each their umbrella… and took the big golf umbrella myself and out the door we went.
Thing 1 kept bopping herself with her umbrella when she’d do anything faster than a slow walk, and her whimpering as she tagged along half a block behind be became increasingly annoying. Thing 2 couldn’t walk and hold her umbrella at all, for some reason. So I folded hers up, carried it under my arm, and told her to stay close to me. Pretty soon I had both girls walking under my umbrella, staying close so as to not get wet but interfering profoundly with my ability to walk without tripping over one or the other of them, with their umbrellas folded up dripping onto me. Of course there were plenty of overflowing gutters that I had to carry them across… and I can’t just lift them over the gutter and then leave them out in the street… I have to find a nice tree for one to stand under, shuttle the other one to safety on the other side of the street, find a tree to stand her by, then go back and get the other… by the time we get to school (late) I’m all wet too, and I’m realizing that my coat is less water resistant than I thought. I was about a block away coming home, carrying two wet umbrellas with my big one open, when this very enthusiastic half grown golden retriever runs up to me. Luckily it has a collar and a tag with a phone number, but unluckily I don’t carry my cell phone to school. The dog is obviously too stupid and rambunctious to stay out of the street. I hook my finger under its collar – it’s dancing around nearly taking my arm off - and we go three houses up to the house of a woman I know, and we use her phone to try and call the number on the dog’s tag. No one is home. I leave my name and phone number and tell their machine I’ve got their dog. But that means I still have to walk the danged thing three blocks home. We take it at sort of a slow run, me leaning over to keep a hold of the dog. By the time I am within sight of my house I am concerned that I’m going to die. But I made it. I turn Happy Dog loose in the back yard, but it very badly wants to come in the house. After watching it whimper and pace outside for a while, getting wetter and wetter, I dug out an old leash from one of my past dog ownership episodes and tied it to the pantry doorknob in the kitchen.

Luckily I got a hold of the owner and she came shortly after. Turns out I probably should have just walked up and down the street for a while with the dog, as we weren’t far from its home. Standing there for a while wouldn’t have been a bad option either. It just came at me from out of no where, and I had no idea which way to go. Next time I know. I also think I’m not ready for a dog. That thing was just a bundle of energy. It must have clothes-lined itself a dozen times on the leash in my kitchen.

Monday, November 3, 2008

D&^#$ TV

Got the new tea kettle and while it isn’t as sweet as the old one, it works fine.

I also picked up a new phone, or set of phones, I guess. This one is a vast improvement on our old phone. It is one phone with an answering machine, with two extra satellite handsets. The old one was starting to not work very well, and had always been crackly, and had a few features I didn’t like, and this one has corrected them.

I spent quite a bit of time this morning and afternoon working on leaves. I decided to open the new leaf blower, which was brand new as a result of the old leaf blower breaking before the warranty expired and they sent me a new one. Well, I filled one bag with leaves, and the new one started sparking and smoking a little. Granted, the leaves were probably wetter than they should be. I decided I should switch to blowing instead of sucking. But I couldn’t get the sucking attachment off to save my soul. I think I’m going to see if they will replace this one. I’m ready to give up on the whole thing, I really like the vacuum aspect but if it doesn’t work, or breaks if I get a little water in it, it’s really not going to work for me.

So I set to raking. Things 1 and 2 have been watching a lot of TV lately, and today was no exception. I am outside raking, and talking on the phone a little, and they are inside watching TV. My idea was to get to IKEA this evening, to exchange something I got in the wrong color, and I thought we’d just have dinner out there. But Thing 2 starts whining that she can’t read her homework, then whines even more when I tell her to stop whining while I work with Thing 1 for a while, then whines even more when I put her in time out for whining… Ye gods!!! The phrase “I’ll give you something to cry about!” keeps dancing behind my eyes. I told them I am NOT taking any whiny girls to IKEA, it took us about three times longer to do homework than I expected, and now they‘ve wandered back to the TV and I should be making dinner.

Sometimes I get a little resentful. As the mom, you take on just about every responsibility in the house. As the wife of a guy who travels, I take on most of the stuff he'd do. I can’t help but feel bad for women whose husbands travel for extended periods to places where they’re in danger, at least my husband isn’t in the line of fire, he’s just in offices, airports, and hotel rooms… but it doesn’t stop me from getting frustrated at taking on the typically husbandly chores in addition to all of the wifely ones.  I flat out don't get how single parents do it.

And keeping the girls entertained while I get these things done is the job of the TV. Which also chaps my hide. I hate that damn thing. Yet I find it completely helpful when I need them out of my hair. Sometimes I spend longer getting them involved in something else so I can accomplish something than I spend accomplishing the thing. Sigh. But right now I hate it.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween wrap up

We had a busy month, and a good Halloween. The girls chose their costumes – Thing 1 was a spider and Thing 2 was a witch. Thing 1 drew extensive mock-ups and blue prints of her costume, making sure she had it just right in the design. I ordered a black hooded sweatshirt and pants on line, and bought corresponding fabric and the fabric store to provide the extra legs, and the cowl across her face where her red mandibles were to be.




Thing 2 was a little easier. I simply let out her witch costume from last year, and added a little long skirt at the bottom. She already had a fabulous cape I had made her before, and a hat and broom we’d picked up.




Hubby took them trick-or-treating with some of the neighbor kids, I stayed home to mind the door. My folks came down, since Halloween is typically an event they look forward to missing. My dad hates to answer the door, and they don’t get many trick-or-treaters anyway, it just worked better for them to leave town.

I’ve been writing the primary sacrament meeting program. I had this idea that if they were telling stories they were comfortable with, even little kids could have bigger parts. We had our practice today, and I’m not sure how well my idea is going to work.

An unfortunate thing happened this morning.
Hubby has been making a big wonderful breakfast on the weekends. He has recently added making some coffee for himself to his line-up. Coffee kind of comes and goes, sometimes he makes it for a while, but for several months he hasn’t. It made an appearance yesterday, and this morning. He makes coffee by packing the grounds into the bottom part of this little two part French press coffee urn thing, and then placing it on a kitchen burner turned on high, which percolates the water through the grounds and makes the kind of coffee he likes.

So I also need to add that a couple of months ago our teapot finally bit the dust. Instead of replacing it with another teapot, I splurged a little and bought an electric tea kettle. I’d heard about them, knew people who loved them, and liked the idea myself of the quick hot water. I found a reasonable one at Costco for about $30… but didn’t buy it. I decided to look around. I found a wonderful one at Smith’s, it was really cool, a Krups, and cost $80. It had quite a higher watts rating, which I figured meant it was even faster, and it had a sleek stainless steel design, and I justified it to myself. I decided I use this fairly frequently and will take care of it and use it forever, so I bought the Krups. I have absolutely loved it. It’s amazingly fast, it’s cool in every way.

Well, this morning, I was sitting at the computer taking care of something, and he was rushing around making breakfast. I have a tendency to get busy and occupied with other things on these weekend breakfasts, instead of helping in the home stretch of getting breakfast on as I should. He started up the tea kettle for me, for some tea. Only he didn’t start the tea kettle, he did what he does to start coffee, which is putting the French press directly on the red hot burner of the stove to get the coffee boiling through. So, being distracted, rushed, and probably a little annoyed at me for not helping, and thinking about other things, he took the fabulous Krups kettle and put the pot part on one of the stove burners and cranked up the heat to HI - instead of putting it on its little electric contact base. What clued him off was either the smell or the smoke, I don’t know. But now the bottom of the kettle is melted and warped, and the thing won’t heat up unless you apply a fair amount of pressure on the top of it to hold it down on the electric unit. I am more than a little bummed. But what can I say. I should have been helping him with breakfast, I should have been the one starting the kettle, not him.

Yes, I am rather bummed. Tomorrow I’ll go to Costco to see if they still have the cheaper one there.

When our house was broken into and my ring was stolen, I started thinking why bother spending extra money on NICE stuff. It just gets stolen or broken and then you have to pay all that money AGAIN to replace it. I’ll just buy the cheap crappy stuff that costs half as much or less, it’s not as expensive to replace when the first one gets broken. Well, we’re back there again. If I ever do get another diamond, I think I’ll just go for the big flashy Costco rock that has all sorts of crevices and cracks filled in with paste, but costs half as much as a nice diamond. Sure as I do, I’ll have it the rest of my life, it will never get stolen or lost. That’s the other ironic thing. Crappy stuff generally lasts longer.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Limited writing ability

I am reviewing Thing 1's homework. There were several sentences with the words out of order, she had to figure out the correct order and write them out.

It reads;
“The cat sat down.
He had a nap.
A rat ran in.”

Then there were a couple of blank lines with the instruction to tell what happens next.

Thing 1 wrote:
“Dad Bams it.
I am sad of the rat.”
Her teacher fixed the “of” to a “for” and wrote a smiley and a YES! under her addition.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Quality wall

At Thing 1’s school if you do your work really well, it gets put up on a special board labeled “Quality Work,” which Thing 1 calls “Ko – All – Itty” Like she starts it Koala and then adds an itty at the end.


Last night as I tucked Thing 2 in, she told me she needed to get some “shut-eye.” That's not something I say.. she's obviously getting a lot of vocabulary from the TV.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Monet to Picasso

So I don’t know what it was in my previous entry… but the internet was up and running the next day. Still haven’t figured out how to connect to the new scanner, but I do have the internet.

The “home office” in the breakfast nook is my new favorite place to be. And the dining room is nearly completely back to normal. I cleaned up the TV room last night so we could have pizza and a movie, and for that hour at least, it was all done and clean. All that’s left is the office, the big project in the first place. I have to finish painting, clean off Jeff’s big ol’ desk, and get it out of there… then assemble the new one. My hope is to get that done this next week, though Jeff will be in town and possibly needing to take some calls in there. The shelves are looking great, and I put the lights on the top of them and rigged them up to come on with a new switch I mounted on the wall near the door on the stairs side… which is where we usually come in anyway. Considering that the light switch on the opposite side of the room doesn’t work for some reason, it’s nice to have at least one switch that does work. I’m tickled about it.

School is going very well, both girls love it. Thing 2 is so excited to get to kindergarten she hustles around in the morning. Thing 1 is less of a hustler, but I think she’s enjoying first grade. Mrs. McDonald, the kindergarten teacher, commented to me one day after I’d volunteered that even though she has a very small class this year, she has a really young one. A lot of birthdays in July and August. She noted that while Thing 1 was slower than some of the rest of the class at completing her work each day because she was so meticulous and detailed in doing things exactly the way she wanted, Thing 2 seems to be slow because she’s distracted… just looking around and chatting and stuff. The couple times I’ve watched her, the rest of the kids on her table can be half or completely done with something, and Thing 2’s paper is completely unmarked.

I had an eye appointment this week. My eyes have gotten worse – time for bifocals. I opted to just take my glasses off to read, but I also wanted contacts. They way they deal with this is to give me one contact for distance vision on one eye, and no contact – just my naked eye – to see close up on the other eye. The eye with the Salzman’s nodule on it goes without a contact now. I was intending to not wear my contacts too much, but my mother was suggesting I’d probably wear them a lot, just to avoid the hassle of glasses. She has the one-eye-far-focus one-eye-near-focus thing with her contacts, though she said it took them a while to figure out that her close focus and far focus dominant eyes are different from most other people, so they had to switch her prescription to reflect that. I’m hoping my eyes are more toward the norm, so I can go without a contact on that nodule eye.


On Tuesday my folks drove down from Logan to go with us to the Monet to Picasso exhibit at the Utah Fine Arts museum. When someone commented that if this exhibit were in Los Angeles she would have gone to great effort to see it, it would be a shame if we didn’t go now that it’s so close and easy to get to.. Here it was up the street from us and time was slipping away and we hadn’t been. I was surprised at the fact that there was a line on Monday around lunchtime when I went to buy tickets. I kind of psyched Thing 1 up for it, talking about art and artists, but I thought Thing 2 would be bored. Luckily someone suggested I bring a stroller, and I thought to bring a paper and pens for Thing 1 to draw, though later I found that others had been told their kids could write NOTES but not draw…. Luckily the docents around us never said anything to us.

We started off pretty good, listening to our little remote recorders, talking about the paintings… moving along. Then at one point we were in a room with a dozen other people milling around and I looked up to see Thing 1 standing quite close to a painting, reaching out to point at something on the canvas with a pen. Her pen was probably a foot away from the canvas, but I wasn’t close enough to move her hand and I panicked and said her name “(Thing 1)!” to get her attention and to get her to stop pointing a pen at the canvas. She was crushed. She went catatonic. She slumped over, dropped her head, and frowned and sulked.

I was stricken. I had BROUGHT Thing 1 to this exhibit. I wanted her to see these paintings, to be inspired by them. I had not brought her to SUILK in the middle of the room. I tried talking to her. That pissed her off. I tried ignoring her. She ignored me right back. Ironically, the painting she was standing in front of was a Moriset, I think, of a woman sitting in a field. The audio recorder that went with the painting quoted the artist as saying “I wish God made me a child” which I remember because I thought it was slightly confusing – she wishes God got her pregnant? No, she wished God would give her the perspective of a child. Here I was with this fabulous child who has an amazing perspective, and she is standing catatonic in the middle of the room. I pleaded, I begged, I reasoned, I implored. She ignored. I ached, I pained, I fumed. Mom, Dad, Thing 2 and I moved to the next room. Mom went back and tried to get Thing 1 to move on. She refused, and Mom gave up and went back to Thing 2. I stood in the next room, looking at some Monets, and nearly cried. Finally, after Thing 1 was in the first room full of strangers for a while, I went in and bodily picked her up and carried her to the next room where I held her up so I could whisper in her ear and I started talking fast about the color in the Monet we were standing in front of, and how he decided he wasn’t going to use black anymore, just blues and greens for the darker tones, and how the whole painting looked over exposed and bright but how beautiful it was, with the white limbs of the trees and the house and the sea… and how in this one you could see there were people way off there under the cliffs at the shore, but how far away they were, they were just dots but you knew they were people. And asking her – “Do you see any black in this picture?” and trying to engage her. Finally she thawed. Gladly, because I was getting a little tired of holding her. After that, she really warmed up and we talked and looked at each painting… she pulled out her paper, as I expected, and claimed space on a bench and started drawing. Though not with the crayons, with a pen. She was first inspired by a beautiful huge Pissaro with trees all over, a little goat in the middle, and a guy sleeping off to one side. This inspired her to draw an elaborate treehouse with a trampoline below one door, pulleys and ramps and who knows what all. Mom moved on with Thing 2, and Dad moved on wandering around. It turned out Mom took Thing 2 through the afternoon and Dad and I took turns either sitting by Thing 1 to keep her company, or wandering through the nearby rooms to see everything that you might miss if you were just tethered to one spot with Thing 1.
Thing 2 did fabulous. She enjoyed pushing the buttons to start the recordings on her remote for each painting or sculpture, and she looked and walked and listened and rode in the stroller. Thing 1 drew several paintings, and was completely absorbed until we got to the Picasso room, where she was sitting and drawing until she heard me say the two magic words when I was telling Dad that Mom had taken Thing 2 to the “Gift Shop.” She abruptly announced she was through with the exhibit and ready to go to the gift shop.

All in all it was every bit as successful for Thing 1 as I had hoped, despite our initial kerfuffle, and much more successful for Thing 2 than I had hoped.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Thing 2 turns 7

We had a great family party here for her birthday, and she had a lot of fun. We had breakfast, since it is her favorite meal of the day, and the family all came. It's surprising to be able to celebrate her birthday so close to her actual birthday, but we did it the following weekend.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

School's on

There is no way I haven’t written in over a month. Things have been so busy, but I thought that surely I stopped and wrote down some things.

The girls are in school. The house is a DISASTER as I am (and should now be) working on putting Jeff’s office back together after I’ve pulled it all apart, painted (almost all of it) and put up new shelves (two to go) and redecorated (still looking for a good table). Mostly the overflow has ended up in the dining room, but I had to build a little home office for myself off the kitchen in the nook, and the shelves from his office have ended up in the TV room, which I also spent a day on.

The clincher in all of this is we are hosting Thing 1’s birthday party on Saturday. I can put most of everything out on the patio, but it would be nice if there was some order to things by then. I have three days to work a miracle. Judging by the past two days, it’s going to take me a couple of months to get everything done.

Thing 1 is in first grade and enjoying it. I have been sweating which teacher she’d get, and who’d be in her class, but they wouldn’t announce it until the day before school started, a Monday before the first Tuesday of school. Then on Friday they released the information. We had all taken a special family day to Lagoon, so we couldn’t go check, but at a baby shower the next day, someone told me that Thing 1 was in Miss Hames class. Everyone else we knew was in one of the other two classes. I was distraught, I hadn’t heard much about Miss Hames…

Then on Monday, my folks came down to help me organize the house and my life (that’s how we got through as much in the TV room as it is) and so I couldn’t go check out the school. But when I went to pick up Thing 2 for dinner from the neighbor’s, she told me that Thing 1, and a passle of other kids including her son, (Thing 1's best friend) were all together in Miss ***'s first grade. My friend had told me the day before that her neighbor had had her and just loved her. Suddenly it seemed like things were looking up. I practically danced back to our house, where I bubbled the news to Thing 1 that not only was her teacher supposed to be fabulous, she was sitting next to Wytie!!!

I worked Thing 1 up into a frenzy. By bedtime she was so excited to go to school she couldn’t stand it. “Can I not wear pajamas?” she asked me. “I just want to sleep in my clothes. Please?” And so far so good, it looks like she’s enjoying it. She is just growing up so fast. I remember thinking how far off it sounded to have a five and seven year old… and as of tomorrow it’s official.

Thing 2 has been over the top excited to go to Kindergarten. She had to wait an extra week after 1st grade started while they did testing, and she seemed to think it was my fault that she couldn’t go to school. Then on the first day she bounced out of class SO excited that she’d made a new friend. The next day her heart was broken as she said her new friend didn’t want to be friends anymore. She was inconsolable. “I’m sure it was just a misunderstanding,” I say. “NOOO!” she sobs. “What is her name?” “I don’t know!” she wails.
The third day, she had found a new friend, and oh, yes, her friend of the first day was her friend again. They are having a playdate after school today and both are so excited.


----- later

I am so mad I could spit. I have spent two hours WHICH I DON’T HAVE trying to get a stupid stupid stupid stupid piece of scanner software to work. It tells me it hast to have a service pack 2 or higher installed. I install it, which takes a while and requires me to carry my laptop to the office to plug into the modem because the wireless connection is so slow. Then I get a message that Service Pack 2 cannot run until I am connected to an AC power source. So I walk it back and plug in the laptop again. However, apparently I’ve done something to the modem because now I get no internet at all. I try to install the scanner again and it still insists I must have service pack 2 (WHICH I ALREADY INSTALLED) (AND REBOOTED FIVE TIMES). So I’m stuck. In the mean time, it occurs to me that until I can convince Jeff’s fancy scanner that I already freaking installed Service Pack 2 and since I can’t scan from the FREAKING FANCY new laser printer, my only hope to scan in receipts and paychecks and all those things that I must scan in for accounting purposes is our stupid old printer, which is currently sitting on the front steps to be picked up in the charity pick up tomorrow. I just went and rescued it. I am so terribly angry I’m just moments away from crying. So much for going to bed early. So much for spending the evening getting more work done organizing the office. So much for having the least bit of internet connectivity until Jeff gets back. STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID computer.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Home office issues

What a frustrating day.

So. The printer that we have been waiting for finally came. Well, it came several days ago on a Tuesday, but we weren’t here, so they didn’t leave it. Just left a note, that they’d be back on Wednesday. I stayed home all afternoon Wednesday, only to walk outside at one point to find a note on my door that they’d TRIED to deliver it, but we didn’t hear them knocking. They’d be back on Thursday between 10:30 am and 5:00 pm. The doorbell has been broken for a long time, much too long, obviously. So I called an electrician. Fine. On Thursday morning about 9:00 I was upstairs puttering around getting the girls ready for swimming lessons, and I thought I heard Thing 2 bumping around, must have been in the closet. I came downstairs about 9:30 to find a note on my door, they’d tried to deliver the printer again.

The electrician came, and fixed the doorbell.

This morning I sat around in the front of the house all morning, and sure enough, up pulls the UPS guy. I didn’t even need my new doorbell. But the thing is so big, looking at that set of about 15 steps coming up to my house, he asks if I have an alleyway. Sure. So he pulls around back and brings it up the alley, through the garage, and onto the back porch. The thing is a monster. It’s slightly smaller than the hummer we rented in Seattle… har har. Not really, of course, but it’s really big. So I start unpacking it on the back patio. I get my hand truck, and bring it inside. Then I start wondering where the heck am I going to put this thing?!?!

So I go into the TV room and get my TV/VCR cabinet which is serving as a side table/VCR storage cabinet, and unload all the crap off of it and out of it. Then I come back into the office, and clean out a bookshelf that tied up one of the corners… and I’m looking at the office thinking I really want to paint in here. What the hell, today’s the day. So I empty out a bunch of stuff…. By now the dining room is looking like a nicely furnished storage shed – it’s a mess on top of my dining table and all around the floor.
Painting is a bit of a problem, because the girls catch me and want to help. Of course after enjoying their company for about 5 minutes and snap some photos, but their help creates quite a lot more work for me, and lots of paint I’ve got to clean up on the white trim, and so as politely as I can muster I send them off to play. I don’t have the time or energy to paint the whole office, so I sort of focus on one corner.

Anyway. My goal in all this was to get the printer up and running so Jeff could just walk in and use it tomorrow, because he has a bunch of stuff to do in order to be ready for a huge conference thing he’s got going on next week, and he leaves for that on Sunday.


I move the microwave cart into the half – okay, maybe quarter of the office that is newly painted, and using the packaging material that the printer has been sitting on, I drag it across the floor to the microwave cart. The thing is – I read on the packaging – 83 pounds and they strongly suggest 2 people lift it. Well, at risk of hurting myself or the printer, I lift it myself onto the microwave cart. It fits just fine.

It takes a while to remove all the internal packaging, and install the printer cartridges. I stop for lunch at about 2:30. Back to work.

The next step is to set up the wireless network access on the printer. Here I come to a real problem. I don’t know what any of those things I’m supposed to type into the menu are. It is asking me all sorts of questions that I have no idea whatsoever… and googling WEP and stuff like that isn’t helping… So I’ve been struggling with this, beating my head against this dang thing for an hour and a half.

In the mean time, the girls have swung from playing together nicely to nearly killing each other. They end up in front of the TV, that’s where they don’t argue. Every now and again one of them strolls in looking for something to do, begging to go to the neighbors, or something, and I put them off, trying to get this damn printer to talk to the computer.

Well, it’s after 4:00. I’m sorry for poor Jeff, he’s going to have to configure this thing himself, and I’m sorry for the poor girls, spending the whole day waiting around while I deal with this stupid printer, instead of taking them to Lagoon like I’d hoped and mentioned to them. Now I really need to take some time to clean up the huge messes in the dining room, office, and TV rooms.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sticker shock

There is this heinous terrible thing that happens to families called a sticker letter. The idea is you get a letter with two kids’ names on it, the top one you’ve never heard of, and the bottom one you know. What you’re supposed to do is send a pack of stickers to the top kid, then send a copy of the letter with the bottom kid’s name replacing the top kid’s, and your kid’s name replacing the bottom kid’s, to six friends. “Don’t break the chain!” “Your child will get 36 packs of stickers in a couple of weeks!”
I don’t want 36 packs of stickers. I don’t want to obligate 6 friends into participating in this sticker circus. But the person who asked me is someone I like, and she asked so sweetly… okay.

So I put this off for easily a month – way beyond the obligatory week the letter demands. And I figured a way around it. I will send my required stickers to the kid on the top of the list, then I will buy six packs of stickers, send them to six friends of mine with the name and address of the 2nd kid on the list, along with a stamp, and the instructions to please put the stickers in a new envelope and stamp it and address it to this kid. And I’ll take Thing 2 sticker shopping with me when I go and let her pick out a couple of packs for herself, and everyone’s happy.

Well, Thing 2 went over to the neighbor’s, and I thought I’d save myself a stamp, and just run one sticker filled envelope to the neighbor and ask them to address it in their handwriting. The husband was home. He was completely baffled at this whole prospect, asked why didn’t I just tell this woman no, and while he couldn’t turn me down at the request of just writing the girl’s name and address on the envelope for me, he refused to put his return address on it and acted like I was trying to involve him in something really unsavory. Now that I think about it, I vaguely remember his wife refusing to participate a couple of years ago when I got another one of these horrible letters.

Anyway, I felt awful for asking in the first place, but there I was. Then, if that wasn’t bad enough, when Thing 1 went over to the neighbor’s, she took a handful of Little Pet Shop animals and put them in a Ziploc to take with her. I suspect that some of these were Little Shops that Thing 2 got for her birthday that she told Thing 1 she could play with. I stopped Thing 1 before she left and told her taking these over there was a bad idea, unless she wasn’t going to be upset about leaving some of them. I went so far as to write on the side of the bag the number of Pet Shops in it. When I went to pick the girls up, Thing 1 ran up to me and handed me the bag. Sure enough, there was one missing. It was probably a mistake to do so after the fiasco with the chain letter, but instead of waiting until we got home, I pointed it out her missing Pet Shop there. I told her that the neighbor girl is a fabulous person and if she was going to leave one at anyone’s house, this neighbor was a good choice, but I didn’t want to hear her complain later that she was missing one. She and the neighbor looked for it again, and eventually found it, but I suppose it made me look like a fool to the neighbors. Little Neighbor girl may never come over to play again. I know I’m going to encourage Thing 2 more stridently to invite the neighbor over here. And there is a new rule that the only toys you take to someone’s house are ones you’ll give them.

Thing 1 has also started this tendency of being outrageously easily embarrassed. She knocked her finger on a hoola-hoop at the neighbor’s, and ran out of the back yard crying, “This is embarrassing!” Everyone just sort of blinks confusedly after her. She’s done this before, if she gets hurt she runs off before anyone can see her cry. When I came home and tried to see what happened, she screams at me from behind her door to go away and not to talk to her. She tells me that a lot, usually when I’m trying to get to the bottom of something. But also, as happened tonight, she’ll come into the room whimpering “Ohhh… it hurts!” and if I say “What happened?” or “What is it?” she barks at me that she doesn’t know and to stop talking to her. Which, I can say freely, is not very endearing.

Of course for every ounce of crabbiness and irrationality that Thing 1 can muster, Thing 2 becomes equally overly pleasant and enthusiastic. She is syrupy sweet and everything is the best ever, and it pisses Thing 1 off even more and Thing 1 starts to shout at her to stop being so happy! I’ve got bi-polar disorder in the house, Thing 1 on the sad and angry end of the scale, and Thing 2 on the manically happy end of the scale.

Writings

Thing 1 has been doing some creative writing. Well, mostly it’s creative spelling. She has been writing little notes and using them to communicate with people, other than Thing 2 who can’t read. Notes like “(Thing 1) needs a book” are easy to figure out, but sometimes she has trouble with spelling. Lately she’s been spelling “love” as “lav.” When I told her to erase the tail of the a and put an E on the end, it became “Lave.” She’s been leaving messages around “I lave you”
Hubby showed me one she wrote him. It’s my favorite. It says:

(Thing 1) needs a dreeingK

Gotta love that.

We celebrated Thing 2’s birthday on the 25th. She had a nice party, but started to cry when the adults took too long eating dinner and she got impatient to open her presents. If she would have had her way, we would have opened presents FIRST. Not just before Cake and Ice Cream, but Before Dinner!

Oh crap. I just went to upload a picture from her party, but there is just an empty file. I delete the pictures off the camera when I upload them, so it looks like I just erased all of her birthday party pictures without even seeing them... Dangnabbit!

Thing 1 and 2 have been very good to keep our present for Daddy for Christmas a secret. I thought Thing 1 was going to spill the beans the other day, when we were asking her what she wanted for her birthday she said she wanted a “Wall-e game for the Wii…” after a moment’s hesitation she said “but we don’t have a Wii… so I guess I don’t get that.”

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A day at the Beach

When I type on the computer, I usually sit at the kitchen table at the spot where Thing 1 usually sits to eat. They came in and said they’re hungry for breakfast and Thing 1 gathered her cereal and bowl, then came over and with a very sincere smile on her face said “Thank you for warming up my seat.” I suspected she was just politely asking me to leave, but when I asked her she said no, she was just glad I’d warmed her seat for her, then she launched into a hug fest.

I took the girls to Lagoona beach on Thursday and had a rather magical experience. Just the three of us, in the crowd, floating down the “lazy river” was wonderful. It was a bright sunshiny day, and these darling girls were playing back and forth across the tubes and splashing and having a ball. One of the treasured moments of my life…

Of course I was in the water and don't have any pictres, but we have had a lot of fun on the rest of the rides too.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Doing Swimmingly

The countdown to Thing 2’s birthday has begun. Just ask her. She is so excited she is nearly stopping people on the street to remind them. She’s told anyone her age within speaking distance that they’re “vited.” I need to go down and check my stash to see what she’s getting versus what we’re giving her for Christmas.

We have a hummingbird feeder outside. I just went out and hacked back a tree we have out there that grows completely out of control every year so I could see the hummingbird feeder because I am curious as to where all the juice is going. For the first month it seemed the level never dropped, but recently it seems like it drops an inch a day. Since humming birds don’t make a mess, I don’t mind, but I’d really like to see the little guys as they come to the feeder. So far I haven’t seen one eating at it. Dropping an inch a day you’d think there’d be a hummingbird parade.

The cruise, which is another story (wonderful but too long to include much here) gave the girls the opportunity to do more swimming. The week before we left on the cruise, I had the girls in their 2nd week of a two week swimming lesson session. I left them to their lessons for a moment to go sign them up for another two week session after the cruise, and came back to see Thing 2 sitting all alone, dejected, on the side of the pool. I came up behind her and she immediately crawled in my lap and started to cry. She said that since she refused to get her face wet she was sitting up there. The words “Time Out” came up in later retellings of the story, but she didn’t say that to me immediately. I am not happy that she was given an ultimatum, get your face in the water or get out of the pool, but I have been a little frustrated with her tenderness of late, and told her it’s too bad she doesn’t like getting water in her face, but she needs to learn how to swim and if that’s the next step, she’s going to have to get her face wet when they ask her.

I didn’t know what to do about this, I hate forcing her to do this if she doesn’t want to, and here I had just paid for her next stretch of lessons, and I do need her to learn how to swim. So I dug around in some of the cupboards and found a set of goggles that we’d bought for her earlier in the year when we were trying to figure out how to get both girls to get their faces in the water. Thing 1 hadn’t really been having that much of a problem with it, by the way. She is the oldest in the class – I had her in the same beginning class as Thing 2 since the requirements for Level 2 on the website seemed beyond her.
I called Hubby that night and mentioned it to him, and he surprised me with how concerned he was, he seemed to really feel for this poor little girl who hates to get her face wet, which is very sweet. I wasn’t ready to be that upset about it, and she seemed pretty okay with the goggle idea.

The next day was like comparing apples to dolphins. Once she had her magic goggles on, Thing 2 started out by blowing bubbles as she was asked, going deeper and deeper until her whole head was under water. By the end of the lesson she was plugging her nose, bending her legs and motoring around the pool in a funny squat walk with just the top curls of her head out of the water. The rest of the week’s lessons she was just like that, all about getting her face in.
On the cruise it was more of the same, with her learning quite a bit from Hubby. By the end of the cruise she was letting go of her nose, and she and Thing 1 both were swimming underwater – with their faces submerged. Thing 1 has a kind of underwater breathstroke that she does, and Thing 2 kind of does a wildly splashing front crawl. But both of them were swimming halfway across the pool and back, in water well over their heads, and loving it.

We’re into our next session, Thing 1 is in Level 2, and Thing 2, since at the end of Level 1 she still hadn’t quite mastered some of the required skills, is in Level 1. I think she pretty much mastered everything she was supposed to with her daddy’s help in Alaska, but we kind of are obligated to complete this round of swim lessons. The would probably be okay with another round, both of them in Level 2, but I thought they needed a little freedom the rest of the summer, so I didn’t register them for the next (last) session of the summer. But they’re such little fish now, I imagine we’ll work on swimming more next summer, unless I decide to see if I can get them some lessons this winter.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Run that by me again?

Thing 2 just told me when I was done working on the computer, she wants to go on “buildabear dot kong” I said “dot kong?” She said “Yeah, dot Kong.”

Father's Day

Father’s day.

Thing 1 spoke in Primary and did a fabulous job. She and I, well, I mostly, wrote the talk this morning, with her help. She drew four pictures to go with it. The nice part was Hubby was in town and was able to be there for it, then we had the presentation of the decorated ties, and he came to Sacrament with us, of course wearing his two sparkly dolled-up ties.

Both girls had a good day.
It is 12:25 a.m., and I am sort of staying up out of solidarity for Hubby, who has a 6:00 am flight tomorrow to Baltimore and is still working on stuff for his presentation. I try to support whatever he needs to do… But I do resent being barked at when he gets stressed. I don’t know quite how to handle it, it is just easier to leave him alone, take orders quietly and then get the hell out of his way. I don’t much like it, and I don’t know how I’m going to explain the process to the girls someday, but I am glad I don’t work for him. I don’t know if people successfully told him to just can it, or redirect his stress-temper somewhere else. He can get pretty biting when he is under pressure.

Well, and he did need a good massage, and if there’s ever a day he should deserve one, it’s Father’s Day. And he did spend his whole morning sitting unproductively in church for me and the girls. So now he’s paying for it by staying up all night getting ready for the conference tomorrow.

I got the girls registered for swim lessons starting next week. I’m pretty excited, and I think Thing 1 has realized she needs to know after her bobbing under the surface incident in Vegas… but I don’t think Thing 2 is at all interested. I’m very interested in starting the process toward them both being comfortable in the water, though. I’ve got them in the same class because they’re both beginners. They’ll wrap up the day before we go to Alaska, and I’ll try and get them registered for the next session.

Okay. I’m going to bed.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tooth Fairy Booty

Thing 1 was enchanted with her tooth the rest of the day yesterday. I had her put it in a tiny cup, which she carried around with her. It sat next to her watching TV, and joined us for stories yesterday. In the evening she put it under her pillow four or five times last night, only to pull it out later to admire it and carry it around a little more. Thing 2 was so excited about it too, the two of them crawled up to Thing 1’s bed several times to look at the tiny tooth under the pillow, and Thing 2 gushed how when she was six maybe she would lose a tooth.

The tooth fairy left four quarters under Thing 1’s pillow last night, but apparently she only found three, I think. I did hear some rather animated discussion this morning, Thing 2 was assuring Thing 1 that she should share her tooth bounty. Thing 1 agreed readily enough, so I’m not sure if the three quarter count was before or after Thing 2 took her cut. I was going to argue with including Thing 2 in Thing 1’s tooth bounty, but part of me says it’s not my business to question Thing 1’s generous nature. Maybe I should argue with Thing 2’s tendency to include herself in any distribution out of money. I plan on suggesting to her that she give Thing 1 a cut for her own tooth bounty, but as they remind me fairly frequently, “you’ll forget, mommy.”

Monday, July 14, 2008

Back from Alaska

Thing 1 lost her first tooth today. A lot of her friends have had teeth out, but even though she’s the oldest in her class, this is her first tooth. She’s kind of excited, she keeps going into the bathroom to look in the mirror.

We just got back yesterday from the Alaska cruise. It was wonderful. Very few complaints… I kept a journal and took pictures and videos, I expect it won’t turn out to be as much media in retrospect as I thought. I always end up wishing I had more pictures. I bought a new video camera just before we left, and absolutely loved it. It fit in a pocket inside my purse, and I was able to pop it out whenever I wanted.
Maybe someday I'll translate some pictures and the journal into an entry here. Right now... Nope.

I am feeling tired and a little crabby. I got a cold from Jeff on the cruise, and I think I ran myself down trying to pretend I wasn’t sick, and now I’m feeling wrung out. I have a sinus headache, and really just want to take a nap. Instead I’ve got laundry and other catching up to do. The house was relatively in order when we left, but it doesn’t take us long to mess it up again. The kids have spent the better part of the day in front of the TV. My “one hour a day” rule went out the window today.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Vegas

Our three days in Vegas was a ball. A lot of what made it so much fun was the fabulous hotel room, with its huge sunken living room and massive bathroom. You have to understand that I live in a little 100 year old house, and it would take knocking down a couple walls in my house to get a space as wide open as this room. The kids could jump from bed, to bed, to the half wall behind the couch, to the couch, to the big stuffed coffee table, and still not be at the window at the far end. I know this from experience. Just being in the room was a new treat for them. I have quite a few pictures of them dancing around the bathroom, too.



So not only is the hotel amazing because of the room, but then there's the pool.
Any pool will do for Thing 1 and 2, they don’t care too much as long as they can get wet. This one was nice in that it was new and clean and pretty cool, but not as neat as it could have been as we walked by three nice pools with decks on either end that would have been perfect for two little girls to splash around in 1 ½ feet deep water if it hadn’t have been full of lawn chairs for people to sunbathe on. We had to go to the 3.3 foot deep pool, over Thing 2’s head and just reaching Thing 1’s neck. But they were thrilled to spend the better part of a day there. My plan was to take them there the last day of our trip while Jeff did his conference stuff, but by then we had some sunburn going on from the previous day, so I let them play in the fabulous hotel room until around 4:30. They really enjoyed even that time at the pool, as it was on a Monday, less crowded, and so we got to hang out on one of the shallow decks a little more.



We took them to a Cirque du Soleil show, Mystere, and they quite liked that. Thing 1 REALLY liked it, Thing 2 got tired at the end but enjoyed most of it. There was lots of slapstick humor to keep their interest, and lots of fancy costumes with feathers flipping around. Neat stuff.

We had a lot of fun just walking around the corridors between the Palazzo and the Venetian. The girls met the Duchess of Venice, and saw statues of the Blue Men.






Sunday night in Vegas we gave the kids the choice between the King’s jousting tournament and Dinner at the Excalibur ($65 a plate) or the Kung Fu Panda movie. They chose the panda. It all turned out for the best, probably, despite the fact that they would have really enjoyed the dinner and joust, I think, because Thing 2 fell asleep on the hike down to the movie theater, being piggybacked on my back. She woke up about 20 minutes before the movie ended.

So this is our first official day of summer, sleeping in and hanging out until noon in our pajamas. Kristin and her friend are staying with us tonight, so I’ve got to get the toyroom and TV room picked up, but I’m probably going to rather give up on the rest of the house, seeing as how I haven’t even got started on it and it’s now pushing 2 pm and we’re STILL in our pajamas. I did clean the guest bathroom, though, so that’s something. The dining room table doubles as my office space, unfortunately and I just don’t have anywhere to put some of that stuff without losing it, and it’s stuff that needs to be dealt with.
Sigh.

Friday, June 6, 2008

School's out for summer

We were in the car the other day and someone pulled up next to us with some antenna decorations on. I’ve seen plenty of foamy black balls with Mickey Mouse ears, but this one also had a white Mouse glove under that, a pair of red Mickey Mouse shorts under that, and the yellow Mickey Mouse shoes under that, all in a row on the antenna. I told Thing 1 to look out her window to see it and she said, “It’s a Mickey Mouse-ka-bob!”

She had her last day of Kindergarten yesterday, and I’m not sure she’s ready for 1st Grade.

This is Thing 1 with her Kindergarten teacher, sitting on the lap of the aide. It was a wonderful environment, I really liked both the teacher and the aide.



We made the mistake of telling her she’d be going for the full day next year, and she naturally thought that meant from breakfast until bedtime. While it’s not QUITE that long, it still seems like a long time to me and I’m really going to miss my girl. Thing 2 starts Kindergarten in the fall, and I think she’s going to love it. She already knows the teacher, and the room… and I’m really going to enjoy taking the two of them to the same school instead of traipsing up to the university on the odd days.

They had the end of year carnival at the elementary school yesterday and it was wonderful. We thought they might get rained out, but it turned out gorgeous, long sleeve weather, but still very nice. The girls had a great time, and I really enjoyed another chat with the playground moms.




This has been the nicest little group of people who stand outside Mrs. McDonald’s class after it’s over and chat. We are all planning on getting together this summer, and I would be perfectly happy to continue this but I’m afraid everyone will get busy with 1st grade stuff and we just won’t have the time to stand and chat for an hour after school like we do now. Too bad, this has been one of the highlights of my life. And I’m not sure it will be the same in Thing 2’s class. There was just the nicest group of moms in Thing 1’s classmates.

The final party for Thing 2’s preschool was today, and it was nice too, though certainly quieter than the major event that was the elementary school party. Every event, though, Thing 2 informs me was The Best Day of Her Life…

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Lack of sleep

There are so many times I think of great things to write, but don’t get to the computer and I forget. The times I do seem to get to the computer sometimes are when I’m angry about something. Or sulking… I suppose no one wants to interrupt or get in the way by the time I’m this frustrated about something….

Last night it was my goal to get to bed by 10:30. I am sleep deprived, a lot of it my own fault. But the crazy thing is when I'm not keeping myself up, when I've decided I'm going to put myself to bed, that's when the world conspires against me and turns itself on at 10:00 pm. Last night Hubby called about 9:00, just as I was brushing the girls' teeth. I was running late night, I like getting them down by 8:30, so I was late anyway. I talked to him for half an hour, and one of the primary motivations for him to call was to talk to me about Vegas. He’s asked me before if I thought it would be a good idea, but I’ve spaced off looking into it. Well, he had to respond about the hotel, and needed to know if I was willing to come out and bring the girls.

So, the girls ran amok while I talked on the phone to him for half an hour, then it was close to 10:00 pm. by the time they got in bed. This means it’s 10:00 pm by the time I start my internet search to see if there’s enough stuff for the girls to do in Vegas to justify bringing them. Of course, it’s close to 11:00 by the time I’ve looked everything up, figured out which Cirque du Soleil show would work, etc. etc. etc. and called and left a message for Hubby, who took a red-eye from San Francisco to Michigan or somewhere last night, so he could respond about the hotel.

One of the options would be to leave the girls with my folks and go to Vegas ourselves. So I called my mother as I crawled into bed, right close to 11:00, to see if she could take the girls, if that would even be an option. Of course we talked for close to half an hour, forty mintues or so.

Finally I went to sleep, pushing midnight. Thing 2 woke me up at 4:30, calling from her room… I went in and she said “I want to give you a hug.” No nightmare,… No drink of water… no rolled out of bed. A hug. Couldn’t the hug wait until DAYLIGHT???? I give her a hug, go to the bathroom, and stumble back to bed.

At 6:07 she is standing next to my bed with her new teddy bear she got at a build-a-bear birthday party last night. She wants me to put his shirt on. She took it off last night so he could sleep more comfortably, and it’s ten minutes after six, the sun is hardly up, and she’s waking me up to put his shirt on. I beg her to go back to sleep. Don’t wake up Thing 1 (in the top bunk), just go back to sleep. She very quickly dissolves into tears. FINE! I sit up and grab the bear and put on its shirt to shut her up. OF course I don’t look too far into the future, to realize that

1) My sitting up and putting on the shirt in a huff causes her to completely dissolve into tears.

2) What’s she going to do once she has the bear’s shirt on but bother me?

I beg her to be quiet, she cries, this goes on for a few moments. Finally she toddles off in a huff. Of course she wakes up Thing 1.

Thing 1 comes in and cuddles with me. We try to sleep, but really just listen to Thing 2 cry for a while in the next room about how much I don’t love her anymore. Finally she stops crying and comes in wrapped in a sympathy blanket and I pull her into bed with us and cuddle her until she seems okay. She frets about her dance recital today. I try to calm her down. Then she and Thing 1 wander off. It’s about 6:40 am. I roll over and go back to sleep.

For approximately three mintues. Thing 2 comes in and asks me to get the box for her build-a-bear. I lay there for a minute thinking what can I say… It’s totally futile to try and sleep anymore, it’s just frustrating me, so finally I just get up. She runs out screaming “No! No! I just wanted you to say yes or no!!!!” As though I was coming to get her and flay her or something.

So I am up. It’s 7:30, a big day with the dance dress rehersal, the concert, and my folks coming around 4:00 to our totally messy house. I have to go pick up our first co-op food drop. I’ve had a six hours of sleep (wildly interrupted sleep) on my grand catch-up sleep period.

I feel like so tired and incompetent all the time, like I’m going through a sticky sleep haze trying to function. It’s time to clean up the kitchen, the toy room, finish the laundry, get the co-op, and get Thing 2 to her rehearsal. I want to cry. Maybe I will. Just have a good cry to myself. While I vacuum.

----

The dance recital was great, it was nice to have Grandma and Papa there for it.
Thing 2 did very well.



This is from the dress rehersal...


Monday, May 12, 2008

Thing 2 cracks me up

We went to a singing concert for Thing 1’s school at Kingsbury hall tonight. Of course the only problem was that Hubby is in New York. Thing 1 did wonderfully, from what I could tell. My view was somewhat obstructed by the narrator and a music stand, but when he sat down I could mostly see her. She didn’t sing with the enthusiasm I would have expected on the bug song that she sang, which she has been singing around the house since the first of the year, but she made up for it on another song they sang, which was just charming.

There were two other songs she sang, one about out my window, the other about my heart is home, both of which the whole school sang. I got some video of it, but you can't see her at all. The kindergarteners were standing on the floor in front of the stage, and the only ones you could see was the line of kids in the front of the pack. But the songs were really neat, inspiring to have this whole school of kids singing the song, it really choked me up. All in all it was a really nice concert. The songs were wonderful, the kids did great.

The video is pretty grainy, and I was filming it with Thing 2 squirming on my lap, and was farther back than I would have liked, but you get the idea.



We came back and made mini cinnamon rolls, and I think the girls both ate too much. Thing 2 was complaining of a tummy ache. Thing 1 went into the bathroom and seemed to be taking a while. I went to the door to ask if she was okay and she said she’d had a BM (not her words) and had been burping, and wondered if she was going to throw up. I went in to kind of help her and make sure she turned around in time…

after a couple of minutes Thing 2 knocked on the door, and without opening it (Thing 1 has developed a sense of privacy, which Thing 2 nicely respected) her little hand reached in and put something on the bathroom counter. She hollered through the door that she had left something for Thing 1. When Thing 1 seemed settled and figured she probably wasn’t going to throw up I finally got a chance to see what Thing 2 had left her. It was one of the individual Pedialyte containers. She assured Thing 1 it was really yummy medicine and would make her feel better, though I don't think Thing 2 has ever tasted it herself.

My other favorite Thing 2 story of the day happened last week. We were sitting at breakfast and Thing 2 rather spontaneously announced out of nowhere that if she were drawing a mean face she would do this, and such, and draw the eyes so, and on and on as she was drawing in the air with her imaginary pencil. At the same time she was demonstrating her mean face. Not wanting to miss an opportunity, I brought Thing 1’s attention to Thing 2’s brow and how it went down in a V in the middle. Since Thing 1 is kind of my visual artist, it was a beautiful demonstration.
Not wanting Thing 2 to be left out, since Thing 1 was furrowing her brow to make a mean face too, I showed Thing 2 how it looked on Thing 1’s face. But I suppose as I really think Thing 1 might be the one to really get something out of this demonstration, I went back to pointing out Thing 2’s features to Thing 1. Besides, I think Thing 2 was really more into making the mean face. So I’m pointing this out. “Look, Thing 1, how her eyes get little, and she gets those lines on the bridge of her nose… and – Hey Thing 2, you don’t have a mean mouth! A mean mouth would be drawn down showing teeth, or a big frown, I think. And you’re smiling! You have mean eyes but a great big grin!” Thing 2 responded, and I quote, “That means I have a plan.”

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Newfound allergy

Just had a major scare. I was kneeling on the floor in the girl’s room folding clothes when suddenly my head felt funny – a really strong pulse in my head. I got up to look in the mirror and sure enough my face was really red…. I didn’t know what to do, walked back into the girl’s room and the pulse is throbbing really strongly in my head… I laid down, didn’t help. I was feeling pretty darn awful, and started wondering if I’d be able to drive myself to the emergency room, or if I’d need an ambulance.

I came downstairs and fired up my computer and tried looking up “pulse in head” and, wondering if it might be related to the three brazil nuts I’d just eaten a few mintues before, typed in Allergy. I wasn’t getting much help. About this time I felt compelled to add “nausea” but before I could get much from that I went in the bathroom and threw up.  And again.

My body seems to be good at purging. I feel quite a bit better, though my face still feels terribly swollen, my nose is COMPLETELY stuffed up – Hubby told me it looks swollen too, and it’s almost hard to open my eyes in my swollen face. I think I want to go to bed. I’m just awfully glad Hubby is here. The drive to the emergency room with the girls in tow would have been really awkward.
 So apparently I'm allergic to Brazil nuts.
Hubby had the audacity to suggest I was overreacting.
He wasn't the one who thought his pulse was going to blow his brains out.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Good and bad at Church and school

It is such a shame that I don’t write things down when I’m thinking of them. The girls are always popping off with the funniest, cutest things, and I don’t remember later. Dang it.
They have been so sweet lately, lovely, loving little girls. Very few issues.

So.
There is a little girl at Thing 2’s preschool whom I do not like. It started when Thing 2 started school last year in the younger of the two preschool classes taught by a woman named Sandra. On the first day, as I watched my sweet 3 year old in her first moments of preschool through the two way mirror in the observation room, I saw this little girl (named Anna) reach forward and pinch Thing 2’s bum. Hard enough to make Thing 2 jump. Unprovoked. The naughty little tart! Thing 2 took it well, and just turned back around. But Anna earned a place on my black list.
She continued through the year playing favorites – “you’re my friend, you’re NOT my friend!” which would send all the other little girls into tailspins of despair that Anna didn’t like them. I thought this sort of crap didn't start until they were in the 2nd or 3rd grade! I looked forward to not having to worry about that the next year of preschool when I moved Thing 2 across the hall to the other preschool class, Mary’s class. I was quite unhappy to see Anna’s mother at Mary’s beginning-of-the-year-meeting the following fall.
Anna continued to be a problem, for me anyway. Thing 2 was alternately best friends, and desperately unhappy to be on the outs with Anna. I saw her doing things on the playground that I would have had serious words with my girls over – throwing a toy down the slide, then when someone walked by and picked it up extending it to her – “Here, you dropped this,” she'd come screaming down the slide at them “you give that back! That’s MINE!” One afternoon Anna was following another little girl named Lexi, who I think is a hoot, around the playground. They each had a stack of plastic bowls. Lexi gave me one as I was standing there, saying with a cute little smile that I could have my cereal in it. Anna, coming along behind, snatched it out of my hands and chastised me profoundly for playing with their toys. Lexi watched this sadly, then shrugged at me and followed Anna off.

At the first Parent teacher conference Mary asked if I minded if she started separating Thing 2 and Anna, as when they were together Thing 2 got really catty and sassy, and neither one of them behaved very well. OF COURSE you can separate them!!! Please move Anna to the other class! No? Well, keep my sweet little muffin away from that emotional rollercoaster!

Thing 2 has asked for playdates with Anna, and I have always put her off. I try to be discouraging in a vague way, but apparently at one point or another she heard me express my dislike of Anna. The next time I co-oped, sitting at their snack table Anna informed me that Thing 2 said I didn’t like her. It's kind of tough to face down anyone confronts you with that sort of remark, and I kind of stammered that I don’t like some of the things she does.

The next time I co-oped, the kids were drawing what they liked about school. Of course they’re at an age and drawing level that usually without some explanation it is impossible to tell what they’ve drawn. The great thing about Thing 2’s drawings is when she explains it, suddenly it becomes blaringly obvious. The box with eight legs becomes the wheeled whiteboard they put the daily calendar on and stuff like that. Anna was in Thing 2’s group, and had drawn a purple box on her paper. I asked her what she’d drawn. She pushed it forward so I could see it better but didn’t say anything. I said “can you tell me what it is?” she barked back “HELLLLOOOO!!!” If Thing 2 would have said that…. Sheesh. But she’s not my kid, and I have never been spoken to with such disrespect before, by anyone of any age. It caught me off guard, and I stammered out something about she needs to tell me, and she stalks off. Why I oughtta....

Luckily at some point, Thing 2 was hurt and insulted enough and maybe she overheard me relating Anna's impudence enough for her to understand that Anna was bad news, and we were better off with as little contact with her as we could get.

Thing 2 still talks about "Mean Anna," reliving slights and bad behavior.

In other arenas, Church is usually something we all endure. The girls like the big congregational meeting the best, because we sit on the back row where I feel we're not under as much scrutiny, and I let them do whatever they want as long as it's quiet. I pack more in my church bag than my husband does for a week away, nearly, but I need to be able to keep those kids quiet for 70 minutes. We live where there aren't many kids, so any noise my two make doesn't get lost in the crowd, it punctuates the medative silence.

This week Thing 1 made a fabulous paper house during the big meeting using card stock paper and tape around a framework of hymn books, and decorated it with markers. She was really proud of it and insisted on carrying the paper construction out to the car herself. On the way out we got held up by traffic in the aisle between the pews and she turned to a tall man standing behind her, and looking way up at his face announced to him “I built a house for my frog. I used the books. It has flowers under the window, and is fabulous.” He was appropriately appreciative, bless his heart.

In Thing 2's sunday school class they must have been talking about baptism. Thing 2 drew a picture of a baptism scene, with her in the water and another big person in the water… and just behind the big person in the water were pirates sailing into view. Those darn baptism-crashing pirates.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Back from Italy

Thing 1 is precious and delicate and charming. She is usually my compliant child, but she has her moments. Last night she didn't help Hubby clean up the mess in the kids' room despite his repeatedly asking for her help. The last straw was when she wouldn't relinquish the container that Thing 2 was trying to put blocks into, and Hubby barked at her that there would be no stories for her that night.

She completely dissolved. She cried. It's hard to diffuse this sort of situation without undermining the disciplining parent, and I was proud of Hubby for exerting some discipline because I think he often doesn’t want to discipline them much because they don’t see him as much as anyone would like. Her tears hit me like no other, and it's hard for me to not do anything in my power to get her to stop. But I kept out of it, and she eventually, grudgingly and angrily, went quietly to bed.
Right after we turned out the light and came downstairs, after she was too angry at either one of us to come out from under her covers to be kissed goodnight, we heard her pleading cry to us to come upstairs. She was sobbing again. I went first and gathered her up in my arms and she curled in a ball and cried into my shoulder how she was so sorry and was worried she wouldn't be able to say goodbye to daddy (we had told her he was catching the red-eye to New York) and she was thinking of how much she loved us. He was standing in the doorway and came in, I passed Thing 1 to him and he stood there holding her and she cried and clung to him, and he cried and held her tight and kissed her head, and I stood there in the moonlight watching them and cried myself.

Hubby and I just got back on Saturday from 10 days in Florence, Italy.
I need to write more about that, but first I need to write a couple of things that my mother reported that the girls said.
Once after brushing her teeth Thing 2 was looking for her cup to take a drink out of and couldn’t find it. Mom suggested she just drink out of Thing 1’s. Thing 1 is a confirmed germaphobe, especially Thing 2’s germs. Thing 2 protested “But then Thing 1 will get my germs.” Grandma assured her it would be okay, Thing 1 wouldn’t know and it’s really okay… Thing 2’s eyes got big and she said, “But I’ll get HER germs!”

They got sick just a couple of days before we got back. Mom and Dad had both been really sick Wednesday and Thursday, Dad was vomiting a lot, but they were better by Friday when they had tickets to an opera or symphony 80 miles away. So they left them with my sister, who received the full brunt of their sickness. Thing 1 seemed to be coming down with it when they left, but Kristin assured them she would be okay. Right after they left Thing 1 did get sick and started vomiting. Kristin was holding Thing 2, who seemed a little peaked and told Kristin she didn’t feel good. Kristin thought she was just milking it, as she has done sometimes in the past, until Thing 2 promptly vomited all over Kristin and the love seat they were sitting on. I found a lot of this out when I called from Italy as we were catching the cab in the morning for our flight back. Kristin said between the two of them they vomited 11 times while in her care. She told me that Thing 2 said “Will anyone know?” I thought she meant that they’ll be there suffering with no one to help them, but Kristin told me she was worried that she’d be in trouble for throwing up. Of course she assured Thing 2 repeatedly that she wasn’t in trouble, people understand when you’re sick. Dad told me later that he’d been rather firm with her about not whining and crying over nothing, and he figured she was a little afraid of him. I suspect she was worried he’d get mad at her.

In her breakfast food blessing yesterday Thing 2 prayed that Jesus would let her know in advance when she was going to be sick so she’d make it to the toilet.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Beaches

Oceanside is lovely. We go during the winter, so we often have the beach mostly to ourselves, and we wear wind breakers and don't swim too much. But it's still just lovely.


Hubby is better at enduring sand castles and stuff than I am, though I have been known to do my share. Usually Thing 1 is the castle builder, and Thing 2 is the wave runner.

My folk's condo is right close to the beach, so they're a cellphone call away to help out with the kids, or bring out some water or a chair, or take in someone who needs a nap.

This year when we took the shells we'd found on the beach back to the patio and were going through them, we found a little crab that needed to be returned home. We've never caught one so easily before.